Introducing Dandano

[Jill Scott X Not Like Crazy]

Hello Guys, 

I used to love this blog so much. It was one of my most comfortable spaces on the Internet and probably deep down in me it still is. The Lost Scrolls/Tuff Assassin gave me a voice to express myself through the magic of poetry and through those little rhymes and charming metaphors, I fell in love with the beauty of words. I taught myself to adore them and use them as outlet to deal with the demons in my head and heart. I met a lot of wonderful friends here too. 

Sadly I have fallen out of love with it. I still write poetry but I don’t share it so much on here. I do plan on changing that very soon. Maybe it is time for another “A poem a day” challenge.

These days I focus my energy on this new platform I am building called Dandano. It is a platform dedicated to the critical analysis of African film and music. I am just building but I think you guys have earned the right to know about it. It is part of the reason why my poetry is sporadic but I intend to find focus and continue to share my words with you. For now Dandano is all I have to offer. 

For those who have stuck with me through this silence, thank you. I hope to return to sharing my creative writing. 


-Hakeem Adam 

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Fiend

 

He had died. The message came. A very short call. No attempt by the voice on the other side of the line to layer his words with icing. Found with foam dried at the corner of his twisted mouth with his tongue sticking out. The entire colour drained from it like neglected flowers in a vase. His eyes shot an infinite blankness, dark as the stage on which the stars stood with an old syringe whose needle was tired and weary as a nomad’s feet keeping his stiff body company on the ground.

Tears. She had none. All dried up along with the words in her mouth. A retreating army eclipsed by the torrents of emotion invading her being. Reason, logic or understanding all as good as the sentences of a grey parrot. They were just celebrating last night with the excitement of a shook soda. He had gone 100 days sober.

When it was just a boy and a blog

It might have been annoying to some of you at that time but I didn’t really care. I just wanted to write, to the extent that I wasn’t so critical about what I wrote. As long as I got it out of my mind and in a coffin of words I could burry somewhere I was fine. Honestly, the thing I was most exited about was other people actually reading my shit.

Any time I saw the WordPress notification on my phone, either a like or a comment, I got high as the cow jumping over the money. It meant to me, in the most minute way, that I had communicate – exactly what I had set out to do.

Then with the falling of leaves, it all started to dry up and wither. The feelings became fish out of water. I got caught up in the likes and the view. I was more interested in being seen than being heard. I also branched out, which is a perfectly normal symptom of any artistic growth. I went swimming in oceans and lakes and I met all sort of fishes and creatures, saw all sorts of shores and drank all sorts of waters.

Now I don’t even know where my body has washed ashore. Writing is not what it used to be for me. And this is driving me insane, not because I don’t know but because I need it to be cathartic and it just doesn’t seem to be. It’s became obligatory to write which should be good but its also sucked out the serendipity in it.

This is not any promise or radical change. I haven’t written a post in one take for years. So in honor of those days when it was just me and my hunger and passion to write,  satisfying just that – I want to communicate.

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For the love of Nneka

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For the love of Nneka

I recently became a content contributor on Dynamic Africa and one of my first assignments was to review Nneka’s new album,  My Fairy Tales. I am an active follower of Nneka’s music and this happened to be her second full length project I got to listen too.
It is completely different from Soul is Heavy,  not in a lyrical or thematic perspective but from a musical standpoint. She borrows heavy from reggae music and delivers very charged steady songs. I wish I get to see Nneka perform on day but for now,  you can read my review here and let me know what you think. 

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley

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*photo credit: Craig Carpenter / Okay Africa

Breaking my Highlife virginity: the purpose of experience

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I began this posting wanting to share my experience with highlife music with the world. However, I’ve decided to broaden the conversation to be about all forms of art in general. 
I grew up in Ghana, in an era of ghanaian music where the highlife rhythms of the 80s and 90s were being redefined by this new youthful and energetic blend of hip hop, funk, Soul and the African spirit called hip-life. I matured to this soundtrack ( together with hip hop and r&b which were at their peaks and steady colonizing ears all over the world). Being reclusive,  consuming art was one satisfying way to live. It was the bond forged between music and I through childhood that has and is turning me into the person I am turning out to be. I listen to a weird mix, which could see me playing old school gangster rap one minute and Bocelli the next. However, I had not experienced Highlife music as it should – till a few weeks ago.
I got lucky and attended a concert at Alliance Francaise,  Accra which featured three highlife legends whose music epitomize the genre.  Ebo Taylor,  Pat Thomas and Nana Ampadu. I was not in a bubble as a child, I did hear some of their songs like Obra by Nana Ampadu, Sika y3 Mogya by Path Thomas;  yet they were just sounds to me.
Then I find myself in the cold African night, under the moonlight,  possessed by an explosion of undying spirits led by lively bass guitar medleys…highlife music.  Art is probably as subjective as love. There is no right or wrong; rather there is an experience. A personal connection of emotion between the artist and the audience.  I can’t paint that picture for you, cos you have nothing that I know of with which you can imagine it. You have to experience and it may or may not be this way for you. But it is this personal significance that makes music/art live forever.  What can be felt by an eighty and twenty year old simultaneously.
Today we want everything to be instantaneous.  Nobody wants to live with something,  we just want to feel it then and there. We don’t appreciate the patience and skill that crafted the art
we want to understand at once. If the highlife concert taught me anything,  it was that music (good music) is not instant but is like a force locked in cage, waiting for YOU to unlock and take over you.
These are just my thoughts upon being obliterated by bomb triggered before my age.

Narcissistic me!

