Music in Northern Ghana | Thinking beyond the numbers at concert venues

By  Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria 

In the last couple of years, musical concerts are now the newish in Tamale. For any musician who releases a song and makes a hit, the next thing he thinks of doing is organizing a concert and the target is always at the Tamale sports stadium.

I have no problem with the organizing of concerts because these concerts are part of the avenues that musicians can make money. Most musicians here do not get paid their royalties and also events organizers here just want to use these people to make money and not pay them for their work.

So it is understandable when these musicians organized their own concerts and are in charge of the conceptualization till the final day when the event is held. This way, all the proceeds come to them directly and they will now pay whoever rendered them service during the organizing of the event.

The focus is so much on boasting of the number of people who came to the show than actually putting up a spectacular concert that will let fans crave for more. After each concert, the numbers keep dwindling.

Fancy Gadam and Maccasio cannot authoritatively say that their first show, the number of fans that came also attended their last. Remove those who were called by the Lord, a lot of people have not attended a musical concert because each concert is the same, no creativity.

It is the same concert repackage with a different name but the outcome is the same and it does not encourage fans to attend the concert again. I know a lot of people who for the past two years now, have not attended any musical concert because they feel they are not getting value for their money.

Tamale music scene caught the attention of the whole nation during the Fancy Gadam Album launched, Nawuni Yiko. Tamale came to a standstill during the float and also the concert at the sports stadium.

All over the media outlets in the country, the concentration was on the numbers that poured out to support Fancy Gadam. It was more on the loyal fans that we have in Tamale than the talent of Fancy Gadam. This became the niche for Fancy Gadam at the national level. People were much more interested in his loyal fans and not his talent. Like a good dog, Fancy Gadam accepted his new image.

Nobody talked about that album or even reviewed it because they weren’t interested in discussing his talent and he did not also know how to change that narrative, for people to talk about his talent. You can have followers but that does not mean you are best in whatever you are doing. People just like you.

This niche that the nation created for Fancy Gadam is what every musician here is tag with. Northerners support their own even if he is not good. And that is what Tamale music industry is built on, fans that are loyal and will go all out to support their act. This is a good thing but for how long can this go on and how can we spread our wings outside the region to get those same loyal fans.

I am not in any way suggesting we leave our loyal fans at home and try to woo new ones outside our home. Even the home loyal fans are getting tired of the same repackaging of concerts. How do we recreate our own narrative using these same concerts that gave us the limelight from loyal fans to creative and talented musicians?

Looking beyond bragging about filling a particular venue, why not look at how we can get creative and entertain audience at the concert. Let us push for fans to talk about the spectacular things they saw you do at your album launch. Let people talk about your talent and not the numbers that came to the event.

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