Ghanaian-Canadian musican and songwriter, KAE SUN, has dropped an exclusive new track to ACCRA [dot] ALT. It’s a raw, live and energetic ode to one of Ghana’s most prolific poets, the late Kofi Awoonor. By remixing one of Awoonor’s works into a gentle yet probing acoustic melody, Kae Sun pours libation to keep the flame of the poet alive and burning.
We asked Kae Sun about what Kofi Awoonor represented to him as an artist. Why is it important to celebrate him? We also discussed how Kae Sun discovered Kofi Awoonor had been murdered (during the Westgate Mall mass killing in Nairobi in September 2013) and if he worries about similar insurgencies reaching Ghana.
Here’s what he had to say:
I did a project in school based on the Heinemann African Writers Series. This is where I first discovered his work. I read him often and took it to heart because he was such a mystic. He addressed the afterlife and ritual as well as post-colonial Africa.
It’s not only important to celebrate him, it’s our duty. Not just as Ghanaians or as Africans. This is in the realm of T.S Elliot or Walt Whitman or whatever in terms of the singularity of the work, the force of it.
I found out about his passing online, obviously very shocking. I just thought it was really unfair that he had to be there considering the irony he wrote about death, the whole ritual of it. Perhaps he foresaw this kind of random violence as some sort of African political ritual, a monster that needs to feed on its own, who knows…
I’m not so concerned about this kind of insurgency reaching Ghana. I think if anything is gonna happen in Ghana, the seeds have been sown already. It’ll be internal. We do it to ourselves.
When our tears are dry on the shore
and the fishermen carry their nets home
and the seagulls return to bird island
and the laughter of the children recedes at night
there shall still linger the communion we forged
the feast of oneness whose ritual we partook of
There shall still be the eternal gateman
who will close the cemetery doors
and send the late mourners away
It cannot be the music we heard that night
that still lingers in the chambers of memory
It is the new chorus of our forgotten comrades
and the halleluyahs of our second selves
What are your thoughts on the legacy of Kofi Awoonor and Kae Sun’s remix? Let us know in the Comments section.