The weak lyrics of most songs in Ghana tells me that we lack not just songwriters but people who really can produce quality texts for a song.
Song writing is paramount in the music-making process. It takes two forms: first, writing of the text and secondly, putting the text to 'music'; this is the same as singing the lyrics to melody. While some can do both, others can do either.
The Referentialist and Expressionist theories of music dwell much on the importance of the message carried by a particular song, which tells us that one way or the other, the lyrics of a song can add colour to it.
The tact employed in writing texts for songs is a very difficult one. You need to have nurtured that art through whichever means to be able to write lyrics that are refreshing and practical to life. The words of the song should evince emotions that would make the listeners feel they are ''living''.
Unfortunately, in Ghana, we do not have enough songwriters. Most of those who call themselves songwriters or composers are those with wishy washy ideas.
Our problem in Ghana is, we don't have the systems and structures so anybody thinks they can write their own lyrics and sing whatever melodies that come into their heads. This is because they think if someone writes for them to sing, that would mean they are not good musicians. But in the developed countries that is not the case. They have people whose specialty lie solely in writing of songs, and they have trained for that. The music-right owner gives credit to them for their contribution.
Take Ohemaa Mercy's latest ''Ntwetwede'' as a case in point. The entire song was prepared by Kwabena Kwabena, who wrote the text as well as the melodies. Listening to the song with musical ears one could feel Kwabena Kwabena singing through Ohemaa Mercy. That does not bring the image of Ohemaa down. It even breaks monotony because music fans would have a different feel of the musician. To wit, even if you are a good song writer, sometimes it is right that you let some people write for you to sing.
Asem wrote ''Little Things'' for Afropop diva Efya and won ''Songwriter of the Year'' with it in last year's Ghana Music Awards.
Meanwhile, it seems some still do not understand the music business. We listen to the gospel songs we have and it is always the same jaded lyrics. Those who sing about love are none the different.
It is about time the Musicians Union of Ghana took some of these things more seriously. One way of solving this problem is to employ the services of the poets we have.
Poetry and music are twins. In fact, research shows that in times past poems were sang to a musical instrument called lyre that is why the words of a song are called ''lyrics''. Most good songwriters are poets in disguise. They may not be referred to as poets just because they do not recite their poetic lyrics but the works they produce is poetry. Also, we should go to music departments in our Universities and get some of the good musical works they have produced. That is one place we can get good songwriters.
This is another profession on its own. If you are a musician and you do not have the skill for writing songs but can sing well, get song writers to do that for you, for even most world acclaimed musicians like Celine Dion take lyrics from great songwriters.
It is my fervent hope that few years from now we would see the song writing business flourish so as to make Ghanaian music more valuable. However, that will not happen until the systems and structures on song writing are firmly ensconced in our music policies.
|< Prev||Next >|