Deputy Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, did not disappoint stakeholders in the Arts Industry when he appeared before the Appointments Committee in Parliament last Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
The former interim president of the Creative Art Council received the appraisal of creative art persons who have agreed to the fact, during his vetting proved excellent and eloquent in his way of answering queries.
The celebrated music producer in his confident state of mood provided solutions, suggestions and better outcomes which if implemented would move to the progress of the Creative Arts and Tourism Center.
He exhibited his insight and readiness to occupy the office of the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Art and Culture to help see the progress of entertainment matters in the country.
Responding to a question on how to grow young talents in various constituencies, Mark said there is a high degree of effort the artiste must make.
According to him, it is very difficult to identify young talents if they do not approach the right quarters or get into various music reality shows like the MTN Hitmaker, Mentor, among others.
Mark maintained that social media is a perfect channel for young talents to promote their crafts and get exposed to investors who may want to help them, other than that, it will be very difficult for even the established music producers to identify these talents in the constituencies.
“Talents, every day, every hour, you’ll discover talents – they are around us and there is a degree of efforts that the artiste or performer of talent must make. It is difficult to identify them if they do not approach the right quarters or get into some competition like the MTN Hitmaker, Mentor among others so these days, what they do is that you just must have your song, social media is relatively good to have your song promoted on it then one entrepreneur or investor finds you somewhere and help because, for the current discussion, it’ll even be difficult for the established producers to identify there are talents like that anywhere.”
Going forward, Mark promised as part of his mission when approved to find a more advanced strategy to get connected to these talents in order to help transform their talent to greater heights which will be of great revenue and expose the creative art sector to the highest score.
Need For All
Mark Okraku-Mantey was poised to react to the assertion of dancehall artiste Shatta Wale when he had registered his disappointment towards his appointment.
The Dancehall Artiste in a viral video had stood against Mark’s Deputy Ministerial appointment, registering that he (Mark) has been a key player for so many years and can equally be blamed for the stagnant growth of the sector.
In response, Mark said, “the creative space is an opinionated one and it is so because by the DNA of every creative person, you must be anti-status-quo and so most creative people cannot be gagged, they will definitely voice out when they have to.”
Mark, however, added that he will need everybody on board; therefore, he will assist his boss to engage even those who do not believe that he can do the work and together bring success to the table.
Highlife Will Never Die
Answering to a question posed by Asawase Member of Parliament, Muntaka Mubarak on what he would do to improve the seeming loss of Highlife in the current crop of music composed by the new generation of musicians.
Mark said, “We still enjoy highlife, we are still producing highlife but it is in a different form for the youth of today. It will be difficult for highlife to die, because most of the music we listen to today, even the dancehall, or other genres of music, they all have the rudiments of highlife.”
He continued, “If you listen to the 1970s Nana Ampadus, then it came to George Darko who changed it using burger beat, making it burger highlife. Then over time, we heard people like Charles Amoah also coming in with their type of Highlife, then Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Oheneba Kissi, then the Daasebere Gyamenas also came to change it.
“After that generation we got Ofori Amponsah. If you listen to all these rhythms, you will see that almost everyone comes with different rhythms. You will see that almost everyone comes with a different form of Highlife. So it will be difficult to have a particular type of highlife play for about 20 years.”
He, however, added that he has been a part of many projects, including the MTN Highlife Festival, to ensure the continued growth of the genre.
“Kuami Eugene is touted as championing Highlife but I’m sure some of you do not believe his kind of music is Highlife but it has evolved. King Promise, Wendy Shay, all do a different form of highlife. But to go back to our Dr K Gyasi, Nana Ampadu and George Darko’s, Mr Chairman, respectfully, ET Mensah will never come back” he added.
Tourist Site Improvement
Reacting to a question pertaining to the promotion of domestic tourism which the World Bank has assured Ghana of $40M to develop various tourist sites, Mark responded that he will assist his boss (Dr. Awal Alhassan) to see roads leading to the tourist sites fixed.
This, he said, will boost domestic tourism adding that, the Ministry is in talks with both internal and external investors who are interested in doing business in Ghana because of their participation in the ‘Year of Return’.
The Deputy Minister-Designate was accompanied by celebrities including Samini, Wendy Shay, and manager, Bullet, actress Akorfa Ajeani, Host of Peace FM’s Entertainment Review, Kwasi Aboagye and the boss of Roverman Productions, James Ebo Whyte.
Mark OkrakuMantey started music production in 1996 as the Chief Executive Officer of Slip Music.
He worked with artistes such as KojoAshakan, Felix Bell, Ohene Kissi, Lord Kenya, Daasebre Gyamena, Adane Best, Akyeame, Okuraseni Samuel, Bless,Kumi Guitar.
Others include Nana Yaw Asare, Jamson, KudjoSasu, and Nana Quame, Swazzy B. Joe Frazier, among others.
Mark’s love for the arts goes beyond just music. At a time, he was the Executive Producer of ‘Efiewura’, a comedy series that is aired on TV3.
He has also been involved in organizing some of the biggest events that the country has ever seen.
Source: Justice Walker Junior, Contributor