New sounds from Accra to the World
Have you ever been to a Beat Phreaks party with Keyzuz? Or listened to Steloo on the decks?
Though across the continent much of the space is occupied by afrobeats, coupé décalé or makossa, new sounds are finding their way onto the airwaves. With sounds and timbres such as drum machines and synthesizers as well as a combination of a wide range of genres like techno, trap, afro house, drum & base, electro house and electronica.
“I love to play a fusion of melodic trap-style and sometimes middle eastern influences with dubstep and future bass.” says Keyzuz, known for her adventurous electronic mixes.
While DJs like Keyzuz and Steloo have steadily built a followership with their eclectic sounds, a dip in a new genre in the country comes from one of Ghana's first self-described Afro-EDM musician's, Økuntakinte. His song ‘Melanin Girl’, which was released in 2016, blends EDM and Afrobeats and was praised for its lyrics about anti-bleaching and visuals.
The departure from Afropop, or Afrobeats, has been on a steady rise. Muscian Yaw P recalls, from 2013, listening to radio host Eddy Blay play electronic music on YFM. From there his tastes and musical interests expanded.
“When I got introduced to dubstep for the first time it was an eargasm. I immersed myself right into it just because it carried the right amount of aggression,” he says, reflecting on the journey of electronic music in the country. “It was like those 80s synths had morphed from nice old ladies to heavy punk rockers.”
Yaw P, like many of his contemporaries, prefers to steer away from labels but is often experimenting with electronic vibes in his music.
In recent interview Keyzuz said electronic music was “a way of keeping her interest in deejaying”, when she began doing sets at university at a time when other genres were in the country were – and to some extent continue to be – far more dominant. But it is a sound she loves, she says, and she's glad that audiences are increasingly getting into the sound.
“Most of the electronic sounds offer an array of soft and hard hitting elements that we feel in our society and our daily lives, the nice beaches, the cool breeze under a shady tree with mango in hand. The aggressiveness of the market place and city traffic,” Yaw P says before adding: “Chale it helps us carry our messages and emotions more accurately and has a very prominent place in our rebranded “afrobeats” sound.”