We are truly blessed to have Afro Moses Ojah, multi award winning performer and musician living amongst us.
You’ve had quite an interesting background; tell us a bit about it …
I was born in Ashanti Mampong Aseim, in Ghana, West Africa. I was the fourth child born and the first to survive. Because of this, I was seen as a “Special Child” and grew up in the village of Ateiku. Here, I brought children together to preform, creating instruments out of waste from the garbage tip; I was always the leader.
I remember a time when I defied my parents and crept into the yard of an Australian Bauxite Mine, seniors staff compound, which was fenced in with a gate and lock. I wanted to play with the white kids who lived there. I was beaten by my parents, as they thought my father would lose his job there. This didn’t stop me!
Who has influenced your career and how?
My first musical influence came from my parents, where my mother would sing spiritual songs and my father would play the accordion to the local villagers. Later, when I was in school, I first heard Bob Marley’s song One Love on the radio, and it had a big effect on me. The song kept going around and around in my head. Also, watching James Brown on TV inspired me to copy his dance moves, which my friends in school loved – they nicknamed me the “African James Brown”. This is one of the things that got me into trouble at school, when the kids were late getting back to class.
Tell us a bit about the music you make and what an audience can expect?
From traditional to modern African music – Afrobeat, Reggae, with a bit of Salsa. It’s like a tree with its roots and branches, with a message of LOVE!
You’re a multi-instrumentalist and write and compose your own songs. Tell us about the process.
I use my spare time to learn new instruments, rather than sitting and thinking. This can put me into a kind of meditation. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but I never give up!
You’ve shared the stage with some iconic artists; who has been a highlight and why?
In 2006, I was invited on stage by Bob Marley’s Band with Peter Tosh’s bass player, to sing One Love with Junior Marvin (Bob Marley’s lead guitarist), at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney. This was the song I couldn’t get out of my head all those years ago.
Music is forever changing; what are some of the obstacles artists such as yourself face?
What I have learnt in life is when times change in the music world, you have to keep up and change with it. Also, if you change the way you think, your life will change for the better. When I was a small boy, I found a book in my grandfather’s room, by Dr Kwame Nkrumah (the first President to achieve Independence for his country, Ghana, from the British in 1957, in the whole of Africa), and on the first page it said, “The secret of life is to have no fear”. This is one of the messages I spread when performing.
This same President created the colours of the flag for Ghana after Independence. RED for the blood of the people, GOLD for the gold that was stolen from their land, GREEN for the evergreen forest, BLACK for the black people of the land.
Of course, it can be a struggle sometimes, but being a creative person I like to invent new things on stage. I’m not afraid of change! I remember, when I first came to perform in Australia for “Sydney Carnivally”, I was the first person to put guitar tuning pegs on the Kora (African Harp) instead of the wooden pegs. People thought this was very strange and disapproved. Now everyone is using them. I was also the first African musician to use a Looper machine in Europe and Australia.
You’ve won many awards for your contribution to the music industry. Is there one you are most proud of?
Yes, The Living Legend Award I received in 2012 at the African/Australian Awards night at the Opera House in Sydney.
Joining you on stage is your dynamic band, Moses Ojah. Tell us a bit about them and their talents?
I have formed many bands over the years, in Ghana, Denmark and now here. It is important to me to have diversity in music and culture. I like to share my knowledge of African music with young people studying music or people I see that have talent and potential.
Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline?
I’d like to set up a music school in the area and teach singing, kora playing, guitar, djembe and kalimba. I’m also setting up a foundation to raise funds to start a music school in Ghana, teaching street kids about music, nutrition and spirituality.
Where can we see your perform or find out more information about you and your music?
Find out more about my gigs coming up on
Interview: Bronwyn Davis.