‘Beyond the Return’ Masterclass Equips Ghanaian Artists With Music Business Knowledge

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The second edition of ‘The Return Conversations’ Masterclass was a success as it once again brought together Ghanaians and the diaspora for important discussions meant to build relationships that lead to future collaborations.  It took place on 23rd November 2020 at the Accra Tourist Information Centre with invited industry creatives in attendance.  Music Industry experts from the diaspora were streamed into the panel discussion virtually.

The theme for the event was ‘The Business of Music: Finding Ways to Market Ghanaian Music to the Rest of the World.’  The panel discussion was moderated by Frank Osuwu (Franky5), who is Head of Operations at the Creative Arts Council, Ghana.  The panel featured music industry experts including, Glyn Aikins, President of Sony Music label Since ‘93,  Dontae Winslow, Music Producer, Composer, Trumpeter and Educator,  Vasti Jackson, Composer, Guitarist and Producer, Coriya Burns, Senior Integrated Media Specialist, Radio One,  Malcolm Xavier, Award-winning DJ, and Mark Okraku-Mantey, President of the Creative Arts Council Ghana.

The event was coordinated by Ghana Tourism Authority and the Beyond the Return Secretariat in conjunction with The Creative Arts Council and The BridgeZone.  Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the Beyond the Return Secretariat, spoke before the discussion began saying that ‘The Return Conversations’ are a series of panel discussions designed to help bridge the gap between Ghanaians and our diaspora communities. Some of the creatives in Ghana who attended the event in-person included Urban Gospel Artist, Jo Church, Hiphop & Afrobeats Artist Amerado, Fashion Designer Jennifer Cole, Hiplife & Afrobeats artist Krymi, Urban Gospel Artist Kobby Salm, Gospel Artist Jayana, and Afrobeats Artist Nankym.

The purpose of this event was to create opportunities to collaborate and to teach about the business side of music.  There is a lot of talent in Ghana, but many artists lack the much-needed business knowledge to put themselves on an international platform.  “Consider that this discussion we’re having here is about the business,” said Vasti Jackson, who has been in the music industry for nearly 50 years.  “Every artist in Ghana is a corporation, every artist in Ghana is a business.” He stressed the importance of understanding that it’s not only the executives who have to look at the business side.  Artists need to focus on that too or they won’t reap the financial rewards. “It makes money or it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

In Ghana, like in many other countries, DJs play a significant part of the music business.  They are often headliners at parties and major events and have the power to bring in a lot of capital to businesses.  Frank Owusu asked Malcolm Xavier, “What are some of the things a DJ can do so that they expand their brand?”  Xavier responded, “I always encourage DJs to venture out and do their own parties.” He said that DJs often don’t see the back end of money made at large-scale events, so when they promote and organize their own, the earning potential is far greater. Glyn Aikins, who started his career as a DJ as well, spoke on how his career evolved into what it is today at an owner of a record label.  His career showed Ghanaian artists that you don’t have to remain in the same place, but can grow and develop your career to become someone of influence on the business side.

Dontae Winslow, who played a piece of music on his trumpet from his personal studio on the virtual panel, said it was important to be creative and always be learning, but to be mindful of business as well.  He shared a personal story of how he sold CDs during a concert tour several years ago, in Europe and that he was earning money through CD sales alongside the salary of his performances.  Winslow also spoke about the importance of building an audience where you come from before trying to jump into new territories.

 

Traditional radio has played an important role in the success of artists over the decades, especially in African markets where radio seems to have more influence than television.  Coriya Burns, who works with Radio One was asked how involved Radio One plans to be in Africa.  “Not nearly enough, but I believe that the role I play today will get us closer to that,” she answered.

Mark Okraku-Mantey was one of Ghana’s music pioneers having been one of the artists/producers that helped lead the genre of hiplife music during the nineties.  He has seen the evolution of music throughout his career and reiterated that change is inevitable.  He said that artists need to learn to identify the needs of your audience and sell to them because you’re not producing for yourself. This is part of understanding the business, it’s about selling what people want, not what you want.  He also suggested that artists master their art. “Make sure that you pay attention to mastering sound, because even if the song doesn’t become a hit, whenever the song is played, you can be proud that you produced it.”