“Well boy remember what I told you.  When the lights go out and the silence comes. And the night is cold and the tears dry fast. Remember the feeling for when you can’t feel it. Base that energy and build on it so you never want to feel it again.  Know your waters so you may never drown.  Explore your space so you may never suffocate.  It is a world full of passersby. Make them stop. And notice you. Not for anything in the whole world and beyond.  But for you.
Cos this chest will rest heavy on your soul, till you decide to get up off your back. Tell me, cos I know you don’t love his coffin.  And it’s of your own mental construction.  Tear it down before the tears roll down.”

A Bright Kid, An Unethical Shrink and a lot of quotation marks.

“At what point do you decide to burn all bridges and look forward? ”
“When what’s in front of you is way better than what’s behind you. Which is most often than not.”
“What if what’s behind you is paradise?  Like the best you can ever imagine.  And what if you move forward and all you see is a mirage?  How do you avoid the regret?”
“Now if you’re considering avoiding regret then my best bet is that you might have never had that beautiful thing now behind you. Good things don’t come to those who wait, but those who try.”
“Like most things in life I’m guessing there’s no easy way out? I either stop being a fucking coward and look forward with the promise of better lighting up my eyes.  Or look back and stay in the comfort that has become uncomfortable, and where the anxiety of not knowing if I could have better on my face.”
“I’ve always told you kid, trust yourself no matter what.”
“I think I’m ready to look forward.  When I began our sessions,  I resolved to stop being a coward and try new things. So far it has been fucking awesome. ”
“Yea we have ourselves to thank for that. No one else.”


In my mind palace, I have a section which shares the same title as this post. The above is today’s entry. 

Sunset Walks

We are led to believe that education is like a slots machine. Just flip the lever and you might win. It is after you’ve taken you seat in the casino that you realise it’s not so. With education, especially the higher levels, you have to know how the system works to stand a chance of winning. You’re told to go to school for an education you can’t afford. The if you’re lucky or smart, you get a job and keep paying those who told you to go to school. Because it is the “most necessary” thing in life. If you’re not lucky, you can’t go to school or you can’t get a job, you keep on paying for an education you never really chose for yourself. Then you wanna do what you’re born to do. You wanna die. Before you’re even aware your life is just another statistic. A thirty five point whatever ever chance of surviving.

I think Ghanaians just love mediocrity so much. Subconsciously, it has become part of the hard wiring of our society. We get treated like shit, and because of our inferiority complex we accept the peanut compensation which we actually don’t deserve but we are entitled to. Know your worth, please. We pay our taxes, stay peaceful and all that our bullshit that looks good. Rather than been rewarded, we don’t even get what we deserve. Instead we are deprived of our basic amenities. Water that Allah has given free is now a luxury. How can I do my part and don’t give me what I deserve? Rather they wait, for God knows what, a half solve the problem. But because I am so used to being treated like shit, I appreciate this half rather than agitation for full. Till the cycle repeats itself. We need more of the Oliver Twist complex. Demand what is yours. Two things. Instead of running away or constantly complaining, think of a way. So that when you don’t get what’s yours, you find a way to make yours.

I think we’re getting somewhere as a people, no matter how slow. The problem is that not to many actually care about the “People “. The just really care about “themselves”. But that’s a topic for later.

Blessed is the woman, interested in both sides of the conversation.

How The Beautyful Ones Taught Me Perspective.

A masterpiece on a master, peace.
A masterpiece on a master, peace.

The silent observes should notice an enigmatic woman with hypnotic curves syncing with the groove of the soul, jazz samples. Notice how her full head of locked hair, with a life of its own, bobs to the rhythm of each kick. Her ravishing curves, masterfully gliding into the ambiance her accompaniment creates. Her eyes closed as her mind mellows into the cool, and the observer vicariously feel it too. Her arms, gently but purposefully, cutting through the space around her. How her arms wave, along with the waves, showing the observer the metaphysical synergy of rhythm and life. And just as the sound begins to ebbs into silence, she too begins to retreat, her souls admits defeat. The observe should see her with bright eyes and a big radiant simile take a seat, whilst her soul sulks and hopes the silence is repealed.

This a short excerpt form a much more elaborate project being created by yours truly. I have just been overwhelmingly inspired by Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. Specifically his dynamic approach to narrative perspective. The abstract. Truly a work of art.

Neo-Colonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism.

Capture

THE neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage.
In the past it was possible to convert a country upon which a neo-colonial regime had been imposed —
Egypt in the nineteenth century is an example — into a colonial territory. Today this process is no
longer feasible. Old-fashioned colonialism is by no means entirely abolished. It still constitutes an
African problem, but it is everywhere on the retreat. Once a territory has become nominally independent
it is no longer possible, as it was in the last century, to reverse the process. Existing colonies may linger
on, but no new colonies will be created. In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism
we have today neo-colonialism.
The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has
all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its
political policy is directed from outside.

Kwame Nkrumah (1965)

These are the opening paragraphs from Kwame Nkrumah’s Book on Neo-Colonialism which he aptly describes as the last stage of imperialism. This book is a very insightful read. Nkrumah highlights a lot of phenomena, that at that time might have seemed to be prophecies but in light of the current sociopolitical climate in sub-Saharan Africa, the truth.

I picked up this book out of sheer curiosity. I wanted to know why Nkrumah coined the phrase Neocolonialism and what necessitated it. What exactly neocolonialism was and how detrimental it is or was or will be to the Africa. published in 1965, Nkrumah really foreshadows a lot of. He was in every possible connotation of the word, a visionary. Enigmatic maybe.

You can disagree with the ideology, the methods, the persona, but you have to respect the knowledge at least. This is a must read for anyone wishing to understand the intricacies of post colonial politics on the African continent. Fifty years on, and this book still contains the possible solutions to problems we face in Africa today.

I look to engage anyone who has or is going to read this book. It is relatively short, but has a lot to offer both young and old minds.