The long shot towards the end of video looks like a scene from one of those medieval Hollywood movies or better still, from the hit-TV series ”Game of Thrones’‘. The dark clouds, the beautiful yet haunting coastline; the isolated white castle with stained walls and the sea whose waves slap continuously against its bedrocks hold a lot of history and memories. The scene is as cinematic as it could get.
For renowned music producer Juls, choosing to shoot his latest video for ”Saa Ara’‘ at the Elmina Castle makes sense in two ways: the production on the song quintessentially reflect the richness of traditional Ghanaian highlife music; and the title of the song- ”Saa Ara”- also translate, from the hook ‘We are pushing ahead till the break of down’. This captures the spirit and resilience of our ancestors and today’s generation.
The BABS directed video is shot mainly in black-and-white, and carries scenes of the iconic landmark-Elmina Castle built and named by the Portuguese in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina Castle. The castle became a prominent slave holding point in the 1800s. The video also provides a snapshot of the courtyard, the canons and its iron balls, and scenes of some chambers within the castle. (It’s not surprising at all to see Juls sitting next to a canon, staring into the ocean before him in a contemplative mood. He has to make manifest his love for his favourite football club Arsenal).
Juls, Kwesi Arthur and Akan, exuding confidence in their traditional/street ware outfits walk through the various spaces in the castle; exhibiting both their reflective and buoyant spirits. The drone shots of the coastline with canoes anchored and the nearby fishing community with kids having a fun day is appealing to watch.
As someone who grew up partly in Elmina and visited the fishing harbor almost every weekend with my aunties, watching as Juls take a stroll around the place and scenes of large fishing pans and fishermen mending their nets is a nostalgia filling moment.
If there was a scene I’d have loved to see, it would be that of the gates to the Castle being opened for some of the kids shown in the video to troop into the courtyard just to further the historical narrative: the kids whose ancestors were captured and sold into bondage are claiming the castle as their own place for a new beginning. Perhaps, this idea was considered but never saw it come alive.
History. Tradition. People. Inspiration. These are the ethos of our being as Ghanaians. And Juls, through the lens of BABS captured it as they deemed fit in the visuals below: