Belarus is one of the few countries across the world that Ghanaians can go to without a visa. In fact you only get to have a visa upon your arrival at their airport for a small fee. With a rich culture and respect for the art, the country can boast of lovely people with a population of 1.9Million.
An Eastern European country with a rich traditional folk and religious music just like Ghana but with a key interest in spreading their type of music. The countries folk music tradition goes as far back as the 20th Century during the days of Grand Duchy of Lithuania even though the soviets control somewhat limited musical development because it was considered subversive and dangerous to the authority of the Soviet. Belarus and his people continued to spread its traditional music across countries like Russia, United States, Ukraine, Latvia, Canada and Kazakhstan.
Most people in Belarus can play at least one musical instrument a lesson Ghana can really learn with the increase of interest among the youth when it comes to music. Music in Belarus today can boast of a mixture of styles and influences with Classical music performances still having big audiences. The Presidential Orchestra of the Republic of Belarus, National Concert Orchestra of Belarus led by Mikhail Finberg, Syabry band and the Chisty Golos Vocal Band among some notable classical bands.
Music festivals are very popular in Belarus with state sponsored Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, an annual pop and folk music festival. “Bassovisca’ the biggest festival of Belarusian rock music organized by the Belarusian Union of Students (BUS) in Poland, Grodek northeastern a small town. So having a state sponsored music festivals is possible in Ghana if only we are ready to promote our folk music.
In 2002, Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree requiring 50% of all FM broadcast music to be Belarusian in Origin, a step Ghana has been struggling with for years to take. And since 1st January, 2005 the rule was even made stricter (75% of music broadcast each day must be Belarusian).
Modern pop music is increasingly popular in Belarus with an enthusiastic participation in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2004. Meet kesinia Degelko aka ‘The Nicki Minaj of Belarus’ a 13year old Belarusian schoolgirl from Oktyabrsky, who is trending on twitter with her song ‘I’m from a Village.’ While she may have a rap skill going for her, she has also got a well cut out subject matter going for her. In interview she once said music is just a hobby, that she doesn’t have any formal training in music and not so a big fan of hip pop. Going through the lyrics of the song I came across words like these:
“I care about what will happen to my Homeland.
I’m ready to support my country in anything
And glorify my country with my work.”
The Big question here is, Are we ready to do same as Ghanaians?