ARKA’N is a hard rock band based in Lomé-Togo who draw their inspiration from African tradition and wisdom. Rock Arka’n, the leader of collective, started out by sampling sounds and writing songs in his room in 2010, it took him a longer time to develop his art and decide which particular cause to champion before setting out to form his first Arka’n band in 2016 with a bunch of friends.
They split up somewhere along the line. With this unique ability to play hard rock in Africa, a new collective was formed with more zeal to awaken the world with their very own rock music brewed in the African pot.
A few weeks ago, the Arka’n band thrilled audiences at the Republic Bar and Grill in Accra- Ghana with their masterpieces, leaving the patrons in awe as they enjoyed the vibrations from the guitars, keyboard, percussions and drums played by the band.
We caught up with the band after their performance and this is what they had to say:
TRB: Why metal and rock music?
ARKA’N: The question is like asking me why am I black. (Laughs). This is because rock and metal is in my heart already-it’s not something I chose. The root of rock music is Africa. The feeling of metal and rock from Africa is like a war tool from our ancestors who were warriors, and they played this kind of music in their time for morale. Just like rock music from the west, has its root in “agbadza”(music and dance of the people of the Anlo ethnic group in the Volta region of Ghana and parts of Togo).
TRB: How is your music accepted-knowing Africans are not accustomed to rock music what has the reception been like?
ARKA’N: I think by promoting the songs and shows, people see what we do and also why we do it because we don’t just play, we tell them who we are and we tell them to come back to their African roots.
A lot of people now copy western lifestyles and forget the rich culture and values we have here in Africa. So in our songs we try to highlight those values. So as we play, people listen, accept and get used to it.
TRB: Talking about people copying the west, what role is your music playing in the decolonization process and bringing people’s minds home?
ARKA’N: Every time they listen to the message they say ah! That is true because mainstream music nowadays talks about just sex and entertainment, and we are used to it. So why not rather turn to the positive music that urges us to return to our roots, we can also get used to this message.
Eventually this will bring them back. It’s true we are very lost so when they listen they will come back home.
TRB: people discredit rock music saying it is devilish, evil and fetish? To what extent is this true and how can it debunk such claims?
ARKA’N: Rock music was originally created to rebel against authority. In the past authority resided mainly in the church and some actions they took did not go down well with some folks so they channel their grievances through metal and rock music. I believe they tag it ‘devilish’ to defame it, not because it is evil in anyway.
Now when people are rebellious to governments and unfair treatments worldwide, rock seems to be the appropriate medium to send their message across. It is not fetish as people say.
TRB: What is the meaning of Arka’n?
ARKA’N: Arka’n simply means “we talk about life to the world”, not only what you see and touch but the metaphysical. We go deeper in life and in the world because it’s hidden we call it Arka’n which means something hidden in French. So we reveal what is hidden in life and human nature.
TRB: Who makes up your new team and what keeps you together?
ARKA’N: First you must understand what you are doing and why you are doing it-you must be courageous and strong. The first line up was courageous but not strong but these guys understand why they are doing this and everybody puts themselves into it and not just playing for money. We have the can do spirit and teamwork keeps us going.
TRB: In the next few years, what should we expect from Arka’n?
ARKA’N: Expect to wowed with more of our music as we push our message all over the world for every race to relate with. We also hope to promote the rich cultural heritage of Africa.
TRB: Thank you for you time
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