News / Africa

    Young Entrepreneurs Search for Stars in Ghana

    The eighth in a series on Africa’s Rising Stars

    Crew and friends mug the camera at Celebrations, a club where Moonlight Café produces RSVP, smaller entertainment venue featuring new artists. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    Crew and friends mug the camera at Celebrations, a club where Moonlight Café produces RSVP, smaller entertainment venue featuring new artists. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    Kobby Koomson co-founded Moonlight Café to reach out to young underground artists and discover new talent in music, poetry and the spoken word. Koomson and his partner, Sydney Sam, believe that creativity must replace financial gains as the main driver of entertainment.

    “Our primary focus is to change the face of entertainment in Ghana and Africa in the medium term,” says Koomson, “because entertainment here has become more of a financial thing than for the sake of the art.

    Hear how two young businessmen discover a music model
    Hear how two young businessmen discover a music modeli
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    “People go into it because they have talent and they want to make money. It doesn’t come with the desire to do better than what is already there. There is less creativity.

    “So we are trying to bring back the feeling of creativity in entertainment.”

    Moonlight Café is born at the University of Ghana, Legon

    It all began three years ago when two college freshmen, Koomson and Sam decided to turn their love of music and poetry into a public show on their university campus. And with a shoestring budget they pulled out of their own pockets, Moonlight Café was born.

    Koomson describes he and his former college roommate, Sam, as lovers of music and poetry. “I used to sing a little when I was in high school and I used to dabble in poetry, too,” Koomson says.

    • A popular rapper, M’anifest, was named best rapper at the 2012 Ghana Music Awards. He sings for an enthusiastic crowd at Monlight Café event at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.
    • The Legon branch production crew posing with Moonlight Café Ghana founders Kobby Koomson (far left) and Sydney Scout Sam (second from left). (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    • Singer Vanessa performs at the Season 6 show in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    • A girl from the audience dances with emcee Titus at the Season 6 show at the University of Cape Coast in Cape Coast, which opened the group’s tour of Ghana.
    • Crew and audience mug the camera at Celebrations, one of several clubs where Moonlight Café produces RSVP, a smaller entertainment venue featuring new artists. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    • Eva sings at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi on the Season 6 tour. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    • Shim performs rhythm and blues and soul music at the Kumasi show sponsored by the production company Moonlight Café Ghana. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    • A rapt audience in the social science auditorium at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)
    • Singer Vanessa performing at the Season 6 show in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. (Courtesy Moonlight Cafe)

    One day they talked about getting start-up capital to do a show. Sam had some money to get them started. They talked about creating a platform for showcasing new talent that would be popular on college campuses.

    They registered Moonlight Café with the student club at their school. “We do it for the students as part of the student club, so we don’t need to go outside campus to get any permission. If we need we get it from the school authorities,” Koomson says, “we are good to go.”

    Quickly they recreated their model on two other Ghana college campuses and with teams of organizers on each campus they spread the word to audiences and potential new performers through social media and on public radio.

    Koomson and Sam had ambitions beyond their college campus and Moonlight Café was quick to be reproduced on two other campuses across the country. Through social media and public radio, teams of organizers reach out to far audiences and potential performers.

    “We have teams on every campus we operate on, so fundamentally the teams on campuses go around doing publicity for the artists who sign up.”

    Moonlight now looks for new stars

    “What we did in the first two years was to put on performers who are already known,” says Koomson. “Popular and famous artists who get people to come to the shows.

    “But this year, we have realized that the show itself has gotten to a point where it gets people to come either way, so we are dropping the whole concept of using star artists.”

    The new strategy is to focus on the upcoming artists so that we can build and develop their talent much better. Now they hold auditions for all of their new performers.

    “It’s really social media that help us reach them,” Koomson says. “From time to time we go on radio shows and they help us go on the air to get new artists.

    “And as long as the art is good and the talent is there.”

    The duo helps to create the branding for new artists and their shows to give them more exposure in the growing Ghana entertainment industry. Koomson and Sam want to change the face of the country’s entertainment industry.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.