Keen listeners to radio in the nation’s capital over the last fortnight or so, might have noticed heavy rotation of a jumpy, reggae-laced highlife track titled ‘Obuasi Ankaa’ by a United States-based Ghanaian musician called Nana Romeo, on some stations.
The song is the title track of his newly-released six-song collection which touches on a variety of themes and portrays Romeo as a formidable songwriter from whom much should be expected in the coming months and years.
The title track, Romeo says, was triggered by a series of romantic escapades, some of which left him broken-hearted. He, however, joyfully came across a lady he dearly loved, prompting him to aptly refer to her as his Obuasi Ankaa.
In Twi, Obuasi Ankaa means orange from Obuasi, a famous mining town in the Ashanti Region. Oranges from there are reputed to be the sweetest in the whole of Ghana. For a man to refer to a woman as his Obuasi Ankaa, therefore, denotes strong affection.
Nana Romeo brings on a vocal style that some ardent listeners of Ghanaian popular music might find somehow familiar. He conjures inflections that keen listeners to acts like Kojo Antwi, Kwaisey Pee and Nana Fynn could easily recognize but he pushes himself to also bring his own swing to the game.
“The thing about music everywhere, is to stand on the shoulders of others to survey new realms and reach out for your own groove. I’m familiar with the music of countless Ghanaian musicians and that’s why I have evolved something people can confidently point at and say it’s Nana Romeo’s approach,” says the singer who was born Romeo Obour Barwuah and hails from Agona Asamang in the Ashanti Region.
His initial ambition, when growing up, was to be in the military, just like his father. That dream didn’t materialize and his artistic persuasion led him to join the Daakye Drama Group with whom he appeared on stage and local television. He also played some minor roles in the popular ‘Taxi Driver’ television series.
His prime love, however, was for music and the desire to come out with his own songs landed him in an extremely uncomfortable situation after borrowing money to sponsor his debut recording project.
That incident almost made him turn completely away from music but love for the medium kept pulling at him. The ‘Obuasi Ankaa’ album is therefore how he has managed to redeem his craving for music after relocating to the United States some years back.
Other tracks on the album are ‘Bronya’, ‘Happy Birthday’ (Dancehall), ‘Happy Birthday’ (Highlife), ‘Owuo’ and ‘Obaatan.’
Though Romeo has been living abroad for a while now, it’s obvious through his lyrics that he still has his feet firmly planted on home soil. He has a gift for local wise sayings and proverbs which he has judiciously sprinkled over all the songs on the album.
That ability makes him appear as a cross-breed between the likes of highlife giants such as Nana Kwame Ampadu and the late Akwasi Ampofo Adjei who wielded discerning, sound lyrics and contemporary stars like Kojo Antwi and Okyeame Kwame who clothe their smart lyrics with catchy melodies for wide listenership.
Nana Romeo is obviously not a household name yet on the Ghanaian music scene but he has already put out pointers that he could be a force to reckon with pretty soon.
His music is available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Google play, Medianet, Amazon, Pandora, Tidal ,Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, Anghami, Kkbox, Napster, Saavn , Shazam, Iheartradio and Claromusica.