Music of Friday, 30 January 2015
Ghana’s Alabaster Box made the country proud for the third time in months, appearing for the first time at the London Acappella Festival 2015.
The group was the first gospel act and first African music group to appear on BBC World Focus on Africa TV in April 2014. It then went on to chalk another first as the first Ghanaian act at the Experience Lagos in December last year, in front of a 500,000 strong audience.
Returning to London for the second time since April, Alabaster Box was the only African act on this year’s London Acappella Festival, which took off January 28 and is due to finish January 31, 2015.
The festival, jointly organized by the Grammy Award-winning vocal group, The Swingles and Ikon Arts Management, is holding at the King’s Place and Cadogan Hall in London, and features renowned acappella groups from London and around the world.
The London Acappella Festival was incepted in 2009, running annually with sell-out performances, talks and workshops. With over 4500 visitors each year, the festival is now a staple in the acappella calendar and has grown to become one of the country’s most-loved and eagerly awaited celebrations of vocal talent.
Some of the main acts this year are hosts The Swingles, London’s pride the King’s Singers, Accent, and one of America’s best, Straight No Chaser. Others are Singapore’s MICappella, Finnish voices group, Club For Five, Irish group Anuma, Canada’s top young voices, Countermeasure, Apollo Five from England and another youth group, 9.5.
Alabaster Box made a maiden entry into the festival, but its unique Afroppella sound, characterized mainly by pure Ghanaian signature tunes, harmonies and rhythms, was enough to convince the London Acappella Festival organizers they did the right thing. And Alabaster Box did not disappoint.
The group opened its 20 minutes act with the evergreen Akwaaba song, which got all the audience moving to the sound. It then dropped its Ahunabobrim song in the royal adowa tune mesmerizing the audience into wondering if the group had a soundtrack on the background.
The title tract of its latest album, Level don’ Change in pidgin English would follow immediately, and then the 20 minute run ended on a familiar note, Amazing Grace, but spiced with the unique Alabaster Box Afroppella signature.
A wowed member of the festival organizers exclaimed “o my God you guys sound so good. What a loss it would have been if we did not have you guys on the show this year.”
She stated further “we can’t wait to have you again next year on a much bigger platform.”
The group had been in London since December 31, 2014 originally to participate in the one-week long Jericho Praise, organized by Power of Jehovah, a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in London.
At Jericho Praise, Alabaster Box ministered alongside one of the grand fathers of gospel music, Jamaica’s Lester Lewis of “Winner Man” and “I shall not die” fame. There were also Nigeria’s grandma of gospel music, Bola Areh and South Africa’s James Okun among others.
The group also ministered at the Trinity Baptist Church five-day worship conference with Sonnie Badu and at Jesus house and Revelation Christian Centre in Luton among other venues.
Da Box is due back home February 2, 2015.