Ghanaian rapper and music producer E.L is on a mission to promote Afrobeats because he doesn’t want the genre to suffer the same fate as Azonto which he says was killed by Ghanaians.
He tells OkayAfrica.com, the music industry didn’t realize how powerful the dance was.
Azonto is a dance and music genre from Ghana. The dance is known to have originated from a traditional dance called Kpanlogo associated with the coastal towns in the country such as Chorkor, James Town.
“I think Ghanaians actually killed Azonto. Ghanaians killed Azonto because we didn’t know how powerful it was. Ghanaians had no idea. Azonto is a sound journal that has gone the furthest. Talk about highlife, talk about hip-life, Azonto music went the furthest in terms of music from Ghana,” explains the Kaa Bu Ame rapper.
“But, in my opinion, Ghana has destroyed it. Ghanaians didn’t give it the attention it deserved and Ghanaians shut it down. So, it’s basically non-existent, virtually non-existent right now. People do it, but it’s not given as much attention as it previously used to in its prime. It’s still there but it’s not as powerful as it used to be.”
He also spoke about what Afrobeats means to him: “Well, afrobeats was coined by the late, great Fela Kuti and the like. One thing about music is that it’s evolved a lot. It changes and different elements are ripped away and other elements are added to it and it’s evolved into something else but the name basically stays the same. It’s an invisible transformation most of the time and it’s grown into this sound that today we call afrobeats. And we accept it because we don’t know what else to call it. (Laughs) Some people have come up to give it a name by themselves because they realize that it’s metamorphasized to something totally different. But I think afrobeats is just a type of rhythm, first of all, and it originates mainly from West Africa. People have called it afropop, afro-fusion, different types of things, but still afrobeats.”
E.L is currently in the United States of America where he will be performing as a guest of Grammy winner Lauryn Hill on her Diaspora Calling! Festival To The Road tour.