Kumasi is a place after my pan-African heart. The second capital of Ghana, there’s something rustically magical about the ancient city.
Kumasi is at the heart of Ashanti country and the site of arguably West Africa’s largest cultural center – the palace of the Ashanti king. It is ancient, it is quiet, it is peaceful, yet Kumasi’s sizable student population serves as a disruptive influence from time to time.
Ghanaian-Nigerian superstar Mr. Eazi fell in love with Kumasi when he went to the city to study. He enrolled in university to study engineering and had great plans to use that ‘Engr.’ that’s now in front of his name. But Eazi’s career plans took a detour when he found success as a local music promoter and the rest, as they say, is history.
Singer Khandie’s route to a music career is taking a markedly different path, rather than going to university in Kumasi, the R&B singer is a proud Akokite, having finished from the University of Lagos in 2015. Now done with school, music is calling her name ever so strongly and just like the more famous singer with whom she shares a bi-national identity with, Khandie is answering.
On her new single “Emotions in Kumasi”, Khandie uses the perspective that being from 2 countries affords her and shares a Ghanaian love story with world. Trying to pick up the pieces of a relationship that was torn to shreds, the singer sounds broken and lovelorn as she reminisces on a lover, two flight-stops away from Lagos, who let her down. Khandie gave this man everything and got so little from him in return.
In my emotions in Kumasi
Jaded and so faded that I can’t see
Won’t you set me free?
It’s heartbreaking to hear the singer pour her heart out on an emotive sound bed of guitar strums and tender drum claps laid by producer Smokey Tunes but on the record, Khandie sounds determined to move on as well – perhaps she has realized that there’s no going back and she’s done too.
Interestingly, the song starts with a viral clip from a local encouraging visitors to make a stop to ‘peaceful’ Kumasi and ends with Khandie singing a few heartfelt lines in Twi as the beat fades; the beginning and end of “Emotions in Kumasi” add a nice local blend to an otherwise traditional R&B song. The way it was put together “Emotions in Kumasi” could double as, not only a love song, but also an open invite to anyone looking to explore the ancient city as a tourist.
Khandie Danso is an upcoming singer born to a Ghanaian father and Nigerian mum. The R&B/soul singer is currently based in Lagos where she’s gradually making her smooth voice heard, as well as turning heads with what the Nigerian half of her most recent forebears gave her. So far, she’s been making the right noises and making the right moves.
In December, 2016, Khandie won a competition at Rhythm Unplugged and got the chance to showcase her talent on the big stage. The singer has also lent her voice to a couple of noteworthy projects, including A-Q’s last album Rose on the record “Half Bread is Better than Puff Puff” and on rising femcee Phlow’s last solo single “Love It or Not”, which was released after a successful run of a 4-week music campaign titled #PhlowFriday.
Khandie confidently rode over Teck-Zilla’s dancehall-tinged production to deliver a solid chorus, showing that even though she leans heavily towards R&B and soul, she isn’t limited as an artist. She also provided proof of her abilities on another dancehall tune earlier on, this one’s a little more familiar – Drake’s “Controlla”. Listen to Khandie’s cover below:
Khandie nicknamed herself “Fire Gyal”, so we can expect more sounds influenced by the Islands from her. On her releases going forward though, it will also be interesting to see how her roots in Nigeria and Ghana helped to shape Khandie’s overall sound.
But how did we go from the sounds of Kingston, Jamaica to a love story in Kumasi, Ghana in a few months? The power of music. It’s still very early days for the singer but based on what she has shown so far, expect Khandie’s music to go even farther than the parts of the world where she’s found and lost love, and also been inspired by.