Graham Reid | | 3 min read
He found us from the far side of the world, and we are very happy he did because Ekonklo/Other Side is wonderful album: it is refreshing, thoughtful, discreet and crafted.
It is also very personal and this singer/songwriter from Ghana who has been a longtime resident of Berlin (and clearly also speaks English) presents music which is both heartfelt and honest, and also truly engaging.
Time for Adjiri – who may never be a household name outside of Elsewhere in the remote South Pacific for him – to answer some questions about who he is and where his music has come from . . .
Where did you grow up, and with who?
I grew in Accra the capital town of Ghana with parents and my five siblings.
Was music an important part of your childhood?
Yes, music has been part of my life since childhood, always meeting friends in my neighbourhood after school and searching for any scratches that we can get to make music .
What are your earliest childhood memories of music which really affected you . . .
In school , every Wednesday a trainer comes from the art council of Ghana to give us a lesson about our traditional music.
Was there a time when you felt it was going to be music and nothing else?
I knew it right from the beginning, because I was always interested about anything concerning music. And it became more real when I led my school mates to participate in a student competition in Ghana called Students Pop Chain (1983) which we won with my own composition.
When you started on your music career were people around you supportive or did you have to find those people?
Yeah, my dad always telling his friends and working colleagues how talented I am, my mum who was a great singer herself always brings me to the church every Sunday and to show my skills in the choir and always proud when people comes and gave complements about me.
And also in school, whenever I have to perform for the students.
The first song of yours which you really felt proud of was . . .? And why that one?
My first song is called AWO which I wrote to my mother when I was eleven years old and was released three years ago when she passed away. Although she knows the song before. (Unrecorded )
Any one person you'd call a mentor, angel on your shoulder or invaluable fellow traveller?
My parents, especially mom. She contributed and inspires me a lot through out my musical journey.
Where and when was the first time you went on stage as a paid performer?
At the age of sixteen when my dad passed away and have to play in a professional band to support my mom for my secondary school fees.
Ever had stage fright or just a serious failure of nerve before going on stage?
Never thought of that, stage is always my comfort zone and a place to have fun.
As a songwriter, do you carry a notebook or have a phone right there constantly to grab ideas they come? Or is your method something different?
Mostly I do it constantly when the idea comes then put them on a small recorder. Later I will go through it all again, and select my favourite ones to work on.
What unfashionable album do you love as a guilty pleasure?
One of traditional album from Ghana called Yaa Amposah from African brothers band.
Any piece of advice you were given which you look back on which really meant something?
The time I was in secondary school and my dad had passed away. He was then the breadwinner in the family, so I started having difficulties to pay for my school fees since my mom can’t afford all our fees.
So l had a chance to join a band in UK but wasn’t sure if I had to drop out from school .
I spoke to one of my teacher about it and she advised me to finish the school.
I remember that very well.
She also said that she knows that I am so talented and when my studies are over for sure there will be more opportunities for me which I did and grateful for her advice.
It's after a performance/concert and you are in a hotel room or back at home, what happens then?
Just lie down in my bed and happy that I made my audience happier
Is there any fellow artist you admire for professional and/or personal reasons?
Manu DiBango whom I personally met at the Africa-Festival in Wurzburg- Germany some years back.
You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here