REVIEW: With three different stages; Stonebwoy makes history with ‘Anloga Junction’ album virtual concert
When Africa’s most celebrated reggae, ragga & dancehall artiste, Stonebwoy emerged into the packed arena, wearing designed African apparel on his dreadlocks, for his four-set of performances, he told his legion of screaming fans that tonight is not about him: “Tonight is about African music. Tonight is about my critically acclaimed fourth career studio album – ANLOGA JUNCTION. We’re celebrating a project that has shaped perspectives and changed narratives since it debuted in 2020.”
At a sold-out Bayview Village, the triumphant tone was set early: darkness falls, a commanding poetic introduction was given and when it fades out, the music juggernaut reveals himself. On stage, it’s discernible and distinguishable that, Stonebwoy’s power and influence over other creatives in the Ghanaian music industry is actually a status he re-affirms with his magnetic performance.
Stonebwoy set the tone for the night with his first set of the song. Off his chart-topping and Billboard rated album, the mindful Maverick and fearless creator performed “African Idol”, “Everlasting”, “Critical” (featuring Nigeria’s Zlatan), “Only Love”, “Understand” (featuring Alicia Harley) “Black Madonna” (featuring East Africa’s Diamond Platnumz) which were passionately received the audience.
As Stonebwoy continued dishing out conscious music for a discerning mammoth crowd, intently focused yet exuberant, the audience was clearly enthralled by his matured looks, agile moves and especially, the deep, coarse, ferocious voice that had been missing live music since Ghana and the world at large was hit by the global pandemic, Coronavirus. “We shouldn’t limit music to party vibes only, but spread some consciousness and address some pertinent issues that Africa is going through,” says Stonebwoy as he ushered music lovers into the performance of Africa’s most-loved social song “Run Go”.
Other tracks from the album, including “Nominate” (featuring America’s superstar, Keri Hilson), “Le Gba Gbe”, “Strength & Hope”, “Bow Down”, “Motion” (featuring Jahmiel), were as enchanting as his introduction. Over 15 songs he mixes Afrobeats rhythms with influences that span R&B and reggae, Reggae & Dancehall, a blend that is making him one of the genre’s first global breakout star. Accompanied by his “BHIM BAND”, the gig has the feeling of a coronation of Ghana’s musical king. Elsewhere, the crowds sway as he croons the softer, more melodic offerings of “Tomorrow”
The special guest performer, the legendary highlife singer, Kojo Antwi, added gloss to the evening and show how highly he is regarded. Popularly known as Mr Music Man, Kojo Antwi marches out for a fervent delivery of “Nkuto” which is featured on the Anloga Junction album. He traded soothing lyrics over his smooth vocals with Stonebwoy.
Throughout the evening, a range of surprise appearances sent raptures through the crowd. Award-winning Ghanaian Afrobeats and RNB star, Efya, enthralled with her enviable collection of materials. DBlack, Dope Nation, Quamina MP, and rising female singer, Sefa, pulled a similar reception from the teeming music fanatics with their colossal hit singles while Medikal also tipped the atmosphere towards frenzy with his notable street anthems.
Aside from his supportive fanatics and fanbase, the event played a host to other notable Ghanaian celebrities, including Bola Ray (CEO of media conglomerate, EIB Network Group), Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor (Togolese international, and former Real Madrid and Arsenal footballer), Comedienne Afia Schwarzenegger, Socialite Moesha Boduong, Musician Hajia 4reall (Queen Mona), Grammy-nominee Rocky Dawuni, musician Yaa Pono, Cookie Tee etc.
With high energy and applause, Stonebwoy ended the show with his 2020 freestyle “Putuu” and a couple of freestyles, the enchanting drums leading the crowd into the sermon, topping a night that typifies both his and Reggae, Ragga & Dancehall and Afrobeats’ continued ascent into the mainstream.