Most parts of Africa’s history has been somewhat buried in the sands of time, mainly due to poor curation and documentation. Does Africa have enough custodians of their history, traditions and art?
People of the New Age Africa are starting to ask questions about the value of art, it’s role in shaping our identity and what it means to be African.
Art is mostly viewed as a luxury by most of the African populace but it shouldn’t be so. It ought to be seen as a transformation tool, as a platform that can enable national building. Art can play a really significant role in creating a more inclusive African society.
Music is an art form that highly influences other art forms from fashion to travel and in turn gets influencedd by these other forms of art. African music has been gaining tremendous grounds with certain acts (you know them) receiving recognition for their sound.
The African sound is on a rise and we need custodians and gatekeepers to help it on its way.
Harmattan Rain is a platform originating from Ghana, that curates independent/ alternative music and art by Africans. Harmattan Rain is an oxymoron that juxtaposes the ideology of art and creativity and is also a homonym for author Ayesha Harruna Attah book. A platform mostly devoted to musical art forms. Harmattan Rain (HR) offers exposure to new talent, revealing eclectic sounds, hidden gems and aural pleasures out of africa to music and art lovers.
HR shares your music on their platform and social media, with followers from different locations such as Ghana, Lagos, US, UK who range from A & R’s, Dj’s, Record labels, International acts, industry players and art lovers. HR’s network of industry influencers who are always listening and watching, have access to awesome music and artists.
For Harmattan Rain, social media outlets such as twitter, instagram not only gives us knowledge of new music but also gives us insights into who is creating what, and why ━ Benewaa Boateng, Lead Curator and editor at Harmattan Rain.
Based in Accra, Ghana, Harmattan Rain (HR) intends to be part of the force that helps push the African music scene to the heights it can attain. HR foresees a future where African artists don’t have to compromise on their art to be commercially viable and also receive the rewards they deserve.
HR puts up only good music and promotes only good music. Nothing awful goes on Rain.
HR also has a segment on their site dedicated to the business side of the music industry named “Business of music”, which gives information to artists on how they can better push their music, get events to perform in and be cost effective in the production of their craft.
Over the next few years, there’s an expected growth concerning Africa’s music scene, with Nigeria spearheading this bullish trend. The continent’s music industry is starting to permeate the global pop culture and in a not too distant future, it will become one of its pillars.
Monetization of the African music is rising and alongside it are budding global distribution channels. Even the behemoth music labels are entering the fray, seeking a piece of cake.
There’s a transformational narrative ongoing in the African continent with African arts being part of force behind this. Africa is becoming the world’s new consumer market whilst rising as a global influence. While there are still questions about the African music infrastructure, there’s more evidence of a structure growth in the music industry today. A sound structure enables protection of artist’s works and in turn more income for these artists and the industry in general. There needs to be monitoring of all platforms: radio, record stores, online and mobile phones. From there, structures for monetising and royalties are needed so artists can make more money. These things take time and will require legal help from governments
Harmattan Rain’s pitch is, there are more exciting sounds and vibes to the African music scene than what everybody is into today, that needs to be showcased. We Africans are so diverse in our culture and it resonates in our music, our art and needs to become more evident in our identities. Harmattan rain being an online entity gives it a lot of leverage to continually dip its hands more, into the african music jar. As curators of the arts, they can help fulfill their vision by gaining more traction.
Curation is king, but the curators are being nudged out of making the money.
Harmattan Rain’s curation service is of enormous value to the African music chain. Then how do they get reward for their value to enable them do more work?
HR needs to tap into the potential to sell artist merchandise. While curating the artist’s work is outstanding they need to go beyond that and inspire a sale of these works. There’s also the need to up the ability to build a larger audience of listeners and seed new sounds to them. HR has to spread its tentacles to obscure places in Africa to find more distinct sounds.
Although there’s no verified business model for curation of music by online platforms except the usual ad system and the harrowing experience of collecting money from some of these artistes to put up their music on the platform. Neither is there an easy approach for uncomplicated (and crucially, transparent) sponsorship by brands either.
Harmattan rain can be an A & R for the A & R’s and even the music labels, especially the ones streaming into Africa looking to have a stake in the industry. The usual in-house A & R’s and curators for musial companies and entities are paid salaries as reward for their value, but consulting for these companies would bring in more rewards than HR is currently getting.
Creating events/shows for the sake of promoting new sounds and vibes would also be a rich avenue for getting reward for value too. These events need to be packaged well and proposed to the right people.
Even though there’s an argument that many of the best curators do it for love, not money, still because of the unsustainability of this model, there’s a need for this discussion to take HR in a better and more viable direction.