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GMGE Was Amazing!

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Paapa had all of Founders Great Hall dancing azonto to his “Dear Grace” remix. Blitz the Ambassador and the Embassy Ensemble seized the stage with killer sound and visuals. Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège kept the groovy vibes going til the wee hours. DJ Put On finished off the night with West African tunes. Word is GMGE was one of the best shows the school has seen this HaverGeneration. Click on over for PHOTOS…. and a blog post by GMGE photographer Jonathan Yu, HC ’12.

Blitz the Ambassador seized the stage (photo: Jonathan Yu)

The concert was Friday, March 23, but that wasn’t all. Blitz and Paapa discussed music, entrepreneurship, and changing technologies on a panel moderated by Haverford Anthropology Professor Jesse Shipley (director of ‘Living the HipLife‘) that Thursday evening in Haverford’s Sharpless Auditorium. They told stories of their own beginnings in the music industry (some more recent than others…) and weighed in on Ghanaian and African music in a global market. The panel was preceded by a screening of Blitz’s own ‘Native Sun‘ (watch it, 20 minutes, absolutely gorgeous) and Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi’s ‘HomeGrown: Hip Life in Ghana,’ which follows the number one HipLife music group V.I.P.

Paapa led an azonto craze (photo: Jonathan Yu)

Friday before the concert, DNA & Soulfège talked politics and poetics over pizza with Bryn Mawr’s 360° class, and at one point Derrick broke out in rap. The class had just returned from a spring break trip to Ghana, in fact a bit more recently than scheduled given a flight cancellation. Soulfège gave the group the 411 on the corporate structure of the music industry, and how their Million Download Campaign challenges the system and puts the power in the hands of the listeners and artists.

Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège kept the groove going (photo: Jonathan Yu)

If you weren’t there, sorry, cause you missed out!

Blitz's Embassy Ensemble (photo: Jonathan Yu)

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Prof. Jesse Shipley on HipLife

To follow up on Helen’s post, here’s a great Afropop interview with HC Prof. Jesse Shipley on hiplife music, conducted by Siddhartha Mitter. Jesse will be moderating the GMGE panel with the artists on Thursday evening. (Where & when? Haverford’s Sharpless Auditorium, Q&A following the screening of HomeGrown: HipLife in Ghana at 7 pm.) Jesse is the director the film Living the HipLife (2007), a musical portrait of street life in urban West Africa, following the birth of HipLife music in Accra, Ghana.

Jesse says:

“On the most basic level I would say hiplife is a combination of rap music with direct African American influences in Africa, and all the complex diasporic implications of that, and highlife music, which is popular music which itself has multiple kinds of music, but is popular music in Accra, which has been popular since the early 20th century. And hiplife really brings those two together. Though within those two kinds of musical forms, there’s multiple kinds of influences that go into hiplife music. So to say that hiplife is just those two together isn’t really recognizing the complexity of it.

Reggie Rockstone, "Godfather of HipLife Music," on his album 'Me Ka' ('I Will Say') (2000)

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Attend the GMGE symposium event

– Featuring V.I.P., F.O.I.Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège, & Paapa –

Kickoff Teach-In BMC 3/21 * Screening & Panel HC 3/22 * Concert HC 3/23

– and more