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Just like the last time I talked to Kojo Ansah, it’s immediately clear that he’s super jazzed – both about Renaissance at The Hamlet and kinda just in general. It’s dope. It’s best to put a little event description in his words, as a conversation between he and Tegan, the organiser.
“From what I remember, Tegan, who’s kinda spearheading this all, she was just basically like ‘we’re gonna try and throw an event there before it potentially goes’. So maybe fact check but that’s what I think I remember her saying when we first spoke. She’s like ‘yeah we’re just gonna put on a dope event with just art and music’ and I was like ‘yeah we can do that’. Especially anything Canberra, it’s just like ‘why not?’”
With there being so much going on – 31 total artists working on some form of presentation – it’s a bit difficult to work out how it’s all gonna fit in one space, given that The Hamlet’s not tiny but at the same time, not huge.
To be honest it’s a competition. It’s simply a competition.
“I’m kinda keen to see how they pull it off cos there’s a lot going on. I’m not sure if it’s gonna be everyone at the same time, like lots of different sections, or if it’s gonna be like here’s an artist doing their thing for x amount of time, then here’s some music, or maybe they’re gonna have people doing art while we play. Who knows”.
Who knows? Kojo and I do not.
Throughout the interview the concept of dependence/independence/interdependence kept coming up, particularly where The Hamlet was concerned, given that the businesses were their own self-governing concept that came together to make a greater whole.
“Individually they’re all their own business but because of the Hamlet they all come together and work interdependently to build that, and that’s just how it should be really. They all stand together on their own, but they stand stronger as the Hamlet space kinda thing”.
The businesses currently residing in The Hamlet notably included a popup for PUR, a concept store partly operated by Kojo’s younger brother and fellow artist Kofi Ansah/Genesis Owusu. Kojo was pretty amped about the work that The Hamlet had done to facilitate the growth of small business like this, saying “their little clothing brand that they were trying to develop has lowkey been actually developing since then and they’ve learned so much more about applying so much more business-wise because of it. That’s what I mean, the space offering a bunch of kids to come in and just like, put on their little space to fuel their dreams I guess, that’s super dope”.
Kojo and Kofi will, notably, be performing as the Ansah Brothers come the Renaissance event on March 2 (this Friday) in a performance Kojo describes as “the call of the Avengers”, in that they show up when they’re needed. The brothers coming together as one act is currently a rarity, considering they’re both embroiled in successful solo careers, but it seems to be a highlight when they do link up.
“Ansah Brothers is almost an escape from our individual stuff, both for him as Genesis and me as Citizen Kay it’s like, our ability, for me especially. Ansah Brothers allows me to be more of a rapper. To be honest it’s a competition. It’s simply a competition. He writes a dope verse and I’m like ‘damn. I gotta write a more fire verse’. We have this unspoken rule of no rewrites, either, so whoever writes the first verse just has to go in super hard and hope that the other one doesn’t outdo them.”
Their success as a group was really recognised last year with their receiving of the National Live Music Award for Best Live Act, which took Kojo aback given that their live show comes largely, if not entirely, from their 2015 EP ‘Polaroid’. They haven’t released anything since.
“That’s all it was, there’s no other intent behind it, apart from simply making music when we want to make music, there’s no pressure behind it – obviously there’s no pressure because we haven’t released anything else in five years. We’re not like ‘hey man we really need to get something out there, people are waiting’, like when the time comes we’ll do it”.
Kojo’s got this event earmarked as a time where he can let his hair down, put his rapper hat on and go all out. The NLMA was completely deserved, and their award-winning live show’s something not to be missed at the event.
RENAISSANCE takes over The Hamlet in Braddon on Friday March 2 from 6pm. Entry is free and it’s guaranteed to be a crazy time. Get amongst it.