CORONAVIRUS/ The Effect Of The Disease On Ghana’s Music Ecosystem

Ghana, one of the most populous black nation in the world, confirmed two cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the first cases to be reported in Ghana. Sweeping through Asia and into Europe, Accra saw the first reported case of the now-declared pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. In a news release signed by the Minister of Health, who doubles as a Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central, laboratory results of the two confirmed cases were received at the same time from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. According him these cases are imported as both individuals returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey.

However doggedly, Ghana is working to combat the situation with some measures established, its toll on economic activity is yet felt. Globally, as the world plans to contain the virus, it has made for a lot of changes. Employees are being asked to work from home, corporations and offices are being closed, the biggest football leagues have suspended a considerable amount of games, oil prices have gone down, and in the entertainment sector, music events and tours are being postponed.

Reggae/Dance-hall artiste, Stonebwoy has been touring North America before the virus broke out. out of approximately 10 shows, he executed 3, thus, Afrocarrib Festival, Stonebwoy Live In DC, Stonebwoy Live In Chicago. However, the global space as it is right now had the multiple award winning Ghanaian artiste announce that the rest of his tour was postponed.

Stonebwoy, hasn’t been the only artiste to make such an announcement recently. King Promise, who sold out London 02 Acadamy earlier also postponed his shows successive shows. The artiste was set to thrill Canadian audience as part of his As Promised Tour. However, on March 14th, the Canadian government placed an indefinite ban on gatherings of more than 500 people as part of drastic measures to try curb the spread of the respiratory disease known as Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Global music events find themselves impacted too: Beale Street Music Festival adds to the list of suspended, canceled or postponed events due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ghana’s Stonebwoy and Sarkodie were among the scheduled performers for the annual event. Organizers of the event have decided to push the event to a later date. While specific dates have not been arranged, ticket buyers are provided options. A new date is scheduled to be announced on March 27, 2020. If customers, teams or runners are not able to attend the new date, they will be offered a refund.

The Coachella, arguably the biggest music festival in the world, also had its dates pushed. Seun Kuti, the iconic Afrobeat artiste, was the only Nigerian on the lineup of the festival; other artistes on its 2020 roster includes American recluse superstar Frank Ocean, British-Nigerian rapper Dave, the prominent South African DJ Black Coffee, amongst a host of others, from FKA Twigs to Koffee.

The Afro Nation festival which was to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from March 18 – March 21 has also been postponed. Many Ghanaian artistes, Including Stonebwoy were on the lineup of the event co-founded by Nigerian creative entrepreneur Obi Asika.

Ghanaians have reacted rather optimistically to the COVID-19, somewhat confident in how its health officials (and the general public) defeated the much deadlier Ebola virus. That isn’t to say Ghanaians are being complacent: sanitizers spiked in demand and prices in the early days; as usual, hands are being washed and face masks are a regular sight around the country.

But given the laudable efforts of health officials so far, there’s every reason to be positive – even in the continued conflict of interest that has pit citizens against a government which doesn’t seem eager to stop entry into the country – that Ghana could shine as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world in these times.


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