Story By: Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria || Sanatu Zambang
Sanatu Zambang Café Experience sixth episode brought in Etonam Gh of Zimkom fame and Fawal of Chop de mic to talk about their music, experiences and the challenges they are facing as musicians in the northern music industry.
Fawal a Computer Science diploma holder came into the music scene with his first album, Back to Sender when he was still in Primary six. He started performing in villages during his junior high school days.
Right after junior high, he decided to put music on a hold and continue with his education. This hiatus he took slow down his growth in the industry and nearly killed his career.
To reinvent his music career, Fawal decided to try Sagani TV Chop de Mic Music reality talent show. According to Fawal, he did a lot of consultation before going for Chop de Mic. Some were of the opinion that his level is beyond the reality show while others encourage him to go for it. But what finally convinced him to go for the talent show was his zeal to pounce back and get the needed exposure to promote his music.
During his long hiatus, Fawal use that time to write songs and did some recordings without releasing any music onto the market. After getting his diploma certificate he decided to continue with his music story but unfortunately, he did not have a management again and without management, he did not have money to promotion his work. Chop de Mic to Fawal was an avenue to get his songs out there and tell the public that, he is back onto the music scene again.
One of the problems of the northern music industry is the religion. According to Fawal, the northern region which is predominantly a Muslim community limits the creativity of the musicians. He attributes that to lifestyle. People will always criticize them for the way they dress and say they are not following the dictate of the Islamic religion.
Another challenge he mentions which Etonam Gh shares with him, is promotion. These two musicians narrate how difficult it is to get airtime in any of the media outlets to talk about their work. They both have different experiences. Fawal deals with the monetary issues of having to pay the gatekeepers to promote his work.
Etonam on the other hand, has to deal with two things, money and the constant sexual harassment from the male predominantly control industry. Etonam shares her experience how sometimes when she approaches these industry players to help her promote her work will turn make sexual advancement towards her.
Another thing Etonam says is that, the industry players choose to support who to support without necessary looking at the person talent. This selective nature of the industry players does not help in discovering new artistes in the region or given the underground artiste the opportunity to shine.
Etonam who is a Voltarian grew up in Tamale and was introduce into the music industry by Mackville during a fanfare after graduating from Senior High School. This fanfare was organized by Camfed for their beneficiaries who were graduating that year.
During this fanfare, she entered the dancing competition but was heard singing at backstage by Mackville. Mackville saw her talent and encourage her to pursue music. He also guided her and featured her in his songs.
Explaining why she does music, Etonam says, she use music to inspire others and also spread love. Currently she is pursuing her education at University for Development Studies in Basic Education.
For her plan in 2021, Etonam plans to do three features and an EP. For the three features, she has I Go Die for you Love with Nachimba Bone and Bad Girl with Nachimba Ratty. She belongs to the same band with these two musicians called the Savannah Echoes. After the three features, the plan to release an EP.