(Vuvuzela-Free) World Cup Music Scandal: Ghana With the Wind

[The LA Weekly's Calendar Editor, Libby Molyneaux, points us to the following underreported incident at the South Africa soccer World Cup:]

"Here's a charming little story that shows that corruption is alive and well in the World Music business. The incident involves some top acts in Ghana - among them, my brother-in-law Kwaw Kese - who were invited to perform a special concert arranged by FIFA and PinkraMedia in Johannesburg in conjunction with their country's Black Stars of Ghana opening match against Serbia in the World Cup.

Kwaw is among Ghana's top rap stars. He won Artist of the Year at the 2008 Ghana Music Awards and is famous for his infectious mega-hit "Abodam." Kwaw and other Ghanian stars like Samini, KK Fosu and Obrafour were promised payment before the June 11 show. The artists were flown to Pretoria and put up at a hotel. But by the time showtime came around, the promoter who had promised payment had disappeared and there was no transportation to Jo-burg, about an hour and a half away.

In countries where musicians live hand to mouth, it's not unusual for a promoter to pay them on the spot. Unfortunately, it's also not unusual for them to not keep their promises. What makes this incident extra egregious on the promoter's part is that the artists were virtually stranded in a foreign country (though the hotel where they were housed did serve breakfast). According to Kwaw, the promoter has shown up a couple of times and he always says he is sorry about their predicament. He usually arrives around 10 p.m. and sometimes he brings food with him that Kwaw says is quickly devoured.

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Their return tickets are for the 22nd but Kwaw says they are trying to leave ASAP and escape what he describes as a "terrible situation."  He says they are all angry but feel they don't have much recourse at this time.

Chances are the promoter will suffer no legal action or financial retribution. Unfortunately, that's just how it is in places like Ghana."

--Libby Molyneaux

Here's a Kwaw's hit "Abodam" ("Crazy"):


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