With the absence of any football yesterday, the day was slow and I was in a restless mood. If I was feeling this way, I wondered what six weeks at a tournament would be doing to my Black Stars. Surely, with so much downtime, they would be bored stiff. But then late on in the evening, the video above hit my twitter feed. I have watched that video at least twenty times and will continue to watch it until our match. In fact, I think anytime I am feeling down, I will watch it. The players are singing Christian songs typically sung in churches across Ghana on Sundays and would be familiar to many Ghanaians. It is not unusual for many members of the Black Stars to openly give praise to God before and after a match. Clearly, the appreciation for these songs is not limited to the Christian players as even the muslims in the squad can be seen singing heartily.
But it got me thinking about music in general and how much it has played a part in this world cup. From the release and popularity of world cup songs, “waka waka,” and “waving flag” to less well known songs, it is obvious that music increasingly plays a big role in the marketing success of the competition. From the Ghanaian perspective, it is good for maintaining team spirit. So I scoured the internet and found a few songs that could make up the unofficial world cup track list.
Let’s start with the Brazilians. The Brazilians have always been a musical people and their national teams have become known as the “Samba Boys,” a likening of their improvisational, rhythmic way of playing to their music. Athletic shoe company Nike even capitalized on that aspect in their ads on the team. Here is one such enjoyable and playful ad. I also came across this funky song that is about Kaka, the Brazilian world cup star. It is in Portuguese and even though I don’t understand it I certainly get the countless references to Kaka. Don’t we all love our football heroes? Besides, it’s an uptempo song and who doesn’t like uptempo for a world cup song.
Speaking of uptempo song, who does not like Nana Boroo’s song “Aha ye de?” That song is “brutal (meaning enjoyable)” as some in Ghana would say. It has nothing to do with the Black Stars but I dare anyone to say it doesn’t express the mood in Ghana after a win. It probably expresses the mood now in anticipation of the match tomorrow. Watch the video below.
But back to my beloved Black Stars. Ghanaian artists have always had a love affair with the team and put into song their admiration for their team. From rap songs to highlife to hiplife, the songs just keep coming. Richy Pitch and M.anifest who performed in Paris at a pre-tournament gig organized by Puma for the African teams take you through the streets of Accra in explaining what it means to be a Black Star. The video is below. Look out for the pilolo reference, the image of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who named Ghana’s team and other references.
Also, UK-based rapper Sway released the song below as an appreciation for his fans. References to Gh massive confirm his Ghanaian roots. Check out the line, ‘football, running, boom.’ It was apparently Tony Yeboah’s response to the question, how did you score the goal? Also, check out Quincy Owusu Abeyie reference. He is in the current Black Stars team. This song is genius.”The only nation that can make a conversation out of phrases, ‘Ah, Ehe Oh, Aye!'” Check it out.
Wanlov the Kubolor and Mensa also have a song urging our boys to keep scoring more goals. And how could I argue with that?
A group of Ghanaian artists also have a song, Oseiye which speaks to Black Stars success. The All Stars features Samini, Obrafour who we interviewed here before the tournament began among others. Their video is below.
Puma has also used that Ghanaian spirit you see in the link above in a video promo of the Ghanaian team. Look out for Anthony Annan’s moves in that one.
There are tons of world cup songs out there and this list is by no means exhaustive. There are many many from other countries as well and I would love to see them. If there are any out there that deserve special mention, send them to me and they are an update away from making the blog.
If music be the food of life then play on. Play on we shall to crescendoes unimaginable if the Black Stars win tomorrow against Uruguay.