Once again Ghana’s Wiyaala proved she is a quality act with a rousing concert at The New World Passover Festival in Dimona, Israel. Significantly, she was backed by the award winning Ghanaian band Patch Bay who provided a perfect backdrop to the Upper West singer’s infectious energy and powerful vocals.
Fully dressed in white linen and with her trademark “yogiri yogiri” hairstyle, Wiyaala began with a new song, “When The Lord Get’s Us Ready”, which starts with a eerie chant and climaxes with an affirmation of God’s gifts with which men and women can positively impact the world. For more than an hour, her set included evergreen hits such as Tinambanyi, Sun & Moon, Africa, Dannu, Siiko and a cover of “So Real (in Jerusalem)”, a soul-funk classic, which had an ecstatic audience singing along as Wiyaala invited the children on stage to dance with her. Besides being a formidable singer and dancer, Wiyaala’s gift is her ability to bridge gender, race and generations of music lovers with her warmth and humorous banter.
As for Wiyaala, she says: “This is the first time I’ve been able to play with a Ghanaian band abroad thanks to sponsorship by the African Hebrew Israelite Community in Israel, whom I am so grateful to for their love and hospitality. Performing with a Ghanaian band, like Patchbay, gives the show real authenticity and creates a vibe that can promote Ghana on the biggest international stages around the world.”
The New World Passover is an annual festival celebrated every May by the African Hebrew Israelite Community in Dimona, Israel. The festival commemorates their group leaving America, where they felt captive in the 1960s, and their arrival on the shores of Israel. The festival began 40 years ago when their leader Ben Ammi Ben Israel led them first to Africa and then to the shores of Israel where they arrived in May 1968. They celebrate both the ancient Passover, which happened last month, to honour their past and ancestors, as well as the New Passover to honour their own triumphs. The celebration happens every May, over a two day period, in which family members join invited guests to celebrate, pray, eat, and dance. Guests from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the United States descend upon the Negev for the two-day celebration.