The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) recently launched Music Week Ghana. It is the first event of its kind in the country and will take place next month, from 17 to 21 October 2012. This creates a platform for artists to release new music, and for artistically inclined patrons to become immersed in the sounds of the country.
At the launch, Bessa Simons, Second Vice President of MUSIGA discussed some of the objectives of Music Week Ghana. One aim is to bring together industry players and policy makers. Considering the Minister of Information and a Deputy Minister of Tourism and a host of musical performers attended the launch event, it sounds as though the unification of these diverse groups is achievable.
The timing of Music Week Ghana may raise a few eyebrows, however. Though spring is a perfect time to release recordings created over the winter months, October sits just a few months before the upcoming presidential elections. With governmental involvement in the project, it may just be an opportune time to add in some campaign talk.
Music Week Ghana is not the only musical avenue for politicians to garner support, and promote voter education to the youth market. YFM, an Accra-based, youth-centred radio station has also launched a campaign aimed at involving young voters in political issues. ‘Rock with Da Vote’ has committed to providing a platform for discourse between listeners and political leaders.
Although Y 107.9 and their ‘Rock with Da Vote’ campaign appear to be a non-partisan arena, it is likely that political players will jump on board, to attract the youth vote for their party’s candidate.
Young voters and youth issues are fast becoming a topic on the election circuit. Hassan Ayariga of the People’s National Convention (PNC) has reportedly based his campaign around both his age and his ability to understand the needs of the Ghanaian youth.
It is a sign of the influence the younger, more culturally tuned electorate’s power over presidential campaigns – and this group should be informed and considered. Not only do voters under the age of 35 hold over a third of the votes in the country, they are also the ones most impacted by changes in policy going forward.
Interactive radio campaigns will be enticing for the youngest voters, especially those who are young enough to have been excluded from the 2008 presidential elections. The older side of the youth vote will enjoy the musical delights of the festival. The promise of a Ghana Music Hall of Fame springing from the foundations of Music Week Ghana may have just as much sway for the incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) as the educational achievements they have created.
It is tough to say where the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the NDC’s most fierce competitor will play in the musical competition for the youth vote, though they have clearly demonstrated urgency in communicating their policies to the youth market.
Regardless of the political outcome, one thing is certain: Accra residents and visitors of all ages can expect a musical feast in the run up to the December 7th elections.