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HIV/AIDS resurrects African showmaster

Review by: James Harry Obeng


GHANA’s success in chalking headway in her drive to slash the scary statistics and thus minimize the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS has become a predictable cliché. The eccentric statistics that put about 300,000 compatriots as living with the HIV epidemic coupled with the national prevalence of 1.9 per cent drum home the exigency for an effective all-embracing national sensitization tool to curb the epidemic since there is currently no scientifically tested cure except for the use of anti-retrovirals which, aside its cost, guarantees no other assurance than ameliorating the epidemic; not curing it.


The anti-HIV/AIDS drive that recognizes the epidemic as a socio-economic developmental challenge has awakened the creativity and ingenuity of sociologists, dramatists, writers and musicians. The challenge is so serious that the once-upon-a-time Showmaster of Africa, Bob Pinodo has had to come out of retirement.


The multiple award-winning Showmaster who has not seen active gigs since the late 1980s, after rocking Ghana with his Sonobete dance and music creations, decided from his Winneba base in the Central Region that the world hasn’t heard the last on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.


His latest work, released on both cassette tape and CD, is titled “Get involved HIV/AIDS Campaign” and is sponsored by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC). The album combines the dual elements of education and entertainment in raising awareness about the epidemic; that is edutainment.

The four-track album encompasses such tracks as “Enka ekyir se yebeben Yehowa”, “HIV/AIDS is real” and “Joe Boy” in addition to the lead track, “Get involved, HIV/AIDS campaign”.


In a blunt but  humane approach, Pinodo in track two (HIV/AIDS Is Real) takes a swipe at attempts from certain quarters, especially a cross-section of the youths, to adamantly mythodologize the menacing disease, elucidating his standpoint with the argument that present-day scientific authentications sourced via doctors and scientists were ample evidences to break the myth surrounding the menace.


Additionally, couched in a corrupt typical Nigeria – like Pidgin English, Track Three tells the story of an incorrigible young man named Joe Boy whose numerous extra-marital sexual engagements put his innocent wife at the risk of the infection. The development subsequently provokes Pinodo, brother to Joe Boy’s wife, to become very vocal in the marital affairs of the couple as a way of restoring to normalcy the frequent beatings visited upon the wife whenever the voices concern over the husband’s amorous flirtations with other women.


As he puts it “you dey beat am, you dey cheat am oo! AIDS  dey oo! It dey kill people,” Pinodo offers an exegesis on the causes of the epidemic, dissecting into factors like blood transfusion, needle and blade cuts, etc, but with emphasis on sexual intercourse, especially unprotected extra-marital sexual escapades, which is a common characteristic of Joe Boy.


But in track four which he sang in Fante, Pinodo turns attention to the gospel as a way of reaching people with his message against HIV/AIDS. He contends that the advent of HIV/AIDS was partly a result of the sheer disregard for the word of God by humanity, giving the assurance that it was never late to draw closer to God, to wit, “Enka ekyir se yebeben Yehowa.”


Meanwhile, the title track of the album, “Get involved HIV/AIDS Campaign” comes with no less a description than a power-packed exhortation that commensurate its name. In a jazz-like instrumentation, Bob Pinodo re-emphasises the fact that AIDS was claiming million lives globally and prevails an all Ghanaians to stage the bold and decisive step aboard the campaign to halt the spread of the disease in the country.


Without a shred of doubt, the album should find itself into every home in the country to aid in materializing the worthwhile campaign of curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Ghana.




September 19, 2008 - Posted by | Features, Reviews

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