So much has been said, typed and printed about the Year of Return, Ghana 2019 initiative. The exponential volume of content corresponds with the level of popularity that the initiative has garnered within the year. As highlighted in this in-depth Circumspecte feature, the Year of Return, Ghana 2019 serves a dual purpose: to commemorate the resilience of people of African descent and to encourage travel to Ghana by African Americans and the African Diaspora. There’s so much that could be talked about regarding the implications of all the above, and those conversations are rightly being had. We, at yoyo tinz, though, have been impelled to wonder: what’s music got to do with all of this? Our response is: a whole lot. To back this up, we’ve put together a list of nine Ghana songs that taps into the spirit of The Year of Return.
Whether in-flight to Ghana or while eating your way through Accra, our Year of Return, Ghana 2019 playlist features nine songs that welcome all of Africa’s children home. Carefully curated by yoyo tinz, it acknowledges the past and continuous struggles of Black people all over the world, and celebrates our resilience and seemingly little victories, all while nudging you to explore Ghana as it is today. Like what you hear? Join us on December 21 at the We The Culture CirqMixer by Circumspecte and The Afropole for even more Ghana songs and beats.
Playlisted with immense pride and love, yoyo tinz.
The Year of Return, Ghana 2019 playlist by yoyo tinz
This, from Blitz The Ambassador’s 2016 album, Diasporadical, is a sobering lament. The song invokes several of the ways that Black lives have been debased and destroyed – from the days of enslavement and lynchings to now; from Port au Prince to Johannesburg. Beyond lamentation, the song subtly charges Black folk all over the world to seek collective freedom. It is such an apt soundtrack to reflect of the prime essence of the Year of Return initiative.
This joint samples a song titled ‘Welcome Home,’ which is one of the most popular songs by the legendary Ghanaian highlife band, Osibisa. It’s title is very instructive, succinctly expressing the song’s message: you, child of Africa’s diaspora, are welcome home.
There is an idea of not fully belonging anywhere. This idea translates into real, lived experiences for certain Black folk – due to the color of their skin, their accent or their general ways of being etc. The thrust of this song speaks to that idea. For a contextual example: Afro-diasporic people, much as they’re welcome ‘home’ in this Year of Return, may find themselves in situations where they’re regarded as ‘others’ or ‘outsiders’. This song serves as an acknowledgment of that peculiar struggle, and also of the complicated historical events that have engendered such.
The artist’s yearning to be taken back to a home he was stolen from is what one imagines a significant number of Africa’s Diaspora will relate to. In which case ‘Madina’ only need be swapped with ‘Africa’: Stolen from Africa; take me back, take me back; I wanna go back.
Airmail Interlude by Kojo Cue & Trebla takes the form of a correspondence between a Ghana-based young man and his counterpart living abroad. Each tells the other of the difficulties faced living in their respective societies. Here is a very potent audio presentation of the fact that: Nowhere Cool. It is a very relevant matter to ponder on, in this Year of Return.
You’re one of the millions and millions of Africans and people of African descent living outside of the continent. It’s the Year of Return in Ghana; and so you’ve just touched down Kotoka International Airport. You are now sitting in a vehicle on your way to your accommodation. Windows rolled down, you take in all the scenes and feels of home. You deserve a perfect song to soundtrack your very state and feeling. Blitz The Ambassador’s ‘Hello Africa’ is that song.
Remember what we said about exploring today’s Ghana?? This is our chosen song to carry out that task. It is also a very aptly titled song – from Lady Jay’s vocals all through to the instrumentation, this song just evokes a vibrant and cheerful feeling. A must play for all your chilling endeavors across the country – on the way to the beach in Gomoa Fetteh, at the house party in Ho, or heading back from that secret location in Tamale.
Not everyday suffer, suffer; sometimes enjoyment! And this tune here is a good one to go with that. It features two Ghanaians, a Nigerian and a Haitian. Don’t we love a Pan-African collaboration that results in a celebratory song!
This song naturally has an anthemic feel to it; it is an anthem of survival, if you will. Of black people’s historic and present-day survival of a world that has long been brutally hostile to our collective existence. It recalls a quote from the dearly-departed intellectual and lover of Black people, Walter Rodney: “Beauty is in the very existence of black people. Now, we have gone through a historical experience through which by all accounts we should have been wiped out.” ‘Made It’ is a befitting joint to celebrate this beautiful existence. This Year of Return, Ghana 2019 and beyond, play it at your house parties and everywhere else. It’s guaranteed to have the ancestors beam from the other side. “From the auction block to block parties.” Imagine that!
Got other songs you think should be on the list? Let us know and we’ll update the Year of Return, Ghana playlist on Soundcloud.
Playlist curated by yoyo tinz. Write up by team member moshood, an Accra-based writer across genres.
yoyo tinz is an award-winning Ghanaian start-up working to promote, document and archive hip hop culture in Ghana and Africa. They produce Ghana’s first full-fledged hip hop festival, the yoyo tinz festival.
Circumspecte offers insights and perspectives on business, development, lifestyle, culture, careers and human interest issues related to Africa and Africans.