Akesse Brempong
The Awakening Live! – Alpha Edition
(release date: December 6, 2023)

By Robert M. Marovich

Known as “The Lion,” Akesse Brempong is an accomplished Ghanian worship artist, with five albums and a handful of single releases to his name. His latest, The Awakening Live! – Alpha Edition, is Praise & Worship with a distinctive combination of Afrobeats, Pentecostal energy, and a trace of reggae.

The lyrics and melody on The Awakening Live! are intentionally easy to learn and the P&W arrangements are atmospheric, with several of the seven tracks stretching out for six minutes or more. The lyrics emphasize the vertical praise characteristic of African and European gospel.

Appropriately, “Awake” opens the project. Using the text of Ephesians 5:14 (“awake from your slumber and Christ will shine over you”), the song gradually increases in intensity through its call-and-response vamp. The ensemble puts a rock steady beat to the shoulder-shaking “I.O.U. Love,” a paean to love with a heck of a hook.

The passionate and hypnotic ballad “Healing in Your Wings” (Malachi 4:2) includes a vocal feature from Isaiah Ofosu-Kwakye and stunning support from the background singers. “Jo” encourages worshippers to dance as David danced, and if the lyrics aren’t enough to start the holy shape-throwing, the rhythm section lays down funky Afrobeats. One can imagine the live audience rocking to the bouncy beat. The ensemble gives Psalm 24:7-9 a rhythmic lift on “Let the Gates Open,” with the rhythm section alternating between dance beats and a military march.

While most of the songs are in English, two are not. “Okrosa Nyame” (Triune God) and “Wo Na Wowo Tumi” (Power Belongs to You) are lovely ballads with majestic, hymn-like melodies. The latter evokes the work of South African gospel legend Rebecca Malope but with a smoother veneer. These two songs are the album’s most affecting, but the overall album will appeal to fans of P&W.

Four of Five Stars

Pick: “I.O.U. Love”

One Comment

  1. Kofi Oppong February 16, 2024 at 1:11 am - Reply

    Akesse is arguably one of the best music writers of our time. His lyrics always bring to light a such a massive combination of intellect, style and a relationship from a very deep place with God. The Awake Album is certainly a masterpiece that leaves no one behind! It’s difficult to pick a favourite!!

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Written by : Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.