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For the culture: Fuse ODG's TINA festival, Onyema and more

IGNITING A SPARK: TINA Festival, the brainchild of Fuse ODG, above, was a massive success

FIRST ANNUAL TINA FESTIVAL

It’s fair to say that Ghana’s capital, Accra, was the go-to destination this Christmas and the music scene did its best to deliver some amazing shows throughout the festive season.

The highlight was Fuse ODG’s TINA (This Is New Africa) Festival with top-billed artists was like Fuse ODG, Sarkodie, Stefflon Don (pictured below), Joey B and Kwamz and Flava peforming with surprise acts D’Banj, Eugy and SneakBo taking to the stage – but it wasn’t just about the music.

The festival kicked off with the Nation Builders’ Day where volunteers helped paint Akosombo School as well as chatting with and of course inspiring the students there.

Next came the Global Diaspora Conference and Exhibition with discussion and talks from top thought leaders from the continent.

The subject was how to take Africa beyond aid and how to mobilise the sleeping giant of the Diaspora. Speakers included Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, BBC broadcaster Reggie Yates and actress Ama K Abebrese.

The last day held at the Round Pavilion of the Trade Fair Centre in Accra kicked off with the market fair before the evening concert. The TINA Festival aims to become an annual festival celebrating Afrobeats music as a truly world-class music genre.

Beyond the music and the lifestyle, the festival will also promote the continent and Ghana in particular, becoming a catalyst for tourism and investment.

Global Afrobeats superstar Fuse ODG founded the TINA movement and ultimately the Festival.

One of the leading pioneers of the sound, he has been using his music and influence to promote Ghana in a way that has never been done before.

Born, Nana Richard Abiona in London and raised in Ghana, Fuse returned to London for his secondary education, where he attended the Archbishop Lanfranc Academy, Croydon.

He grew up in Mitcham, south London. He’s best known for his 2013 single Antenna which peaked at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart. He’s also credited with teaching the world how to azonto, sparking off a huge dance craze.

But Fuse is famous not only for his music and helping the rise of Afrobeats worldwide but also for his tireless commitment to change the wrong perception about Africa.

On changing the negative narratives about black people he says: “We need to learn to unlearn some of the negative perceptions about Africa and being black. People still have funny perceptions about the black race and there is the need to fix this wrong thinking.”

Fuse ODG’s efforts to spread this message have enabled him to connect with a whole host of artists worldwide. His recently released single Bra Fie (Come Home) features Damian Marley, and has a strong message and an even stronger video to go along with it. He earned his first Grammy Award last year thanks to his collaboration with Ed Sheeran.

ECABLE: YOUR ONE-STOP AFROBEATS SHOP

New streaming service Ecable is being hailed the future of broadcasting from the African continent, unifying Africans and friends of Africa around the world while sharing their stories in the purest form to the rest of the world.

Ecable is a one-stop media hub for all things coming of the African continent, including entertainment, current affairs, music, fashion and much, much more. Ecable hosts some of the most popular TV and multimedia platforms broadcasting out of Africa and Europe, from east to west, north to south, English-speaking to French-speaking. With a variety of news and movie channels to choose from, Ecable also boasts a 24-hour Afrobeats TV channel playing the best in Afrobeats and Afropop videos. It’s free and available on Android and Apple stores now, so download and join hundreds of thousands of people enjoying African entertainment in high definition.

FOR THE LOVE OF AFROBEATS

For The Love of Afrobeats is the brand new must-hear podcast, breaking down Afropop culture headlines and along with juicy celebrity interviews by broadcasters and Afropop culture commentators Shopsydoo and Mr Schmooze. Released every week, it’s free and well worth a listen. Download or stream from iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud or iDey now.

GET LISTENING TO ONYEMA

We’ve all got our ear to the ground for the freshest Afrobeats sounds for 2019, from new and established artists alike.

Now, Nigerian artist Abdulala returns with something brand new and it’s already my favourite track of the year. The singer is currently embarking on a solo career under the label imprint of MSMG/Bee-Invisible Entertainment.

Abdulala started his career at a very young age as one half of the ground-breaking but now defunct Nigerian Pop duo BlackTribe. Abdulala’s unique vocal ability is what makes him a rarity amongst his contemporaries, his style of music is what he describes as ‘feel good music’ – and that’s exactly what it is.

On his latest single, Onyema, he teams up with long time friend and fellow artist Tuface Idibia (who recently released the hit song Amaka under the name 2Baba) to bring you that quintessential Afropop sound with hints of Caribbean dancehall.

Abdulala’s latest single successfully lives up to his style of feel good music – perfect for getting rid of those January blues.

The song and video for Onyema are both available now.

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