TAWIAH on LOVE: The Cab Confessional

by Sionne Neely | photos by Mantse Aryeequaye + Abass Ismail for REDD Kat Pictures

TAWIAH on James Town Pier, Accra | photo by REDD Kat Pictures [Dec. 2012]

TAWIAH on James Town Pier, Accra | photo by REDD Kat Pictures [Dec. 2012]

According to Ghanaian singer/songwriter TAWIAH, love is a beautiful complicated thing. Like music, love is made up of vibrational frequencies that wield magic into real life.

Mere days after blowing away the audience at IND!E FUSE 2012 and winning her share of new and true fans, it’s clear the Londoner will have to make Ghana an annual trip because Accra city people love her. Tawiah’s hanging out with Mantse Aryeequaye + the REDD Kat Pictures crew shooting a video for “FACes.” This is the second single off FREEdom Drop – the digital album free and downloadable for the masses on Tuesday, April 30th.

We’re jumping all around town from Makola Market to Arts Centre to Agbogbloshie to Brekuso for the shoot. In between locations, Tawiah and I gab it out in the cab, vibing over Accra’s intense December summer sun and slow-moving holiday traffic.

Tawiah GRADE14- REDD KAT PICTURES

Compromise? What is compromising? Compromise for what? Compromise for what reason? To compromise – what is compromise? Hahahah! Stupid! You must think about that one again! [Eartha Kitt excerpt on the mixtape]

We speak a lot about love – on being a hopeless romantic steady traveling the road toward abundance. And we share a mutual love for Issa Rae’s web-addictive tomfoolery – “her raps are hilarious!” says Tawiah and Frank Ocean’s insanely classic Channel Orange.

Tawiah is, clearly, head over heels about making music. Even more so after carefully crafting FREEdom Drop [with producer Jodi Millner], her first full music offering since 2008’s EP, In Jodi’s Bedroom.

tawiah Grade7- REDD KAT PICTURES

love me/love me/love me/love me…i can see a sea lion. he swims to survive. you are like my ocean. i need solid ground. so fast like i’m drowning and i won’t make a sound. if no one can hear me then i was never around/never around/never around…                             [SEAlion]

Tawiah’s voice is exquisite, seamless even. She sounds like no one – she’s all her own. Her attention to detail – to fully texturing the sound – is revealed with a simple utterance. Tawiah could sing “scooby dooby doo” and it would still sound smooth.

Where is this place I have landed? I recognize who the face is but they don’t seem to know my name. Where is this place? Am I stranded? I recognize who the face is but they don’t seem to know mine. [FACes]

Tawiah Grade10- REDD KAT PICTURES 2012

The almost-30 minute sonic adventure of FREEdom Drop [also featuring a track with Muhsinah] is a mesmerizing maze of lights and shadows. A compelling soundtrack of a girl lost and a woman found.

This is Tawiah’s show and you are most welcome. You stand on the shore but get sucked in by the ebb and flow of the tide. It pulls you in feet first and before you know it you’re gulping for air. You breath in Tawiah through the speakers – this ghost in a soundsystem that divides and recombines herself together with bits of her past, present and future selves. You’re riding shotgun on a rhythmic rollercoaster on loop, up and down, back and forth, upside down now.

Far cry from the girl I used to be, growing up quite awkwardly….Starts to feel like rainclouds closing in. On my own with a million voices. Try to keep control never giving in but as my teardrop hits the ground. Let it all come pouring down. [TEARdrop]

tawiah Grade5-REDD KAT PICTURES-2012

She holds a mirror up and you see your reflection in this deep sea of revolving doors, trap closets and secret treasure rooms waiting to be discovered. It’s all full of lace and wonder, a rabbit-hole of possibility.

You bounce up after plunging the depth, peeking around beats and corners. You’re surrounded by hollowed out chants, sunny orchestras, dust cloud whispers, dark hallelujah guitars, got grown vocals, light calypso horns, colorful reverb, haunting rock riffs and upbeat offbeat claps.

This is the call and the response. It’s like fellow musician/producer Georgia Ann Muldrow so brilliantly muses, “you just have to sit on the edge of the universe and accept that you will be loved.”

*Read the full interview with TAWIAH here on making freedom music that pours down like pellets of love.

Under the sun…that’s where I’ll find you…Open your eyes… 

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