Kumi Guitar does have a dream. A dream that one day, highlife music will play on and on……. on Ghanaian mainstream radio……on our television screens…..on our playlists…..and in our pubs …..and on all occasions.
He isn’t alone in this dream. Quarme Zaggy and Paa Kwesi also do share in that dream; so also are many young highlife talents.
If the young acts have a firm belief in pushing a genre that is widely believed to be authentically Ghanaian, then it suffices to say that for an act to stick to that, forgoing the trappings of “the norm” that anything goes in the Ghanaian music, the temptation is high, but Dada Hafco has adequately resisted that temptation and has stayed glued to the highlife dream.
Hafco’s dream isn’t the “let’s follow suit” kind. He cares less if his songs do not fall within the BPMs of the party-friendly DJ; his focus is –do good music, and with time, the rewards will come; it will be appreciated.
The musician Dada Hafco
The songwriter, composer, arranger and performer did not get into music until 2006 when he first together with a friend formed the group MFRAMA and released their debut album ‘Fiiligadoochi’, which featured Kwabena Kwabena and became an instant hit which would eventually get a nomination at the 2007 Ghana Music Awards for best hiplife song of the year.
The album had songs like “Ndaadaa” and featured K. K Fosu. The then group collaborated with Wutah on “Menyaahuwoyi.” With the massive airplay that the album received, they again in 2009 released their second album Disco. The album also had the remix of the famous Sweety Sweety by Reggie Rockstone and Root Eye which featured Kk Fosu and Reggie Zippy now a part of the duo Reggie N Bollie.
The group in 2010 appeared on the Appietus compilation with the hit song “Ghana Lady” which was eventually remixed as a soundtrack to the movie “Agya Koo Gbengbentus” and later won the award for the best soundtrack at the Ghana movie awards in 2011.
Dada Hafco in March 2013, released his first solo single “Mensesa” which featured fellow highlife artiste K.K Fosu. The song, produced by Ephraim Musiq, is nothing but a classic!
On the build up to his debut album New Era as a solo artiste, Dada Hafco has also released other highlife classics such as “Hini Me,” “Musuo” which features the Rap Doctor Okyeame Kwame, “Wanim ye ha” featuring Flowking Stone, “Friends” with Yaw Stone of mentor 7 fame and “Mensa aka.”
He says he is getting the album ready sometime later in the year, and until then will continue to do single releases for his fans the “DadaBees” and also for everyone who loves good music.
Dada Hafco’s latest single “BediAnko,” which features PaaKwasi formerly of Dobble basically talks about appreciating love. Meeting a person you love and not being able to do without the fellow.
The Underrated Gem
It probably has taken Ghana that long to appreciate Dada Hafco’s talent. His performance on his latest single “Bedianko” seems to have ruffled a few feathers, albeit the fact that the song is way bigger than the rather not so “big” artiste. That “Bedianko” would have fetched him good cash, with a better appeal, if Wutah or a Daddy Lumba owned that song cannot be gainsaid.
But, that’s Hafco’s fate. And as a fan and writer, I believe it’s a matter of time. Yes. It’s a matter of time, and anyone who gets to know that “Bedianko” is undoubtedly a big song in Ghana, in fact, one of the popular, best composed and perfectly performed songs around, cannot stop appreciating good music. That’s a fact!
Since the song was released in the second quarter of 2017, and the foremost review of the song by arts journalist Kwame Dadzie, I have not stopped admiring the beauty of that piece.
“The message of the song is about how one gets stuck to their loved ones because of some good virtues of the lover. It tells the story of how his lover got him stuck to loving her because she gave him love potion (not literally). As to what exactly has gotten him stuck to his lover, it is not clear but the imagery connotes sex; the singer may have gotten stuck to the woman because of sex.
“It is not wrong to write or sing about sex but sex is not the only thing that binds lovers. Trust, affection, respect, patience, and the like are all important ingredient for a successful romantic relationship. So for the singer to be making reference to a particular thing (and not ‘things’) as what cements his love with his woman, while he uses sexual imagery, it is easy for any music lover to interpret “Bedianko” as a sexually suggestive song.
“This means ‘Bedianko’ is mature music for mature people who understand language and are able to decode deep lyrics.” Kwame Dadzie observes in his review of the song.
The Bedianko Effect: Real or Fiction?
Is it a fact that “Bedianko” is a love potion, as Kwame asserts in his review? And does the Bedianko “charm” really exist in parts of the country?
The above folklore appears to be a popular belief, but where exactly does the bedianko charm exist in Ghana? Or is it just figurative?
Some comments on a Facebook post by the artiste on this topic is an interesting read.
Cecilo believes the charm really exists in Wassa and Sefwi. “[I] did my service in Bogoso and we were warned. They say they put it in a special meal they will prepare for your saka (rice) and palm nut soup. Eiiinzema too dey ooh.”
However, there are some who see the supposed charm as mere folklore, and figurative for that matter. What constitutes the “charm” is the beauty of the ladies, or the good treatment (food, sex, affection) that the ladies give their men.
“Yeah, my hometown Nkoranza. Truth is we Bonos, aside our beauty, know how to treat our men. We cook the best meals and are very submissive. That’s why we get all the best men and people say it’s a charm. Just observe any Bono lady you meet,” Ama Nyarko asserts.
She adds, “Oh yeah, that’s why the other tribes call us bedianko. Why in God’s name will you leave a woman who is submissive and give you good food? Lol.”
Pretti Emma Jonson agrees with second school of thought speculating “it’s the humility of the Brong Ahafo women that keeps the man from exploring further…. Just know there is a reason we keep men coming back…. everything about those women be tight and proper.”
Maame Serwaa sums it up: “We don’t have any charm called Bedianko, but what we have is the ability to treat a man like a king which makes him stay with us forever.”
That’s what it is. Whether Dada Hafco meant it literally or figuratively, the song refrains beautifully from taking a seeming swipe at, or reference to any group of people. He does what Nkasei’s “Tuobodom” song didn’t do.
That’s the result of his maturity. Dada Hafco has come far. Next time you hear the song, put some “respek” on that name!
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