I went to Ghana as a child armed only with a couple of sentences in our Ghanaian language of Twi that I picked up from my mum and dad. Although I became fluent over the six years that I was there, on returning to the UK it began to fade a little as I don’t speak it that often.
I always wanted to incorporate Twi into my songs though and finally used it in an unreleased tracks a while back. However my forthcoming ‘Adinkra’ EP release is really first one where it features heavily. As I’m not as fluent as I once was at times it was a bit challenging at times. Thankfully though, as with my English songs, I’d go to sleep wondering how to write a section of a song, and then find myself waking up [sometimes at 2 or 3 in the morning!] with a fully formed idea in Twi, which I could use in the song I was working on.
Sometimes I had serious doubts about how good my Twi was, so I’d run these by my very lovely Twi-speaking friends and relatives before adding them to the track. A couple of times my ideas were direct translations which my mum explained just don’t fly in Twi. With Damé-Damé, my song based on the Adinkra symbol for the Ghanaian game of draughts, I had to go back to the studio and record quite a few times because it’s pronounced different ways by different people. The Ga tribe of my percussionist Emmanuel Tagoe for example pronounce it ‘Diemay’. Luckily I managed to reach the very lovely Joy Amma and her mum on the last day of recording the song, to get the pronunciation just, right just in time!
The songs aren’t available yet on general release, but click here to get some exclusives that aren’t on the EP as well as Damé-Damé, the first single, for free.
If you already bought the EP in or around my Kickstarter campaign, I’ll be letting you have some free tracks too!
Wishing you all the best for the rest of the week
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