The “Nkonsonkonson” Concert

The Yale (yes, the university one) Club of Ghana had a concert yesterday, and I attended But before I did, I got stopped at the entrance to the theatre.

I had gone home from school earlier in the day, and so I didn’t enter with the rest of my school mates. I went later. And this is the part where we witness the irony of Ghanaian behaviour: There I was,, with my 10 cedes, all ready to pay. And then the man selling the tickets asked me where my student ID card was.

  1. My picture on that card is just slightly revolting so I wonder how it could even have been proved to be mine.
  2. The real issue is that I had led it at home, in my school bag.

And so this man bluntly said, “Then you can’t enter as a student,” in a thick and scratchy voice. This is where I got just a little bit irritated.

God bless my homeland. Why? Because twelve-year-olds get into clubs just by dressing skankily, even though the MOST they could do is appear fifteen. And here I am, a sixteen-year-old, standing here, stranded (my mum, who’d dropped me off, had just left AND didn’t have her phone on her) and being denied access. People tell me I look like I’m twelve to thirteen. But apparently, this wasn’t the deal for that ticket guy. He wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t appear to be a student, and so couldn’t be granted a student fee. My question: Do I look freaking twenty-one to you?

So I texted my friend Elizabeth to tell my hostel tutor from school to come out and get me. When she appeared and began to pay for my ticket ( and this is the part where I get EXTREMELY incredulous), he acted so shocked to see me still outside, despite the fact that he was the one who had, five minutes earlier, denied me access! He said, quasi-bewildered, “Ah! So you’ve still not gone inside?” And I replied, pointedly, “No, I haven’t.” The shameful hypocrisy. You’ve seen an adult and so you want to act blameless? Okay.

The concert itself was great, though. The Yale symphony orchestra performed with objects I didn’t even know were instruments! I would describe them, but I don’t even know what they were. All I could tell is that they are played by being shaken. Then there was the performance with pieces of wood. That was interesting. there were six people with one piece of wood each, and each piece produced a different pitch of sound than the others. That particular performance reminded me of music lessons in class 6, when we were made to either clap or strike the beat of written notes, producing unexpectedly organised music together.

The Yale Orchestra at the concert
The Yale Orchestra at the concert

The National Orchestra of Ghana performed. They stunned me. Have you ever heard Für Elise with an agbadza beat? They did that, complete with dancers in beads and cloth. They also did another classical song that I didn’t recognise, but of course, I was able to appreciate that ken-me-ken-ka adowa beat. I was just there,  listening, wondering how it was even possible. It was actually amazing.

Now I’m just wondering why there was a considerable number of white people in the orchestra. I suppose they could have been Ghanaian citizens, but it does seem so…odd. I know black Americans, black British and white South Africans are a normal thing, but white Ghanaians has never struck me as normal. Not that I’m discriminating.

Wait, wait, wait. THERE WAS THIS DRUMMER GUY FROM YALE WHO ACTUALLY TOOK MY BREATH AND HEART AWAY! He doesn’t know it and never will, but in my head, we’re totally married. His hands moved like wildfire. I didn’t even KNOW you could crescendo and diminuendo so well with a drum set. He worked those dynamics like they were freaking bred inside of him. Like what?!

Anyway, apparently, the President of Ghana had wanted to come but couldn’t make it, and sent some politician (minister of something-or-the-other) whose name I did not even hear, to come and represent him. (Who remembers Shatta Wale? LOL.) I remember not even half of what he said, mostly because he was just repeating MDG facts about disease and AIDS and re-stating all that the man who had come to speak before him (he was from Yale, and yes, he DID butcher the word “Nkonsonkonson”, making it sound a bit more like “Wisconsin, Wisconsin.”) All I remember is that this politician seemed to firmly believe that the “ch” in the word “orchestra” is meant to be pronounced as it looks.

Okay, I’m being mean.

The concert was fun. The music was great! And now I want a cello and a violin. And a husband who can play drums. That is all.

-Yours wishfully,

Ivana.

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