Classic Africa Virtual Orchestra
...for world festival of black arts, Senegal
By: Godwin Yirenkyi
The Classic Africa Virtual Orchestra (CAVO), the vibrant Ghanaian musical experiment that fuses African instruments and musical forms with the western symphony orchestra? music into new interesting blend, is set to participate in the forthcoming Third World Festival of Black Arts in Senegal from l0th to 31st December 2010.
Not that the idea is new, but what CAVO has succeeded in achieving is peculiar style, not matched by previous forms by others.
CAVOR’s is four-tier system. It comprises the African instruments ensemble, African Dance, a choir and the virtual symphony orchestra on sound track. All are conducted by Mr. Azonko Simpi, the synchronizer.
He plays the rat-trap, cowbell, leg- maracas, the guitar and sings with all at the same time that made the eminent ethnomusicologist Prof. K. Nketia to describe his style as 'one playing complex contra-point rhythm’.
Pre and post-Senegal events include a public lecture titled “Music is one of the golden keys to Ghana and Africa’s Socio-economic development”, to be presented by Azonko. The others are music industry exhibition and classic Africa concerts.
The Music Industry Exhibition will showcase photos of the great composers in the various categories from the hi-life to the hip-life, reggae, folks and others plus a who-is who among eminent Sound engineers, music distributors, recording studios and the rest.
The Classic Africa Concerts are to raise funds for their participation in the festival in Senegal.
Some unique and innovative aspects of Classic Africa is the creative use of the African instruments like the fontomfrom, brekete, gakoke and the maracas with their respective scores.
The sound of Classic Africa is best compared to that of Nana Danso Abiam’s Pan African Orchestra and La Scala Orchestra of Milan in Italy on the same stage when you listen to Hooked on Beethoven, said Azonko Simpi the exponent.
The repertoire includes the works of Ludwing von Beethoven, Ephraim Amu, Kojo Tibu, Gilead Acquah and Azonko Simpi himself.
Hooked on Beethoven has Fur Elise, 5th Symphony and the 9th Symphony in a medley of all with choreography and choir. Amu’s Nkradi, Kojo Tibu’s Ghana Nyigba, Gilead Acquah’s Osabarima and Azonko’s Miawoe Dudzi which is a novel masterpiece.
This really brings out the potential of the exponent as a composer and a musician in his own capacity of our time although not yet well sung as one.
The event will be held at the Great Hall, KNUST, Kumasi from Thursday November 25 to 27 and the Coconut Grove Regency, Accra, from December 2 to 4.
The Senegal show will be topped with a grand show on January 3, 2011 at the Accra International Conference Center.
The Ghana Tourist Board, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, National Commission on Culture, The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and other agencies are supporting whilst the search is still on for more sponsors and collaborators.
One objective of the Classic Africa Orchestral Delights Project is to add value to our musical instrument by repackaging and scoring to create new pedagogy for music study and the industry.
The Ghanaian Times Page: 11 Saturday November 13, 2010