Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Campaign Songs Mean Something


From Lucky Mensah’s “Yese Samu” to Shatta Wale’s “Mahama Paper”, political parties have used songs from artistes to send their political message across. Though “Mahama Paper” was just a song without any political intention, it has been ‘adopted’ by the ruling NDC party.

Many others are the songs used by political parties to campaign in hopes of ruling mother Ghana. The catchy phrases and choruses from these songs make it hard for anyone to ignore. Even children who do not understand the dynamics of politics or the purpose of these songs sing along whenever they are played, mispronouncing the words often.

Are these songs just to entertain electorates? No. They are campaign messages presented in an entertaining form to drive home the political party’s agenda.

In 2008, the NPP undoubtedly had the most popular campaign song composed and sang by Highlife Legend Daddy Lumba, titled “We are moving forward”. The song was played all over the country even at “non-political” places like drinking bars, chop bars and individual parties. The song till date is making waves. Surprisingly the NPP are now looking for change and not the “moving forward” of the sitting government but, the song is still played and never seems to fade with time. In recent times, NDC’s “John 3:16” is also making waves. John representing their Presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama. The 3 stands for the position of President John Mahama on the ballot paper for the 2016 elections. It has become evident that a lot of thought goes into these songs and the messages are carefully crafted.

To say these songs have no influence on political campaign is to commit a political sin. John 3:16 will be imprinted in the minds of NDC sympathisers when they go to cast their vote. No need to start looking for their Presidential candidate on the ballot paper. They have been told he is number 3 through the song. So that eradicates any chance of voting for any other candidate apart from the 3rd on the ballot.

For NPP’s “Yese samu” the message to electorates is clear, we are changing government. We want Nana Akufo-Addo to come to power. The song discredits the sitting government, explaining why change is important.

Music is one of the most powerful tools. It can definitely change the mind-set, emotions and feelings of the listener. The right song at the right place and time can cause a change. An inspirational song can lift the spirit of a sad person, listening to heart-breaking songs can slip a person into depression because it will bring to the listener sad memories. The right kind of song, with the right message at the right time can definitely bring about change.

Campaign songs are not to entertain, they are meant to influence and indeed they do influence. But as to how far that influence rakes in votes, only the ballot papers will decide.

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