Everyone is calling himself dancehall king presently but I dare say if Terry had not died prematurely he would had been the true proponent of the genre. Terry Bonchaka, the man famed for his unique dance and weird sense of fashion, died on October 29, 2003 moments after he performed at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Shatta Wale fondly eulogised Bonchaka in one of his songs, calling him my ‘my master, the real puulele.’ This is not a mere compliment or a dirge. It’s deserved epitaph for the man whose input to raga and dancehall laid the foundation for the current crop of musicians.
Bonchaka was the epitome of talent and ingenuity. He was ruthless with his microphone and revolutionise stage craft in Ghana. Unfortunately death snatched him when we least expected.
So how would Bonchaka fare in today’s volatile dancehall terrain? Before I answer this question let’s look at what he exemplified during his time and how to place him in our modern context.
Bandana, now called Shatta Wale was active when Bonchaka was doing his raga and dancehall stuff. Samini (formerly Batman) was active and he and Wale were doing strictly hiplife songs. Perhaps this Bonchaka inspired the aforementioned artistes to try the rudiments of dancehall. Now both artistes are doing extremely well, banging multiple awards locally and internationally.
Notable faces that performed dancehall music were Root I, Yoggy Doggy, OD4 and one female called Ras Nigga. Bonchaka was peerless at the time albeit the short time that he sprung up as an artiste and the time he died. He was the toast of event organisers.
Bonchaka’s stage craft, (the energy with which he performs) his lyrical dexterity can still make him relevant today and be probably miles ahead of some of the artistes today.
Ghanaians seemed to have forgotten the Puulele man in a hurry and this write up is a glowing tribute to the man who added value to our entertainment industry.
In my estimation if Terry Bonchaka was still alive, he would have been the real dancehall king.