General News of Saturday, 3 September 2016
Danny Nettey’s casket sat in the middle of the forecourt of the State House like the Ark of the Covenant. Nearly surrounded by about 12 white tents like the 12 tribes of Israel.
A microphone was placed right side of Danny Nettey inside the casket. It was the most familiar object in his life. Like a wife, Danny has held the mic to his lips and sang gospel’s spiritual power through its electronic pipelines.
So take this with you, Danny. Take this with you.
It is not entirely dismissible idea that Danny would by now have gathered a group of angels to string together some rehearsals.
Take this with you, Danny, take this with you.
His casket sprayed with a piano wine hue. This is a man who made sure that a stone did not take his place in worship as Jesus warned those who refuse to praise him.
And so at his funeral service, melody soared through the morbidity of the mourners. When minister Denzel took the mic to lead the worship service, gospel songs ripped open mourners hearts and they sang with meaning, the way Danny had lived with purpose.
You should see the legendary lawyer Tstasu Tsikata gently wriggle a leg and sing ‘Yes you are the Lord’. He sang with the expertise of a rookie and lifted his hand with the brokenness of a new convert.
And when Denzel added ‘ I will Worship you, Tsatus left hand joined the right in the air, a powerful stream of pained memories must have rushed through him.
This is his favourite Danny Nettey song. This was the song that introduced Danny to him while he was in prison.
The Denzel-led worship threatened to seize the service and temporarily re-brand it into a prayer festival. Pockets of prayer broke out under the white tents.Knees buckled under as a woman confronted the granite and gravel floor of the State House Forceourt in awe of God.
There was little evidence of overwhelming grief. His mother stifled a tear when her eyes locked into Danny’s own during the file past. She paused a second. As Mary buried her son, Jesus, she had buried Danny, experiencing the dreaded heartache of every parent.
Uninvited yet provoked by the praise, the mourners danced towards Danny and danced around him in another unofficial, praised-inspired file past – or maybe dance-past.
This was not a funeral service. Too much light in the white dresscode empahsied the theme that this is a celebration of life.
The white tent, the white linen décor woven around Danny’s last tent and an all-white gospel choir made certain that this mourning was turned into dancing.
The Sun had a good look at him in the casket, focusing approving rays on him as the tent shone.
Gospel music star Bernice Ofei sang her popular ‘Life is so short’. It is a fearful song. An Ecclesiastical song. A song few can sing with confidence because it forces you to count the wasted days. This song is not a melody. It is a hammer.
‘Remember you creator while you have breath’, a haunting lyric in an era where people remember Mark Zuckerberg’s facebook first thing in the morning.
A boisterous moment arrived when Old Students of Accra Academy, Danny’ school, took their turn to read the tribute. But before that, they volunteered to sing the school anthem.
Suffice it to say, their effort showed little sign that Danny was indeed a gifted singer. Joy FM Programs Director Kofi Ansah described the gospel legend as a “massive addition” to heaven and it works out to also mean a massive subtraction from earth.
Danny had four albums to his name in 30 years in the music ministry. None of them were done in a hurry. None of them were probably VGMA recognised material. He often stressed that releasing songs should be about ‘quality not frequency’.
We found from her mother’s tribute that Danny fell in love with the piano at age six. Not even the destruction of the instrument by his late father could douse his passion for music.
He challenged a family prescription that as a brilliant science student, Danny was going to be a medical doctor – a tragic re-direction of destiny. Of course as a doctor, he would have saved lives. But he would not have saved souls – well not professionally.
And so when her mother mounted the podium to read her tribute she meant very word of it when she said ‘ Danny, I am here to lay you to rest…I am so proud that you choose music in obedience to God’.