Recording Studio Complex, Kumasi

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Music has been recorded in Ghana since the 1940’s in buildings adapted by Europeans who came down to record once or twice a year till Ambassador records and Polygram records, in Kumasi and Accra respectively, were established in the late 1960’s. However both companies had to close down during the recession of the early 1980’s but are now planning on re-establishing themselves in the country. Most of the established recording studios and cassette processing plants are in the Accra - Tema Metropolitan area, whilst most groups are from the Akan speaking areas of the country. With studios in other areas of the country have domestic equipment, using part of their homes as studios and with the absence of any competition they tend to charge fees not commensurate with the facilities. There is therefore a need for other and more purpose designed recording studios and cassette processing plants in Ghana especially Kumasi. Kumasi is the second largest city and the most important Akan urban centre, with the Akans forming the most populous ethnic group with over 90 percent of local songs being in the .Akan language. Kuntasi is also the urban centre of a range of artistes such as Agya Koo Nimo and his Adadam Agofomnia, Yaw Agyeman Badu and the Saints, Sam Asare Bediako and Akwasi Ampofo Adjei and the Kumapin Royals Band etc. who all have to travel outside Kumasi to record. This facility of a recording complex help in achieving the aims of the proposed national cultural policy on the promotion and preservation of the art of Ghana, allowing the recording of traditional songs, dance, folks tales etc, for posterity. It will also make available to the public a varied range of music and music styles. The costs of booking studio time for recording in Ghana are approximately ¢30,000.00 for a day’s recording, with the most expensive studio (overdrive) charging ¢200,000.00. This compares favourably with the charges for a small studio (Abbey road) in Britain where the daily rate is £650. These figures exclude the travelling and day-to-day living costs. Some artistes - usually solo acts - do travel outside the country to record. This is done mainly for the equipment, studio space design and technical personnel available, but then most foreign studios lack the artistic personnel that may be required by the Ghanaian musician. With the interest of the West in “World Music”, contracted artistes of the APG label will be promoted outside the country, with their works being distributed by associate companies. The promotion of tourism and the quality of facilities to be provided would attract foreign artistes enabling them combine recording with a holiday, which would be made easier with the upgrading of the local Kumasi airport to international standards. The need for local artistes to travel outside the country to record will reduce, thereby saving foreign exchange. The economic returns will be further improved by the current enforcement of PNDC law 110. This law on copyright deals with the unauthorized duplication of printed and recorded material. The Abebe club included in the complex is intended to provide Kumasi with a venue for introducing new groups, performances to the public and for live recordings. Music videos which now form a major part of music promotions will also be produced primarily for Television stations. With the present awareness and search for our cultural heritage, especially by Africans abroad, the United Nations decade for cultural development; and the wish of individual to record for posterity their achievements, actions and generally the most memorable moments of their lives e.g. traditional marriages, funerals, launchings etc.; this complex will provide professional coverage and post production facilities for cultural and social events. The objective then is to design an accessible studio complex that will effectively promote our culture by enabling artistes produce material comparable to those produced in the “developed countries.”
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture, 1991