The chairman of the National Media Commission, Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere has said musicians offer far better branding of the nation than official emissaries posted to represent the nation in foreign lands.
The former ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire made the assertion as part of his address at the 2011 edition of the MTN Ghana Music Awards Forum held at the Alisa Hotel Tuesday.
Kabral said during his time as ambassador, he saw the influence and impact Ghanaian musicians had on the international community.
“As an Ambassador, I hosted VIP in Sierra Leone; I brought Amakye Dede to perform, Daasebre Gyamenah to perform during major events and when I was in Cote d’Ivoire, I hosted Koo Nimo, I hosted Kojo Antwi, I hosted Nat Brew and a couple of young musicians,” he said.
He noted; “What I saw was that if you wanted to win the hearts and minds of outsiders, you can achieve it musically. So when Kojo Antwi and the rest came to jam, they were better branding from Ghana than what we as diplomats where doing.”
He advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to put in place a programme that will occasionally send a crop of Ghanaian musicians to go and perform abroad for the Ghanaian community and outsiders in general.
Touching on the current state of the Ghanaian music industry and musicians in general, Kabral called for a united musician’s body, a tool he said will aid and promote their wellbeing.
“Musicians themselves must promote themselves through unity… Over the years you have had these ripples that have affected your advancement because a house divided can never stand…”, he counseled, urging them to also “show an independent character," saying "you don’t allow yourselves to be manipulated by any interest group.”
The 2011 MTN Ghana Music Awards Forum was under the theme; “Help grow our Music – The Role of the State, Media, Financial Institutions, Artistes, Producers and Marketers,” and was heavily attended by several industry professionals, musicians, government representatives and the media.
It was chaired by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms. Hanna Tetteh.
Other notable personalities who attended the forum included; Deputy Minister for Tourism, James Agyenim Boateng; Theresa Ayoade, CEO of Charter House (Organisers of the Ghana Music Awards); Mrs. Diana Hopeson, Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) President; George Aleinu of the National Communications Authority; and musicians Mary Ghansah, No Tribe, Amandzeba, Samini, Kwabena Kwabena and Richie.
Hanna Tetteh assured that the government is doing its best to help the creative industry and in the light of that, modalities for that have started in earnest.
She however called for a brainstorming and consensus building on the possibility of musicians taking advantage of the digital platform - where musicians get to sell and reap benefits from their works online (internet).
James Agyenim Boateng on his part disclosed that the government was poised to work closely with all its social partners and stakeholders to promote domestic tourism industry, and “hence expose our unique and authentic Ghanaian music to our numerous tourists and thereby enrich their experiences and lasting memories about our dear country.”
He called on radio stations to devote a lot more of their airtime to promoting Ghanaian music. He was grateful to those already promoting Ghanaian music.
Several speakers at the forum acknowledged various difficulties affecting the Ghanaian music industry and called for a wider and more effective consensus building to help improve the lot of musicians and the industry.
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