He was brought up by his grandfather who was a church musician. By age 8 he was walking in his footprint making joyful noises unto the Lord at the local Presbyterian Church in his home town of Asafo, Eastern Region.
Meet Yaw Roger, an up and coming promising highlife artist based in Italy. Looking for greener pastures, the 40 year old music lover left the shores of Ghana for Europe in 1988. Watch Wadada Me by Yaw Roger
He cut his first album “Yeka na wo antie” in 1997 and followed with “Mewo odo” in 1999. Late last year he wrote and produced his latest album titled “Honey”.
Even though he is relatively popular in Europe and has been featured several times on the European-based television OBE, his music is yet to catch up to the vast Ghanaian highlife lovers in the U.S. Yaw is not entirely new to the U.S. In 2001 he opened up a music extravaganza at the well-famed Apollo Theatre for Ofori Amponsah, Daddy Lumba and Akyeame. He says he idolizes contemporary Ghanaian stars as Sloppy Mike Gyamfi and Nana Aboagye DaCosta, but his lyrics are influenced by “Master” Kwabena Akwaboah, Alex Konadu and Paa Bobo.
His latest CD album “Honey” is a sui generis for a relatively new and struggling artist on the block. Geared towards middle age and the youth, this music “chameleon” exudes romance and hard core love messages in his songs. The songs could be enjoyed in absolute solitude or as dancing pleasures.
The album opens with the title track “(sweet) Honey” in which a lover professes an unflinching and committed love to an otherwise undecided and an unappreciative lover. Track two “Odo Nie” welcomes a lover back with an embrace, apparently after a hiatus or long journey. But where the lover went or the circumstance(s) surrounding why he/she left is not clearly defined.
Backup vocals are well featured on this low voice track. “Wa daa daa me” opens with excellent backup vocals and Yaw comes on strongly. Here a disappointed lover laments over a deceiving and an ungrateful partner, cursing the partner in the process. It is one of the best tracks of the album with horns prominently featured and blending in nicely. In this contemporary world of unpredicted and confused love affairs, many would relate to this track.
Soothing vocals once again opens track five “Lazy Guy.” It extols the lazy guy – in Ghana - to get off his butt and engage in some meaningful venture instead of waiting and hoping for a visa to travel outside – a dream that may not materialize. This is the only track without love experience. For the musically profane “Yeno saa,”- a track that describes sexual antics-would be a favorite. Yaw Roger describes his favorite track as “fa odo pa mame.”
Shades of raps are introduced on some tracks even though he concedes rap is not his style. There are thirteen tracks on this CD, including four remixes and instrumentals. There is no doubt about the talent of this up and coming musician. The album title should have been an eye catching and attentive-drawing, instead of “Honey” for a novice artist attempting to market his product. On the whole the album is an excellent repertoire. With right timing and a little bit of luck Yaw Roger could be the next rising star in Ghana music.
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