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The Band FRA! Epic Concert

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Art is appealing to the eyes and ears when served on a canvas or melodious ‘plates’, but it is a different feeling, artistically orgasmic when you have to sit at the feet of the creator of the art and be fed from the kitchen.

The best of these creators would be incomplete without the moniker ‘The Band FRA!’ I came to know of this band after coming across one of their videos on TikTok a couple of months ago. It was one of their songs, “I Go Dey For You”, which featured Six Strings. I fell in love with it, shared it on my WhatsApp status, and shared others later on after grooving with the addictive vibe they carried.

On the announcement of their fifth concert through their Facebook page, I told myself I didn’t have to miss this. I didn’t miss it. The explosion that happened last Saturday, June 11th, at their fifth concert, Virtual Hub, was beyond my expectations. I didn’t expect anything less, but they exceeded the maximum.

The show began with a vibey opening act by Baka Dabri. A master of the strings, he satisfied the audience with this acoustic guitar, serving the audience his works, from “Busanga love”, “Ekiki Me”, “Magajiya”, and “Niema Nkitinkiti”.

The storyline of ‘Niema Nkitinkiti’ is one striking angle I admired. The lyrics touched on the need to be there for one another, show love and gratitude, and live life with a pure heart. Kyei Mensah took the baton and thrilled the audience with two songs: a cover of a popular local gospel song “KronKron” and “Just The Two Of Us” by Bill Withers. Kyei, with his acoustic guitar, did not only get the audience tuned to his angelic voice but also to the sense of humor he lifted during his time on stage. The Band Fra, key performers of the night, held fast the baton after Kyei Mensah.

The appearance of the members was catchy. The fashion sense of each person projected a different interpretation best known to them. The blend of white, black, and yellow depicted the purpose of the name ‘Fra’–a mixture of diversity. Indeed, it takes individual uniqueness to have such a strong ‘FRA-ternity’. The band opened fire with the first song, “Herebaba”.

The display of dexterity by George Ashirifie Gogoe on the bass guitar, Selorm Dornyoh on the lead guitar, Martin Adjartey on the keys, Joshua Virgen Boateng on the drums, and Ishmael kugblenu on percussions before the lead singer Chris Osele kicked in was electrifying.

The loud response from the elated audience spelled it out before the lead singer could even sing the song’s lyrics. They opened their turn of the show, beautifully playing “Konkonsa”, “Happy for you”, “I go dey for you”, “Obi agye wo girl”, “Smile” and a lot more. It was interesting to know the story behind my favorite, “I go dey for you.” As narrated by the bass guitarist, the band had a gig years back in Spain, but they got stranded after the organizer couldn’t be reached.

Frustrated on the streets of Spain, they entered an eatery, hoping they could find a meal to eat. A man, who thought they were refugees upon seeing the depressing look on the faces of the band members, asked them to come to his table. He engaged them, listened to their story, and took them home.

The man, together with his wife, fed and sheltered the band. On their arrival in Ghana, they reflected on the act of kindness expressed by this man, and wrote the song “I go dey for you”. The lyrics of the song resonate with a sense of brotherhood and kindness. The message couldn’t have been said any better, aside from through music.

The words are well-thought and carefully woven to send the message. It goes like this: “When you’re lost in confusion, Just remember I’m with you. I can be the pillow you can lay on The pillow you can lay on. And even when you are going crazy Call on me and I’ll be there Tighten your faith when you’re in sorrow Cos I go dey for you

[Chorus]

You be my body body oo (2x)

[Anytime you call]

I go dey for you

You be my body body oo (2x)

[Anytime you call]

I go dey for you

You be my body body oo (2x)

[Anytime you call]

I go dey for you

You be my body body oo (2x)

[Anytime you call]

I go dey for you

 

No be today wey we start dey roll

We’ve moved from friend zone you be my bro

We’ve seen this and that

Through highs and lows

You be my brother from another mother

I will always fight for you,

I’m who I am because of you

She’s still my wifey thanks to you

Thanks to you

When you fall I will pull you up

When you’re down I will cheer you up

You be my brother from another mother…”

The coordination of the band was top-notch. Each member’s involvement blended into the epic results that the ears and hearts could understand. The two guitarists had their fingers on the strings as though the guitar was a key part of their bodies. The flair with which they plucked the strings to give the respective tunes was amazing.

You could feel your heartstrings tuning themselves to the guitarists’. Talk of the drummer– marvelous. I have seen drummers, but this one probably has his prowess tied to his dreads, like Samson had his strength linked to his hair, absolutely pinned to the right timing and hits. Back to back, the cymbal didn’t escape the right hit.

The lead vocalist of the group is another spectacular singer. He sings like a restless bird whose hymn book has endless pages. The classic opening of each song and the clarity give it a better form of appreciating the lyrics. The keyboardist was hyper-active with the chords. He is a symbol of effortless dexterity. The percussionist played another integral part of the blend. He was one spice of the meal that can’t be taken out.

The audience was not left out of the show. The band demonstrated showmanship by making the audience feel as part of the family beyond the six members on stage. It was more than entertainment; it was a “Fra-mily affair with the kind of connection the band created with the audience. The random comic comments between the jiffy break enriched the mood beyond just music.

The freedom to dance was an open gate that nobody could shut on any audience that wanted to. Though the Hub didn’t have a huge occupancy, the audience went gaga when Marfo and Reynolds took turns after each other, to sing with the band. It can be revealed by the performance that a lot of work had gone into rehearsals to come up with such a collaboration.

Reynold’s tagline, “Oshobo!” was gingering like a magician readying some incantations. Same as “Thank you” tagline by Marfo. Chaley, they can sing! The stage setting was impressive, especially with the arrangement of instrumentalists on the stage, together with the kind of lighting. The connection between the audience and the band was satisfying as excellent coitus. The Band Fra is on a mission to break walls of creativity and build the footprints on the path of greatness.

The combination of genres and tunes from archives and contemporary music deserves applause. Knowing the record of the band and the caliber of astute musicians they have worked with, it stamps their excellence and undoubted prowess.

If there’s one word to describe The Band Fra, I wouldn’t get one but three “They aced it!”. They are @thebandfra on all social media handles.

© Eben Ace

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