Wiyaala, aka the “Young Lioness of Africa”, is the world’s sole creator and performer of Sissala Pop, a fusion of contemporary pop with cultural tradition and story-telling from the villages of the Upper West of Ghana.
Born in Wa, the capital town of the Upper West Region of Ghana, Wiyaala is the second of four sisters. Her mother was a chorister and her father a local government health official. Her childhood was spent in Funsi, a small West African village.
At an early age, Wiyaala attracted attention as an entertainer, dancer, artist and athlete, frequently organizing shows for the village chief and excelling as an aggressive midfielder in the Upper West Girls football team. After school, she gravitated to the music scene in Wa and featured on local recordings as a session singer, eventually saving enough money ($250) to record an album at Echo Soundz in Wa.
Seeking greater and more distant challenges, Wiyaala auditioned for reality shows in the capital city Accra. After four attempts, she achieved national recognition as a winner of the Vodafone Icons reality show in 2012.
In 2013, she began her solo career releasing an eponymous album “Wiyaala”in 2014. Her credits include features on BBC’s Global Beats, CNN’s African Voices, numerous awards and nominations including Most Promising Artist in Africa and The Revelation of The African Continent at The All Africa Music Awards (Afrima.org) 2014 and Best Female Vocal and Songwriter at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2015. Wiyaala has performed at African music festivals in The Hague, Calgary and Hamburg.
Visit www.wiyaala.com for more information.
Written and composed by Noella Wiyaala
Arranged by Melissa Van Der Spuy
Produced by Jurgen Von Wechmar at Sunset Recording Studios, Stellenbosch, South Africa
© 2015 Djimba World Records
The video is a Djimba World Production directed by Charlotte Appleton and shot on location in East Yorkshire and St Mary’s Abbey, York, courtesy of the Yorkshire Museums Trust.