Sensational and remarkable Ghanaian female vocalist, Ssue, has chalked another success on the international scene with Yo Luv is Betta, a song she co-wrote with Greg Kofi Brown, the legendary Osibisa guitarist. The single is included in the band’s new album, ‘New Dawn.’
This album by the legendary Afro-rock ambassadors, Osibisa, the new thing from the band which has not released any new material since 2009, was released on April 23, 2021 which marks exactly 45 years when the band’s ‘Sunshine Day’ charted in the UK in 1976.
It is definitely a new dawn for the legendary Afro Rock band which mesmerized the world in the 1970s-80s with their signature Africa-tinted heavy percussions with original founders Teddy Osei, Mac Tontoh, Sol Amarfio churning out some evergreen hits like Woyaya, Welcome home among others.
Years later, the band has undergone some personnel changes which included female back-up singers for the first time and a co-songwriter Ssue who did that with guitarist Brown. That single, Yo luv is betta, is doing well on the European charts as a single. It has not escaped the ears and attention of acclaimed European djs such as Louie Vega currently working on his soon to be released album expected to be released worldwide. He is simply in love with her voice and there is the possibility of her being featured on the dj’s upcoming album.
Despite being a relatively new female Ghanaian act that nevertheless sings and performs with the experience of a thoroughbred professional singer, her appearance on the new Osibisa disc will not be a surprise to those who have followed her career over the years. What many commend her for is her vocal dexterity which is evident when she mounts the stage using her tone to calm nerves as she struts the stage belching out some of her self-composed songs, some copyrights and duets with some of Ghana’s greatest veteran singers like Pat Thomas who has been recognized nationally as the man with the golden voice.
This is not the first time Ssue is doing her own version of an Osibisa oldie. Though she has stuck to the origins of the song she has added her own twist giving the song a new direction and vibration which only her voice can do. That is what has thrilled the dj!
For those encountering her for the first time in this write-up, she is not new on the scene: her musical exploits have taken her to the pinnacle of the Ghanaian music scene industry when she was crowned Ghanaian Artiste of the Year at the second edition of the Ghana Arts & Culture Awards (GACA) in 2020.
In accepting the award from another Ghanaian female star, Akosua Agyapong, she remarked “hard work pays off when you are persistent and consistent.”
And that is what she has been down the years. According to her Business Manager, Paa Kwesi Holdbrook-Smith, the award is just a further recognition of her hard work and the fact that though her music can be described as fusion, she has not departed from her African roots.
The ever humble singer, in an interview with journalists later remarked that though she was adjudged the best does not take anything from the other acts who were nominated but did not win. They included Wiyaala, Worlasi, Sherifat Gunu, Lamisi and Trigmatic.
Despite the slowdown in the music industry due to the pandemic, she has been busy: she featured as the opening act for Steel Pulse, the legendary London-based reggae band in a live concert in Accra, and eight-week collaboration with other international musicians across the world to create awareness on how to curb the spread of COVID-19 using their musical medium to spread the message.
Ssue has also released her long awaited EP, Bambaya Fire from which the single, Bome Nkomode which she did with Pat Thomas comes from.
The ‘New Dawn’ album from the reformed, revamped and reinvigorated, Osibisa of 2021, is different from their pioneering Afro-rock ties of old. The new album explores other genres of music – rock, reggae, jazz, calypso, pop and soul; whilst weaving their signature African vibes into every melodic fibre of the musical landscape.
Featuring Ssue on this mega-project has definitely opened new doors for the Ghanaian diva. Her presence can be felt in the homes of Osibisa fans that date from the 1970s.
She has earlier made a name in Nigeria when she featured in the annual Felabration music festival which honours the memory of late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the creator of the Afrobeat music genre. The festival held during the birthday week of the legendary musician usually attracts the best local and international performers to the New Africa Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to the well-respected music editor of Blazon Magazine, Zama Khumalo, her music has something in it for all Africans as he wrote “…When her music is being played, you can feel the unity amongst Africans who are able to enjoy the sweet sounds of her music.”
Any musical aficionado very conversant with Osibisa’s music but hears Ssue or sees her perform some of the group’s songs will, with joy and pride, admit that she made Ghana proud in Nigeria as explained by Peter Fisher anchor of Jazz and Conversations 91.33fm who was one of those wooed by this lady from Ghana.
Those who are yet to listen or watch her in one of those breathless performances can visit http://www.deezer.com/artist/5877095 to discover Ssue, unarguably the hottest and latest Ghanaian diva to hit the stage.
Though based in the U.S, her love for music from her roots brought her back to her Ghanaian roots and armed with a sensational vocal power, strident stagecraft coupled with a great songwriting talent which stretches across all known genres of music: from raunchy RnB, Soul to sultry Nu Soul-Jazz to percussive Afro beats which all effortlessly reveals her vocal dexterity.
Her talent has been recognized not only in Africa but even in the United States where she has won awards: the Music Excellence 3-G Award, NY and Discovery of the Year GACA, GH. As she said “I am grateful for the recognition. It’s been a good 2019 and watch out for 2020. Thanks to fans all over the world: http://smarturl.it/ssue-twinkle-twinkle.
But when an Academy award winner and son of Fela, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, a star in his own right, could not resist SSUE and her band and jumps on to the stage to dance and perform with the new sensation coming from Africa, then know that this female singer has a lot to give the world to celebrate.