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Sizzla in Ghana!

Friday March 5, 2010 will remain a night to remember for the over 5,000 in attendance to see SIZZLA KOLANJI reignite Ghana.  In the spirit of true independence, on the eve of Ghana’s 53rd independence, Sizzla sparked anew, the fire lying dormant in too many of us, burdened by the weight of  Babylon’s economic and social policies towards the black, brown and yellow people of the world.  That weight was lifted, as we flew on the wings of an angel.

Sizzla’s has been the most wanted entertainer amongst Reggae fans in Ghana for more than 5 years.  In that time, several promoters have tried, but for one reason or another, failed to pull it together.  This adds to the feat accomplished by Lalibela Music Ltd.  who brought Sizzla without the support of a sponsor.  However, it must be said that their relative success (with a better promotional campaign they could have easily tripled the attendance) was largely due to the right choice in artists.

Once Sizzla touched down he was flanked by fans, ecstatic to catch a glimpse of the man.  Up close I could see that Sizzla is aging, his face more drawn in and the lines that mark it, more defined. This once young fire-brand has now become the distinguished ambassador of the King.  And so was he treated, given an escort  of 20+ motorcycles, surrounding a motorcade of 7 or 8 cars, with Sizzla secured in a  Hummer, wizzing through Ghana’s traffic, the scene said Royal Ghetto Rise.  People were in utter amazement.  Motorcades in Ghana are usually complete with the sirens from the boys in blue and the steady flow of government Cruisers, but Sizzla’s motorcade was far more dynamic, with the red, gold and green flags waving flagrantly behind the racer bikes and when they were forced to come to a brief pause along the way, most of the wheels on the cars kept spinning:)

As we know the devil doesn't rest, especially on such occasions. One of the pope's agents, a local radio d.j. who wears locks and bases his format on simply being the voice of controversy, tried desperately to thwart listeners from attending the show, but rather to go to an alternative, free show, all of a sudden sponsored by the biggest telecommunications network.  Eager to draw the light away from the star, failing to realize, the sun always shine though, they only served to further identify their allegiances.

Prior to Sizzla’s arrival onto the stage, he sat backstage, surrounded by fans, humbly and energetically waiting his turn while the local artistes took turns warming up the crowd.  He fielded questions with no sense of botheration, while bobbing his head to the bass-lines of the performing artists.  He showed much humility for an an artist of his calibre and was grateful throughout his show, thanking his audience on several occasions for their support, reciprocating it with a most heartfelt performance.

Most notably, from the beginning of Sizzla’s performance, was the maturity and discipline in his demeanor.  He whose stage was once flanked with an army of flag bearers, waving and screaming the choruses, has become much more the Sergeant General on his stage.  Not only had he found more appropriate duties for the soldiers who weren’t a part of his band, but a part of the 20 strong entourage that came in from Jamaica, but he also, without the help of security, cleared the stage of all hanger-ons, firmly and raspectively.  Once he set the stage in order, he commenced to elevate  his audience, already mesmerized by his presence, seemingly hundreds times larger than his small frame. 

Now seasoned in his career Sizzla confidently guides his viewers on a journey through his repertoire.  For those of us put-off by the fact that the show was held on a Sabbath eve, we received recompense since the audience, which largely became his choir, sang songs of praises the whole night through.  And in-between  segments Sizzla seized every moment to remind the people of the  themes of Ras Tafari, namely: Love, Unity, Repatriation, Education, Justice, Reciprocity, Pride, Raspect.  This while diplomatically yet unapologetically also reminding the people to stay away from the corrupted ways of Mystery Babylon and her homosexuality, greed, deceit, crime and violence.  Love was the order of the night and in love he guided the misguided to the light, reminded the weary of the Way and uplifted the masses to new heights.

It must be said that Sizzla was also on a high, having been received in Ghana like the King's son, he caught, for himself, a glimpse of what could be if he too repatriated.  This was more than just a tour for the psalmist whose words encouraged many of us to make the chant of repatriation a reality, but a spiritual journey of his own.  His presence couldn’t be more felt if he was a 100 ft tall.  His connection with the Fire House Crew (his band) was so tight that they seemed to take the score telepathically.   Sizzla also guided the engineer to adjust sound so that an ordinary sound system sounded like one of the original Yard sound systems, the base penetrating to the far back walls of Accra sports stadium and his voice amplified to a crystal clear clarity.  In this setting, surrounded by so much love Sizzla treated his fans to a show reminiscent of the most classic dancehall performances from back in the days.  Though in a massive stadium, Sizzla drew in the crowd in and gave it to them like he was live in Jamaica, Miami or New York,  where Reggae artist must bring their absolute best to the stage.  His performance was so electrifying and so authentic, and he so well received in his raw essential form that the experience was the manifestation of an ideal,  Africans at home and abroad in one voice.  And who better to unite Africa than a ghetto youth from off a Bobo Hill in Jamaica. 

Sizzla could almost do no wrong, but the tie?  The rebel, the soldier, the King's sun in Babylon's suit and tie!?# Apparently a new style for the unshaven, turban wearing Bobo Shanti.  The contradiction was an eyesore that I had to block out but not enough to dampen the vibes.

When the concert ended and the crowd reluctantly flocked out unto the streets, there was that same look of awe on the faces of all those who exited the stadium.  Sizzla and Lalibela Music Ltd. have reignited the fire for Reggae in Ghana.  Now that there are promoters who don’t need sponsorship and organizers to insure that they earn a profit, the future for Reggae in Ghana is looking very bright.  Nuff Raspect!   Thanks should also be given to Ghana’s police for not interfering, rather recognizing the futility of their presence and thus allowing the good vibes to flow.