The biggest takeaway from this event was how much artists need to learn the business side and not leave it solely in the hands of others, in order to build your own success.

BEYOND THE RETURN’ TO HOLD MASTERCLASS ON ‘THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC’

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ACCRA, GHANA – 21ST November 2020 –

‘The Return Conversations,’ a pivotal part of the ‘Beyond The Return’ project, bridges the gap between the global African diaspora and Ghanaians thorough a series of dynamic and impactful panel discussions. On the 24th November, at 4PM GMT, a Masterclass is set to take place under the theme, ‘The Business of Music; Finding Innovative Ways to Market Ghanaian Music to the Rest of the World.’ The Masterclass will feature panelists in the music and creative arts industries from the USA and Ghana.

 

The panel will be moderated by Lydia Forson, an Actress and Frank Owusu, the Head of Operations for the Creative Arts Council. The Masterclass will focus on key areas in the music industry such as marketing, finance, technological advancements, new channels for distribution & sales, networking, and new trends.

“Bringing together music industry and creative arts professionals from Ghana and the USA will be instrumental in building relationships between continental Africans and the diaspora,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat.

The program is being coordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority and the ‘Beyond The Return’ Secretariat in conjunction with the Creative Arts Council and TheBridgeZone. According to Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator of the ‘Beyond the Return’ project, “Forging collaborations between Ghanaians and the historical diasporas is a key objective of ‘Beyond The Return.’ After a successful first edition of the ‘Return Conversations’ Masterclass, we will continue to foster collaborations between Ghanaians and the global diaspora in the music industry.’ C.E.O. of TheBridgeZone, Anthony Bart Appiah, says, “As the billion Dollar music industry undergoes changes due to the advent of streaming. This masterclass themed the business of music will help boost confidence within the Ghana creative industry. It will also begin the conversations in finding partnerships & collaborations between Ghanaians and the diaspora.”

Panelists include SONY Music President, Glyn Aikins, Music Producer, Trumpeter, Composer & Educator, Dontae Winslow, Composer, Guitarist & Producer, Vasti Jackson, Senior Integrated Media Specialist – Radio One USA, Coriya Burns, Award Winning DJ, Malcolm Xavier, and President, Creative Arts Council, Mark Okraku-Mantey.

The program will be broadcast worldwide on the social media channels for ‘Beyond the Return’ (@beyondthereturn), and Ghana Tourism Authority (@ghanatourismauthority), and locally on Hitz FM 103.9 and Y FM 107.9. For more information on this upcoming event, contact the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat office by email at [email protected]

Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Hosts First Diaspora Breakfast Meeting With ‘Beyond the Return’

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The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat collaborated on the first ever Diaspora Business Breakfast Meeting which was held on Tuesday November 17, 2020.  The event took place at the Marriott Hotel in Accra.  The meeting was an official ‘Beyond the Return’ event which carefully aligns with one of the pillars for the campaign called, Invest in Ghana.

 

 

After the ‘Year of Return’ many diasporans wanted to explore business and investment opportunities in Ghana.  Under the Invest in Ghana pillar for ‘Beyond the Return’, a committee has been formed that is chaired by GIPC with a goal to create programs and opportunities to support the diaspora in their journey towards investing in Ghana.

The event’s theme was ‘Creating Connections- Building Ghana, Together’ and was an opportunity to network and engage with the diaspora community.  Speakers included, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, CEO GIPC, Yofi Grant, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, and Co-Chair of ‘Beyond the Return’ Steering Committee, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, Co-Chair for the ‘Beyond the Return’ Steering Committee, Kwame Acheampong Boateng Esq. and CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator for ‘Beyond the Return’, Akwasi Agyeman.

Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Awuah Ababio, addressed the attendees about the ‘Right of Abode’ and citizenship, stating that there to plans in place to work on those concerns.  He also spoke on making provisions for the diaspora who are looking to relocate and resettle in Ghana.  CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre highlighted important areas of business opportunities for the diaspora while speaking on the importance of taking advantage of our strengths and resources.  “We can’t have a continent that is wealthy and yet our people are poor,” he said. “We must all do our bit to transform our nation.”

Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway was the Keynote Speaker and shared her experience about moving back to Ghana in 1993 when there was no structure in place to support returnees.  She commended the collaborative effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, GIPC, Ghana Tourism Authority, the Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President and the Beyond the Return Secretariat.  “There’s never been a time in the history of this country where you see so much interest and enthusiasm on the part of the diaspora who are willing to contribute their skills, technical know-how, and capital in support of government transformation agenda,” she said.

The Panel Discussion was moderated by Jerry Adjorlolo and featured Diasporans who shared their experiences and advice when moving to Ghana.  They were, Head of Information and Public Affairs Embassy of Ghana USA, Kofi Tonto, Real Estate Developer; Ayi Mensah Park, Kofi Anku, CEO of GUBA Enterprise, Dentaa Amoateng, and Senior Social Protection Specialist, World Bank Group; Founder of Ahaspora, Christabel Dadzie.

In closing the event, Akwasi Agyeman said that we need to tell our story and it starts from us.  “We need to open our arms to our brothers and sisters out there, it’s a collaborative effort,” he said. “We’re not just talking about the Ghanaian diaspora, we’re talking about the historical diaspora as well,” he said.

PRESS RELEASE – 2020 December In Ghana Events

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The ‘Beyond the Return’ Secretariat is excited to release the official events schedule for November and December 2020. The events have been chosen after a careful review to include cultural events, festivals, performances, entertainment, business, and educational activities that amplify the pillars of ‘Beyond the Return’. DecemberInGH will be an exciting time filled with events and festivals that will create memorable experiences for Ghanaians and diasporans to See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, and Feel Ghana.

The Ghana Tourism Authority, coordinators of the ten- year project and the ‘Beyond The Return’ secretariat will work closely with event organizers to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are followed. “It’s been a challenging year for everyone so it’s great to have something to look forward to,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the ‘Beyond The Return’ Secretariat. “We’re pleased to announce the schedule of events because many Ghanaians and Diasporans have already been asking about the DecemberInGH activities.”

Proposals for November and December events are still being accepted. Event organizers are encouraged to submit proposals for events in all regions and not only focus on the Greater Accra Region. Proposals can be submitted on the website at www.beyondthereturngh.com.

‘Beyond the Return’ is a ten-year project with a theme of ‘A Decade of African Renaissance.’ The project is the follow up to last year’s successful ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ campaign. During the ‘Year of Return,’ Ghanaians and Diasporans attended cultural & entertainment events, participated in community service projects, and contributed to the economic advancement of Ghana.

More information about ‘Beyond The Return’ and the official calendar can be viewed on the web at www.beyondthereturngh.com and www.visitghana.com.

Third Edition of Worlafest Officially Endorsed by ‘Beyond the Return’

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Worlafest is a festival of arts and music that was created by Ghana’s renowned musician, Worlasi. This year’s event is the third edition and takes place on Saturday 7th November 2020 at Alliance Française.  This time it’s an officially endorsed ‘Beyond the Return’ event and promises to take you on a journey through art and music.

 

During the day, the festival will host an art exhibition from 2pm-5pm that features a selection of artists curated to represent the various talents in Ghana.  Artists in the exhibition include, Abena Oyiwaa Art, Joblek, Sara Black, NiiOdai, James Mishio, Lawrence Torto, and Teloe.

 

Worlasi himself is also a painter and animator who wants to elevate the work of local talent through this event. His creative inspirations come through life experiences and observing the world around him then translating it into his music and art. Worlasi will be performing some of his new music during the concert which is slated for 7pm-10pm.

 

Tickets for the event are 100 GHS to attend in-person. Purchase your tickets online at www.ayatickets.com.  If you can’t make it to the event, you can also purchase tickets for 30 GHS by going to www.worlafest.com and watch online from the comfort of your home.

 

Follow Worlafest on Instagram @worlafest for updates and more information on artist performances at the event.

