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Review: Avit – “Election Day” EP

Avit draws the veil back again on the raw deal that our politics offer on “Election Day”.

Avitiduen Abisa hails from the Upper East Region, specifically Wiaga. Music has always been around him growing up. Harnessing the various musical influences on which he grew up, Avit has successfully coupled them, and in his own way, built a musical canopy as heard on “Election Day“, his debut EP.

The title of the EP offers an interesting divide: first, it reflects the season we find ourselves as Ghanaians – the political election season is gathering steam as the major political parties are trying to court voters to their sides. Secondly, the EP ticks the box of love. But, it’s the socio-political anecdotes about life which Avit presents, through the medium of social commentary that forms the crux of “Election Day”.

Avit’s foray into music was accidental, at best. The Ashesi University graduate and former procurement practitioner found himself at the home of a friend whose cousin owned a studio. Wooed by a beat he heard, Avit would drop a hook and some verses over the beat.

That’s how his musical journey kicked off.

Tapping into his own experiences, Avit discusses the contrasting ‘dreads’ of being a 9-5 employee on “Vibe”, a mid-tempo dancehall leaning tune released as a single in June this year. Though the song is about catching a vibe, he wears his patriotic badge with pride: “Me, I’m gonna stay in my homeland/build up a very very big farmland/Focus more on feeding my nation“. Avit cuts through the theme of politics on “Promise Season”, a melodious and groovy tune that dissects the political gimmickry of politicians – enticing promises aimed at winning votes.

The horns, drums, and guitar licks, which sounds like live recorded chops are excellently woven into the programmed beats. Avit reminds us again “ebi the promise season/time to reason” before exposing the barrage of old political tricks those with power and influence often exhibit on political campaigns.

The glitz of “Election Day” is not down to its relatable and sharp- tongue styled lyrics alone. The production work by Kuvie on the EP is another high. The two – Avit and Kuvie – seemed to have found a ground where they each played to their individual strengths. The sequencing of the songs is another part of the EP that was handled expertly. “Election Day”, the track, like the previous record “Promise Season” carries a chill feel built on highlife stems. “When e comes to election day/I go ask you within you have for me/ Unless you show me”, a reminder to demand accountability from political stewards.

The political needle shifts on “Come Closer”, a love duet featuring singer Asi. Here, the trademark sound of Kuvie is fully exhibited. “Come Closer” has Avit and Asi expressing their feelings towards each other, one verse at a time. For Avit, his lover ‘gives me that feeling, that sexual healing’ (a nod to Marvin Gaye). Asi, shares her sentiments; her soothing and soulful voice spicing things up. While “Take a Lift” offers a nod to the goodness (medicinal properties) of weed, “Why Hate Me” is a rallying cry against racism.

Inspired by events in America with regards to the Black Lives Matter protests that engulfed the country following the choking to death of George Floyd, Avit decries the systemic abuse of blacks, interlacing his take with historical facts about the history of slavery, reparation, and more. The acoustic format used on “Why Hate Me” and its dense lyrics (“Then you treat our race like we’re the evil men”) brings into sharp focus Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.

Fitting six songs on “Election Day” EP is a good move because any more additions would have made the album a boring listen, the production notwithstanding. One can, however, query how “Come Closer” found a place on the EP. Perhaps, it’s his way of not getting placed in the box of ‘conscious’ artist, and also for the purposes of mainstream radio placement. Whatever the case may be, Avit has drawn the veil back again on the raw deal that our politics offer on “Election Day”.

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