True to his Twitter and Instagram handles, Gasmilla does indeed win. Although technically released in 2014, Gasmilla’s “Telemo” featuring Capaster is undoubtedly Ghana’s number-one hit song of 2015. It is getting radio play in every region of the country, and if you spend enough time outside, you may hear it 10 times in a 24-hour span. Also known as “the International Fisherman,” Gasmilla may not have the acclaim of other Ghanaian artists, but he is no stranger to hit songs and clearly has the ear of the people. “Telemo” is about burdens weighing you down whether in the literal sense of large packages balanced above you or life’s problems on your mind. The song has sparked a social media challenge, featuring celebrities and fans alike posting photos creatively balancing all types of things on their heads, inspired by the song’s accompanying dance.
Gasmilla’s follow-up to “Telemo” is a much larger undertaking. In August, the Ga festival, Homowo, takes place. Gasmilla has planned events coinciding with the festival on five consecutive Saturdays in August and September, with the intention to clean the beaches at Gamashie, Osu, Labodi, Teshie and Nungua. In his own words, “We’ll clean the beach together with my celebrity friends and in the evening we’ll have a jam to perform. I perform all over but I don’t get to perform for my people. This is me bringing entertainment back home.”
Gasmilla takes it beyond just entertainment, stating: “I believe that I stand for education, I believe that I stand for sanitation. I stand for my people. So at the end of the day if I see something wrong, it is my responsibility to effect change. It is my responsibility to make sure that they live a better life. I want my children’s children to come to this world and be like ‘Yo, our granddad made sure that the government gave awards to the fishermen. Our granddad made sure that our government did this for our people.’”
To help spread awareness, Gasmilla has gathered his All Stars, including producer Magnom, Ruff n Smooth, Wanlov, Adane Best, Lucky Mensah, Edem, Raquel, Dobble, Shilo and Flowking Stone, to create an anthem for the beach cleanup campaign titled “Falefale.” Acknowledging that he is a person first and musician second, Gasmilla uses his position, popularity and resources to better his community any way he can. The Homowo beach cleanups are just the latest example of musicians using their influence beyond radio play to better the lives of others here in Ghana.