In 2014, I stumbled upon a song unlike any I had heard at the time: “Why Are You Here,” by Osekre and the Lucky Bastards. The combination of horns, highlife sound, and energy like a punch in the gut was thrilling, and I immediately had to listen to it again, tweet about it, etc.
In the spring, the band came to Boston for its edition of the Aputumpu Music Festival, where I watched them and a diverse set of other bands. Later, I sat down to chat with the band’s lead singer, the musician, poet, and entrepreneur Osekre. In addition to creating two albums with his band, “No Turning Back From Here,” released in 2009, and the EP “Why Are You Here,” released in 2014, he’s also the founder of the Aputumpu Music Festival and the associated blog.
My notes from the conversation:
- how having a talent and being willing to share it with others can get you quite far
- the fascination of a certain subset of Ghanaians for Ivy League schools
- the ways that people can make surprising shows of generosity, yet you still have to ask or put yourself out there in order to be in a position to receive, which takes courage
- how you often feel like your creation is telling you what it wants to be
- how your attitude toward an art form can change over time
- physical proximity to other artists be an important influence on your work, despite internet-fueled location-independence
- the new often comes from mixing existing things in new ways and how outsiders are often in the best place to see those possibilities
- creating things for yourself can lead to things that help others, like a music festival (maybe all creation is ultimately selfish)
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