“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-raised boys influenced by everything around them. As they set about writing and recording, they decided to turn the album into a film. We’re very proud of the finished product, and we think international audiences will clamour over it for its originality, authenticity and organic nature. Being a musical, Coz Ov Moni is the first Ghanaian film of its type. It’s both heavily choreographed and spontaneous, and the whole story takes place from dawn to dark.”
As well as its lead performers, the movie also features a who’s who of contemporary Ghanaian musicians, with artists such as Reggie Rockstone, Samini, Lil Kryz, Macho Rapper, Tic Tol and Mosquito all involved in the project. The film, which went just over its initial budget of US$50,000, premiered at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and has also been screened in the U.S.A. Germany, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Liberia and elsewhere.