Featured Artist: Kente – The Quintessence Of Gh. Reggae

Ghnewsnow Entertainment Desk  is proud to present to you the 20 sterling Ghana reggae and dancehall artists featuring on the Where Di Money Riddim.  These artists span the entire generational spectrum  of the  genre in Ghana right now.  From  Kente to Elis Koina, the Where Di Money project will unleash a barrage of experienced artists featuring alongside raw and new talent and here at Ghnewsnow,we  will bring them all to you ahead of the release. Today,we  shine the spotlight on KENTE.

Photo Courtesy: Kente

KENTE, aka Fred Dred, aka Rasta, aka Dred, or Fred van Dyck, grew up in Korle Gonna, Accra, near the beach. The sound of the ocean always called to him as a youth, and he often spent hours under the coconut trees on some abandoned or parked canoe, pondering the mysteries of life and generating melodies in his tender mind.

At the tender age of nine, he was a member of the local Methodist church choir. Young Fred was nicknamed The Gypsy Boy, after the choir performed a song by that name.

Throughout his childhood, Fred lived next door to an open air theatre called Sunny Side, where all the popular bands in Accra performed at one time or the other. So, watching from the rooftop of his home,the young lad was treated to all forms of popular music by bands like Boombaya, Bisa Goma, Avengers, Psychedelic Aliens, Black Beats, Sweet Beans, B Soyaya, King Bruce, Ramblers, E.T. Mensah and the Tempos Band, Wulomei, Dzadzeloi, etc.

At the age of ten, Fred had his first recording experience at Brother John’s at Mamprobi with the local Good News Club choir, with a song titled ‘I know the Lord’.

At Mfantsipim School, where he studied piano as a music student in his early years, he was a member of the school choir and the jazz club, but it was in sixth form in Achimota College that Fred bought a guitar and started strumming reggae tunes on it. There were a lot of young people interested in playing music at that time, because in those days live music was very popular, and almost every school had a few pop bands. Pop chains were the rave then.

Soon after finishing Achimota, Fred along with school mates David and Sabo, formed KENTE, the famous hard hitting afro reggae band that ruled the stage from the late eighties well into the nineties.

Photo Courtesy: Kente

KENTE’s early singles included ‘Pick I Up’, ‘Reasons’, ‘Juvenile Delinquent’, ‘Pretty Lady’ and ‘Thinking about You’. These songs, and especially ‘Juvenile Delinquent’, made the group very popular as they received a lot of airplay from DJs like Wendy Mammattah, Kofi Arjorlolo, Naa Ayele Ardeifio, Harold Seneyah, Sampson Quaine, Kofi Tsakpornu and others. The band also started playing at small venues in Accra, Tema, Winneba and Cape Coast. By 1993, when their debut album ‘Development Plan’ hit the airwaves, they were a seven-piece hardcore band that had already played at almost all the major festivals and events such as Multifest 89, PAFAM ‘90, Panafest ‘92, as well as in all the three Universities in Ghana at the time.

‘Development Plan’ encapsulated the KENTE philosophy of the need for African peoples to evolve their own sustainable development programmes that takes as its source of reference the history and culture of the people. ‘Development Plan’ resulted in a tour of the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta, Eastern, Central and Western regions of Ghana. Earlier on, the group had undertaken a tour of Benin and Nigeria. In 1995, the band released ‘Keep Moving’, the follow up album, in Germany, and toured all parts of that country that summer. They played at 23 venues and received wide media acclaim. ‘Keep Moving’ called on all conscious people of the world to come together in a universal one love order.

On return to Ghana, the band was reduced to four members, and established themselves as the regular band at the Ambergate Court, a club on Orgle Road in Accra. They soon had a large army of fans that followed them to every show.

Photo Courtesy: Kente

In 1997, KENTE released ‘Jah Way’ and followed it with a tour of the United Kingdom alongside the famous ‘Jah Shaka Sound System’. Five years earlier, Jah Shaka and Norman Grant of the Twinkle Brothers had visited Ghana during PANAFEST ’92, and had performed with KENTE on their tour.

The UK tour exposed KENTE to a more ‘roots’ and sophisticated sound, and the band had some changes in personnel during this period.

In 1999, the band was officially dissolved by the remaining members.

In 2004, Fred Dred assumed the stage name KENTE, and toured the United Kingdom again with a new set of musicians under the name KENTEBAND. Having relaunched his music career after a five year break, KENTE started putting together material for a new sound, a new direction in performance, and started experimenting with all sorts of rhythms and music styles as well as different musicians.

The outcome of this painstaking search for his musical identity is reflected in the recording of several new tracks as well as remakes of some old ones, and in a final recreation of the original KENTE concept, the fruit of the loom is finally out, and KENTE presents for you to taste and savour, the brand new album.

Fred’s other interests include reading, and his topics of interest range from ecclesiastical works to science and technology, law, archaeology, fiction, non fiction, science fiction, fantasy, Wikipedia, etc.

As a professional film maker, he has directed and edited a number of short films, documentaries, music videos, television commercials, television shows and events. Aside from writing scripts, Fred has acted in feature films, written film score, been a production assistant, and even co-directed a movie.

Photo Courtesy: Kente

KENTE represents the royal heritage of Ghana. Woven-with the finest silk- on traditional looms that beat out rhythms to intricate patterns, KENTE is the name that adorns Ghana’s most exciting musical group and performing act.

KENTE plays avant-garde reggae fused with the criss cross rhythms of Ghana. It is ultra modern – the KENTE music – and, like the band, the answer can be found in the Kente cloth itself. It is a very vibrant and dynamic kind of thing, and each little portion, each design, has a message, a proverb. KENTE music is for the people who have the need for conscious vibes.

“There is no limit to our audience”

KENTE is a Prime appearance on the WHERE DI MONEY RIDDIM


WATCH KENTE ON YOUTUBE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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