ACCES 2019 kicked off at Alliance Française Accra on 28 November with the Music In Africa Honorary Award presentation ceremony, which paid homage to Ghanaian music legends Bibie Brew and Ebo Taylor. The award is given out by the MIAF on an annual basis and recognises the outstanding contributions of notable musicians to their home country’s industry and that of Africa as a whole. Previous recipients include Baaba Maal (Senegal, 2017) and Eric Wainaina (Kenya, 2018).
After accepting his Honorary Award at this year’s ACCES, the 83-year-old Taylor went on to perform his evergreen classic ‘Love and Death’ alongside the Saltpond City Band and with the help of American academic, musician and conference speaker Mark LeVine (US).
Taylor’s short performance signalled the start of the conference’s showcases, with Yaa Yaa (Ghana), Kyekyeku & Ghanalogue Highlife (Ghana), Songhoy Blues (UK/Mali) and Arka’n (Togo) entertaining a glowing ACCES audience before bringing to a close a memorable opening night.
More showcases featuring musical acts from across the African continent and diaspora also took place on 29 and 30 November at the Gold Coast Hub and Alliance Française respectively. Other showcasing artists at ACCES 2019 included Gato Preto (Germany/Ghana/Mozambique), Lúcia de Carvalho (France/Angola), Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), Sibusile Xaba (South Africa), Bholoja (eSwatini), Santrofi (Ghana), FOKN Bois (Ghana), Cina Soul (Ghana) and FRA! (Ghana). Songhoy Blues, Gato Preto and Lúcia de Carvalho were presented at ACCES by Reeperbahn Festival International.