The Time Out Accra hot list
Read on for our guide to the week's coolest events and most interesting venues. If you manage to tick off all ten, head back to our home page for daily updates on the best restaurants, cultural events, nightlife, and whatever else Accra manages to think up before our next Hot List is published on Monday.
Ghana's Musical Timeline
Highlife is one of the most important world music musical genres of the 20th century. PLUS: Spotify Playlist
The best live music venues
Ghanaian music is blowing up on the international stage. Some of the country's best-loved artists are now making waves far beyond West African shores. The country's trademark genre is highlife, which has its roots in pre-colonial times, but hiplife, an energetic hybrid of highlife, dancehall and hip hop, is a new pretender to the throne. Music is the lifeblood of Accra - no trip to the capital would be quite complete without a trip to one of these swinging live music venues.
Top albums by Ghanaian artists
Our pick of the essential Ghanaian albums
Celebrity songstress Jane Awindor a.k.a, Efya, has been Ghana’s belle of the ball since her debut in 2006. PLUS Spotify playlist
The best upcoming gigs in Accra
Reggae DJs play on Wednesday night near an open bar that is stocked with local and imported beers. There are occasional live bands, as well as acrobats and...
One2One Live Jazz at Movenpick hotel
Wind down your Thursday evening with a night of beautiful jazz and great company at the One2One bar, featuring a performance from Jazz legend, Toni in “Jazz...
Jazzy Tuesdays at Bread & Wine
Great Jazz and some of the best food in Accra all for unbelievable value!
The best places to party in Accra
Republic Bar & Grill
We’ll still keep recommending this bar as it remains one of the most happening bars in Accra right now, thanks to its relaxed, music-forward approach to the good things in life: alcohol, fried food and really great music. It’s a tiny space that tumbles out onto the street when things really kick off late on a Friday or Saturday. Album covers and black-and-white photos of music stars adorn the walls as Ghana’s best music blasts out (often jaw-dropping highlife music acts live on the terrace; check out the Facebook page and Twitter account for details – highlife legend Ebo Taylor has even played here). Even the cocktails use great ingredients not found anywhere else: the Republica is a caipirihna made from traditional palm wine. On a sunny day (and yes, it’s always sunny), try one of their ‘Wild Beers’: the Beer Sap has bissap concentrate added to it. Fittingly, the food is good beer fodder too – the cassava chips are a fabulous drinking accompaniment, while the Fire Go Burn You pepper soup and Ye Ye Goat curry are superb value for something this tasty.
Latest music interviews
The life and grimes of British-Ghanaian star Lethal Bizzle
Born to Ghanaian parents, UK grime/hip hop pioneer Lethal Bizzle talks to Time Out Accra about early memories, Ghanaian highlife and jollof rice...
Meet M.anifest – Ghana's hiplife ambassador
Time Out talks to the prolific Ghanaian rapper about his work, his influences and his high-profile collaborations He's collaborated with the likes of former Blur frontman, Damon Albarn (for his Rocket Juice & the Moon project) and Ghanaian highlife legend Ebo Taylor - rapper M.anifest talks to Time Out about his work, his influences and why he's moved back to Accra...We recently heard that you've moved back to Accra?It was never the plan to be away permanently. The plan was a simple one actually: get a college education and then return. As fate would have it I got caught up and carried away in my artistic journey. It's been a good ride in Minneapolis.How much influence has US culture had on your music?I would be a fool to deny that my decade-long experience in America hasn't had an effect on me. Being far from home comes with a lot of longing, nostalgia, retrospection and perspective on home and belonging. You have the choice of succumbing to another man's identity in a bid to be more accepted or to learn more about yourself and be stronger in who you are. I believe I chose the latter.Have you always wanted to be a rapper?I had a love for poetry and music at an early age. I went from singing along to my favorite hip-hop records to quietly penning my own rhymes. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could build a career out of it. Then hip-hop was localized through hiplife in Ghana and the gap closed. It took me till 2005 to lose my fear and embrace my calling. Who are your
Interview: Ebo Taylor
The modern buzz that continues to develop around Ghanaian music-makers is largely as a result of the scene’s more urgent, contemporary sounds – the part-spiky, part-smooth beats of hiplife being a case in point – so it’s refreshing to see some of the industry’s elder statesmen drawing plaudits too. Ebo Taylor was born in 1936, making him more than two decades older than the Ghanaian Republic itself, but he remains one of the country’s leading proponents of authentic highlife and Afrobeat. Just as pertinently, he’s currently enjoying one of the finest periods of his career. Despite a past that has seen him work with some of the most notable composers and musicians that the region has ever produced, it was only last year – months before his 75th birthday – that his first international solo album saw the light of day. Released in October 2010 on the well respected Strut label, Love and Death is a warm, groovy, deeply atmospheric record, the kind of listen that has you sensing the thrum of the city and the smoulder of West Africa from the moment it starts. We should have seen it coming. In recent years, Taylor’s influence has shown itself large enough to cross international boundaries – American megastar Usher used a sample from a Taylor song named Heaven on his track She Don’t Know, boosting the Ghanaian’s global profile (not to mention his bank account) in the process. Any suggestion that Taylor might have moved away from his roots to capture a more on-trend sound, however,
Interview: M3nsa and Wanlov the Kubolor
“It’s part comedy, part musical, part Jesus-is-coming, part-documentary, part Ghanaian food and part we-are-all-coming-together. It’s aimed at all human beings and a few flamingoes that keep both legs grounded all the time.” Confused? You should be. New Ghanaian film ‘Coz Ov Moni’ is billed as the first-ever pidgin musical (pidgin being the ‘broken English’ lingua franca of West Africa), and to say it’s overflowing with creative ideas is an understatement. Produced by pioneer Panji Anoff – the man largely responsible for the growing popularity of cutting-edge Ghanaian music – the film follows a day in the life of the FOKN Bois, aka M3nsa and Wanlov the Kubolor, two of the hiplife genre’s most celebrated modern exponents. The result is a high-paced 45-minute romp through Accra. The two protagonists wake up in their home shanty, shake down a debtor, eat out with their newfound cash, half-drown after attempting to attract girls, reminisce about their childhoods and end up stuck midway between a hospital theatre and a female-thronged nightclub dancefloor. Just an average day, then. Expressed entirely in music and rhyme, the film aimed to capture the exuberance, energy and rhythm of urban Africa – needless to say, it has succeeded. “It’s always a good time for satire, and the perfect time for this particular one,” says Anoff, whose label, Pidgen Music, helped fund the movie. “The FOKN Bois wanted to do a concept album about an ordinary day in the life of two young quirky Accra-r
The best nightlife in Accra
Accra's best cocktail bars
From the earthy cocktails at the Republic street bar, to the superlative Dirty Martini at urban Grill, drinking in this party town is always fun
Accra's best hotel bars
Far from being the dead spaces that many hotel bars are around the world, in Accra they are some of the most vibrant places to have a drink, or a quiet meeting. Here's where to find the best
Best bars to watch sport
The English Premier League is by far the biggest spectator sport in Ghana and it can be found shown in high end restaurants to local eateries – but this is where to go with atmosphere.
Accra's best music bars
There's a resurgence in live music in the capital. Here are the best places to find live music
Accra's best terrace and rooftop bars
If you want to party al fresco - here's where you go
Best bars for a party
Some bars are for relaxing in, some bars are for watching sport, these are for partying all night long in.