Duets with Ambolley: The World Ain’t Ready!
Every once in a while, something magical happens that shifts the course of your existence.
It’s rare that someone who does not bear the last name ‘Gyekye’ takes me by the hand and guides me into M.O.M. mode, but that’s what Gyedu-Blay Ambolley did last night. Like a newly dropped leaf floating wantonly on babbling, pebbled brook, I found myself flowing with the ebb and tide of the contents of Brah Blay’s most recent tweet.
Ambolley wants to drop an album with ME.
Well, those weren’t his words exactly, but that’s what I’m going to aspire to: an entire album of duets with the originator of rap/skat/and hip-life and hop.
Brah Blay and I are best friends (on Black Twitter, anyways), so when he didn’t tell me it was his birthday last week, I was crushed. I should have known this, since we’ve had a friendship that has blossomed over the course of 63 days since we began following each other on Twitter. I mean, 63 days is enough time to get to know the innermost secrets of someone for whom you share mutual respect, right? And yes, I am vehemently asserting that Gyedu-Blay Ambolley respects me and is equally interested in all the things that are of importance to me – chocolate and Chick Fil-A being chief among these. Why else would he suggest that we perform together?
I’m sure you don’t believe me. And why should you? It sounds rather dubious…like the idle primary school yobbing we’ve all engaged in – or at least witnessed – at some point.
“Ei! Me? My daddy owns Ghana Airways! We fly to London for free every long vac!” (Meanwhile, it’s only Kumasi the kid is traveling to ooo…)
“Oh. You – you think you be some hard guy eh? Me, my daddy owns a submarine!”
“You are a liar!”
“No. It’s true. We enter the sea every weekend!” (Meanwhile, it’s a common canoe at the Volta region that the kid is entering ooo…)
“As for me, I dropped an album with Ambolley.”
This stuns the group into silence. Why, that would make this child a super star! The gaggle of uniformed juveniles pounces on the girl who is unforgivably guilty of making up an over-the-top toli tale.
“You Malaka Gyekye? How can you do a song with Ambolley?”
“Album,” I reply.
“It’s true! He even told me to wear a yellow dress.”
I then describe the second greatest night of my musical life. (Nothing can top seeing Prince in concert for the first time.)
The year was 2013. Lycra was making a comeback, and I was wearing it in abundance. Everything had to be perfect for Gyedu-Blay Ambolley. I mean, it’s not every day that an icon of African music invites you to share the stage with him. It was an occasion that demanded opulence, pomp and circumstance. I squeezed into my yellow sequenced, tasseled, bedazzled dress, complete with a hat fashioned from yolk colored plumage. A glance in the mirror and a self-affirming nod of the head told me I was ready.
We were going to perform the album live at Alliance Francaise. Wanlov the Kubolor and Sister Derrrrrbie were there as well. I’d asked the siblings to join me for waakye in a leaf earlier in the day, but they’d shunned me. It was okay though. Because I was now Cinderella and I had entered the ballroom in all my glory. I was going to be dancing with the King tonight, and they would be mere g-dancers!
Brah Blay benevolently took my hand and brought me to the microphone.
“You look…interesting this evening,” he said, smiling behind a newly grown mustache.
“Thank you!” I yelled above the raucous sound of the band playing behind us.
The sound of my euphoric voice carried over the crowd which had gathered for the show.
“You’re welcome!” they shouted back.
Brah Blay nodded and said it was time. We were going to sing some of his greatest hits, but I don’t speak Fanti. He told me I could just do a head banger and shout out affirmations from the background.
“You mean like P-Diddy?” I queried.
This was too good to be true.
“Yeah!!!!” I growled enthusiastically. “Let’s do eht!”
Everything in my life had prepared me for this moment. A decade of listening to crunk during my self-imposed exile in Atlanta, summer vacations at Winneba, a year of eating nothing but gari and rice because that’s all we could afford…
I poured all my passion and pain into the vocals. I blended old school and new into a masterful, melodious piece. Brah Blah was dazed by this dexterous musical display.
Eh zimi rrra mi mi rarara…WHO-WHAT?!?!
I looked at my audience, who sat spellbound.
“What happened next?”
“Well…actually…it hasn’t come to pass yet. But it will! Time is linear as you know. I just have to wait for the fruit to bear.”
“There are some in physics who would refute that, you know.”
“That time is linear.”
“Whatever,” I sniff. “The point is that Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and I made a song, and I was wearing a yellow dress.”
“I thought you said it was an album…”
“Let’s keep our focus on what’s important, okay!?!?”
MOM Mode, mitches! Happy Friday.