‘Beyond the Return’ – Health & Wellness With Self-Care Sunday

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Make your health and wellness a priority this weekend at  ‘Self-Care Sunday’, a ‘Beyond the Return’ endorsed event with a focus on taking care of yourself through activities that promise to improve your body, mind and spirit. ‘Self-Care Sunday’ takes place on 8th November at the Rehab Beach Club from 10am-5pm.  Araba Babs Ofori-Acquah, is a Certified Well-Being Coach, and the Founder of Self-Care Sunday.

Miss Ofori-Acquah said the idea for Self-Care Sunday came to her in a flash of divine inspiration. “Wellness is something that has been commodified and made exclusive in many ways,” she said. “With gyms and fitness studios charging high prices. There are many ways to be well, but people are missing out either due to high costs, stigma associated with activities such as yoga, or lack of education around different ways that we can look after ourselves.”

 

Taking care of ourselves is something that’s often ignored in the daily hustle and bustle of our lives.  For most of us, we wake up, go to work, school, attend events, participate in activities, take care of children, family members and so much more.  Your days are so packed with doing things for everyone else, that you ignore your own needs.  This event aims to shift our thinking and prioritize healthy living through fun activities.

 

The event includes high speed fitness, afrobeats yoga, high intensity interval training, twerk fitness, a Zen Zone by the beach, and a wellness market. An important element at the event will be the Conscious Conversations which includes important talks and workshops including men’s mental health, diet and nutrition, benefits of waist beads and more.

 

Self-Care Sunday is unlike any other ‘Beyond the Return’ event and Ofori-Acquah says that “Health and wellness is key to Ghana’s prosperity, and is an important consideration for any diasporans making the return home.”  Her goal is for her event to act as a wellness sanctuary for all Ghanainas, returnees and diasporans.   “I believe we’ll create a high energy, positive atmosphere that will help people feel at ease.”

 

The event aims to educate people on practicing self-care in an open, inclusive environment at a reasonable cost.  Tickets to the event are 150 GHS and can be purchased by registering online using this link: bit.ly/SCSnov.  Information about the event is also available through Whatsapp on 0596041984.

Glitz Africa Fashion Week 2020 – Beyond the Return Edition

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Glitz Africa Fashion Week is one of Ghana’s biggest annual fashion events and takes place this year from November 6-8, 2020. This year’s edition is in partnership with Ghana Tourism Authority and endorsed as a Beyond the Return event. This is the 8th edition of this exciting fashion program that features African design and creativity.

On Friday 6th November, from 3pm-5:30pm there will be runway shows featuring streetwear designers that will take place at Untamed Empire on Spintex Road. Designers on that day include Subwae Studios, Darkor, Afro Volf, Slum Studios and Kojo Kusi. Saturday 7th November will feature events taking place at the Grand Arena at the Accra International Conference Centre. The day starts off with a business seminar featuring industry professionals, exhibitions and collections from young design talent. The evening runway shows will include a host of established designers including, Ophelia Crossland, Selina Beb, Larry Jay, House of Paon, and Christie Brown.

The final day takes place at The Octagon Rooftop and includes the screening of a fashion film and runway shows from designers Nyonuvi, Kokude, Afrodisiac Worldwide, Jermaine Bleu, Chocolate Clothing and Duaba Serwa.

For more information email [email protected] and to purchase your tickets to the event call 0501581266 or 0302798513.

Rhythms on da Runway is Back for the 2020 ‘Beyond the Return’ Edition

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Rhythms on da Runway is officially back for another year.  Media Personality and Fashion Designer Kofi Okyere Darko, popularly known as KOD, is the man behind this brand that has been showcasing African fashion and entertainment for over a decade.  The official launch announcing the upcoming event took place on 8th October on the rooftop at the African Regent Hotel. Many of Ghana’s celebrities and members of the creative industry were in attendance for the high energy event that featured music and entertainment.

Rhythms on da Runway 2020 Edition is set to take place on 14th November 2020 at 7pm at The Underground located in East Legon.  This year’s edition is supported by Ghana Tourism Authority and is an officially endorsed ‘Beyond the Return’ event.  With the global pandemic this year’s event is expected to be on a smaller scale because there will not be designers from other African countries flying in to participate.  There are also limited travellers from the diaspora due to travel restrictions around the world.  This year’s edition is slated to be 100% Ghanaian featuring designers and musicians from across the country.

