In November of 2011 I did a piece I titled “GOOGLING AZONTO”. In that piece I said that “I typed the word A-Z-O-N-T-O into my Google search bar. The entire search results that jumped at me were from Ghana, of course. They included mainly news items, music videos and some useful material from Wikipedia.com”. Luckily that has not changed still. However events on the music scene have tried to change.
Wikipedia’s description of what is has not changed much as well. It says that “Azonto Dance is a form of dance which mainly involves movement of all the joints in your body in a rhythmic fashion taking very few steps if any. Just like most African dances, knee bending and hip movements are rudiments to dancing it. Movements in the dance include washing, driving, boxing, making-up et cetera. The dance evolved from the combination of a lot of local dance moves; some with names others without names such as the ‘waabon’ and ‘Yes-Cocoa’-from Cape Coast, Dabodabo from Tarkwa, Agbana from Accra, the stepping dance (walking in a resistive manner), the turn foot dance, etc.
The dance originated from the southern-most part of Ghana during the early parts of the 2000s. The dance has evolved with the fast pace dance culture of modern West Africa.
A closer observation of the various performers also reveals break dance moves being incorporated to it and the skinny jeans/tight shirts movement being adapted to it. Azonto, though a dance may also refer to a flirtatious/cheap girl.”
We should have this updated, I think. And when I say ‘we’, I mean an initiative from the very top level. We own Azonto and we should let the whole world know we do. Tha brings me to my Nigerian brothers and their clear desire to encroach on our territory.
P-Square have a song called ‘alingo’ with a dance obviously stolen from Azonto. Regardless of what I am told, I refuse to accept that ‘alingo’ is not an adulterated version of ‘azonto’. Samini has duly responded to them but the stature of P-Square means that if we don’t position ourselves well they will try push hard to claim what is not theirs. WizKid too has a song he has duly called ‘azonto’. I am not a fan of the young man but he does have a considerable following, and Chris Brown’s show-off with him on the ‘azonto’ track does not do us too much good in the ears of the listening world.
The size of Nigeria and the clout of its artistes can hurt us unless we collectively (with government at the helm) consolidate the worldwide affiliation of Azonto to Ghana. Flavour shamelessly stole the beat and lyrics of Wutah to create a hit. We need to own the azonto and all hands should be on deck for this, people.
As I said more than a year ago, I am thinking we just may be able to do with Azonto what Latin America has done with Salsa; what the Caribbean have done with dancehall; what our French-speaking African folks have done with Mapouka; what America did with break-dancing in the 1980s; when Michael Jackson turned the moonwalk into America’s dance; and the list goes on and on; what the English have with waltz.
I believe the nearly created Ministry of Creative Arts and Tourism and other relevant state agencies including our Embassies across the world should not let this opportunity slip away from us. We need to do something with the current craze and this should come from the top, I suggest. Yes, the individual artistes have put their creativity into this and some are duly earning the fame and wealth it is bringing to them. But there is a greater wealth Ghana can skim out of this by riding on their backs.