Asabaako Music Festival in Ghana

Sometimes last minute trips are the most amazing ones. Asabaako Music Festival is one of Ghana’s biggest music festivals, highlighting local musicians Busua beach every March. After much deliberation, my friends and I finally decided to attend the Asabaako Music Festival – at midnight. However, we needed to figure out how to get from Accra, Ghana’s capital, to the other side of the country in the Western Region. It can sometimes be difficult to book lodging in Ghana online, because there isn’t always a clear website or active phone number available to inquire about lodging. Knowing this about Ghana, we planned to figure out lodging upon arrival – not realizing how crowded Asabaako made the town. A friend helped us figure out where to catch the bus and we were ready to go the next morning.

We went to the Kaneshie Market in Accra to take a VIP bus, similar to a Greyhound in the states. The 6 hr journey to Accra cost us 22 Ghc or roughly 5.50 USD, not bad for an A/C bus with comfortable seats. I could have done without the 3 hr church sermon courtesy of a zealous preacher – but that’s Ghana. We finally reached Takoradi after a few additional hours of traffic and took a cab to Busua beach through the pitch-dark dirt roads.

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My friends and I were exhausted, but we still had to find a place to stay. The festival already started and the town was quickly filling up with tourists, so it was our first priority. Like door-to-door saleswomen we knocked on every hotel door, until we found a cozy hotel on the beach for the four of us to stay for 15 cedi person or 3.75 USD. We settled ourselves in our room and just before midnight had our first toast on the beach to celebrate the long weekend ahead.

Beach Fun
Crystal clear water, white sands, and shady palms– chale, Busua had it all. I was prepared with all my beach essentials to enjoy the sunshine. Books and brunch on a hammock, I read Toni Morrison’s Beloved and sipped on coconut water all morning. The lobster was so fresh, seasoned by the ocean, and grilled to perfection. The rest of the day was a sports day at the beach. I learned how to drive a jet-ski, very loose interpretation of driving – mostly crashing into waves and capsizing, but that’s another story. After drying off, I schooled some boys on how girls do NOT play volleyball, but dominate. It was fun to meet new people, who all came to this remote beach village to enjoy the festival.

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Later, a group of percussionists started a rumba in the sand and I could hear Latin America in the rhythm. The beat of the drum was familiar and reminded me of home, a world away in a small Ghanaian beach town. It continues to fascinate me the pieces of culture from West Africa that persisted such an arduous history. It’s humbling to find your roots and feel reconnected to your own heritage in another country. New friends and old shared a chupito and danced in the hot sand for hours, laughing and learning new steps. See link to my Instagram, where I posted a clip of the drumming -> Busua Drums

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Performances
On Saturday night, Ghanaian rapper M.anifest brought the house down with a mix of hip-hop and afrobeats. It took a while before M.anifest came on, but he crowd was ecstatic when he took to the stage and began his set. Even at 4am after a long day at the beach, we are all dancing into the morning. I loved the energy of M.anifest’s show and how his music resonated with the crowd. He seemed humbled by the crowd of his fans that sang every word throughout the entire set. I linked one of my favorite M.anifest songs here -> M.anifest – Forget Dem

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The following evening was the infamous jungle party head-lined by rapper Yaa Pono. The stars peeked through the palm tree canopy and shined bright. The brand I worked with was very close with Yaa Pono’s team, so my friends and I managed to arrive to the party in his entourage. Just before he started performing, Yaa Pono’s crew pushed us through and soon enough we were behind the stage. It was an amazing atmosphere, to be in the jungle with good music and people. Here’s the music video for Yaa Pono song that he performed at the show -> Yaa Pono – Gbee Naabu

Asabaako was my favorite trip in Ghana and I hope to see other Travel Latinas there next year!

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