 

CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator of ‘Beyond the Return’, Akwasi Agyeman, said that having the event this year shows how resilient we are as a people.  Being and endorsed ‘Beyond the Return’ event, he assured that there will be several editions of the event endorsed over the next 10 years of the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative.  “We’re quite excited that this year we’re having a 100% Ghanaian program,” he said.  Making mention of Ghana Tourism Authority’s ‘See Ghana, Eat Ghana Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana’ campaign, he said that Rhythms on the Runway fits right into that messaging.

 

 

Yvonne Ocloo is the Creative President for RODR and she said they are excited about the upcoming event and are humbled to be able to pull off another show considering the things that have happened this year with the pandemic.  She remembered how exciting last year’s event was and the acknowledgment received from BBC Africa in referring to the show as the “Biggest cultural expose in Africa.”  She made mention that one of this year’s highlights will be the celebration of Ghanaian designer Ricci Osei, father of musician Reggie Rockstone.  He was a cultural innovator who paved the way for many design talents in Ghana today.

Some of the performers scheduled for the show include Kelvyn Boy, Kwabena Kwabena, Efya, King Promise and Kuami Eugene.  Designers who will be showcasing their collections include Chocolate by Kwaku Bediako, Sima Brew, Stepup, Jay Ray Ghartey and others to be announced soon.

Tickets for the event go on sale on 14th October and there are only 200 tickets available. KOD was overwhelmed with how many people attended the launch event and acknowledged that with Covid-19 protocols this year’s event will not be as grand in number.  He said it was going to be tough turning people away because of the limited numbers.  Despite that, he knows this is a momentous occasion to be able to still put on the show.  Akwasi Agyeman said, “We know that this year’s event as small as it will be, it will be another milestone to celebrate.”

By Ivy Prosper

Photos: Beyond The Return ‘Return Conversations’ Begin In Accra

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Professionals from Ghana’s Creative Arts Industry came in their numbers to participate in the first ‘The Return Conversations Masterclass’ virtual panel discussion. The panel featured industry pros from the U.S. who were imparting their knowledge with decades of industry experience. A Q&A session gave Ghanaian creatives the chance to share their experiences and ask questions about collaborations and real investment in the African industry.

 

‘Beyond The Return’ Officially Accepting New Proposals For 2020 Events

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19TH SEPTEMBER, 2020

ACCRA, GHANA

‘Beyond the Return’ has announced that event proposals are being accepted for programs taking place from September through December 2020.  After last year’s successful ‘Year of Return’ campaign which included programs, events and festivals, there have been many requests for ‘Beyond the Return’ to have a platform to continue in these activities and provide new ways for the diaspora to continue to connect with Ghanaians through event programs.

“I’m really looking forward to the events this year.  Especially the ones that will give back to Ghana through initiatives that seek to serve the local communities like the commissioning of boreholes we saw last year. It will be great to see more events that highlight Ghana’s culture as part of ‘Beyond the Return’ because it will expose diasporans to the diversity and richness of Ghana’s culture and heritage,” said Annabelle McKenzie, Manager of the Beyond the Return Secretariat.

Event proposals are officially being accepted digitally and a separate form must be filled out for each event using the ‘Beyond the Return 2020 Events Submission Forms’ available at www.beyondthereturngh.com.  Hard copy submissions will not be accepted.  Event organisers should prepare to explain how their programs fit into the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative and its ability to include both the diaspora and local Ghanaian communities.

‘Beyond the Return’ is a 10-year initiative with the theme ‘A Decade of African Renaissance’ and its foundation is built on seven pillars: Experience Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana, Give Back to Ghana and Promote Pan African Heritage & Innovation. Each of the pillars is important because it represents an area that ‘Year of Return’ received feedback from the diaspora and the local Ghanaian community on ways to strengthen engagement between our communities.  It’s also the opportunity to create programs and events that represent each pillar. The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) is coordinating the project under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Other collaborating organisations are the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the office of the President, the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and the Ghana Tourism Development Company.

To learn more about ‘Beyond the Return’ please visit the website  www.beyobdthereturngh.com. Please send questions and comments to [email protected] and you can also follow on social media @beyondthereturn.

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