My husband, Nii Sai, and I have a lot to be thankful for. When we took a leap of faith back in November 2011 to embark on this journey, we did not have a full picture of what was in store. Since then, we moved step by step believing that we are living our life’s mission, doing what we love, and have been prepared and equipped to do.

Going down memory lane in the past year brings a flurry of emotions, milestones, aha moments, and first experiences. I think back on the cold days in January when I was in London to record, careful to keep my voice intact in the midst of the biting cold. I am reminded of the waiting period following the recording as things were underway with mixing, mastering and album artwork design. I remember being in San Francisco on a beautiful but very cold Sunday with Nii Sai and my colleague Rucha Chitnis who offered to do a photo shoot for the album—the true meaning of “beauty is pain” was so real that day as I braced the cold with grace, smiles and style to make for a wonderful album cover and pictures for the RISE album launch.

What we felt when we heard the final version of the first of the 12 songs is unforgettable. I remember playing the song over and over, eager to share this beautiful work with the rest of the world. Waiting for the mixing and mastering to be done was eased by intensive promotion and planning for the official launch concert in California on May 20, 2012. The launch day eventually came and we had a successful event that we shared with about 500 amazing supporters at Cornerstone Fellowship, Livermore. Our dear friend and mentor Minister Danny Nettey came all the way from Ghana to lend his support, and it was such a fun and engaging evening filled with beautiful voices and sounds from the saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. Thanks to our amazing Music Director and Producer, Isaac Aryee, the music was heavenly.

We have been blown away by the incredible support we have received in the form of time, talent and treasure from friends and family— through our IndieGoGo campaign and direct support from several individuals, this vision to share the gift of inspirational music with others has blossomed. Along the way, my passion to support social justice through music has also blossomed and we find ourselves in a place where our next project will be focused on exactly this—A Music for Social Justice Album.

In June I performed at the Caribbean-American Heritage Organization’s Salute to Hollywood. We were then blessed with the opportunity to pay homage and tribute to where it all began with a launch in Ghana on July 21, 2012—the story of Rise was shared on several of the major radio stations and at various venues in Ghana. Back in California, we appeared in front of audiences at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco during an African Women’s Development Fund, USA event and at the African American Community Health Advisory Committee (AACHAC) conference in Burlingame, California. In September, I was featured in our local Tracy/Mountain House Press. By popular demand, we released “Emi Oko Orin”, a Yoruba (Nigeria) version of the song Mala Lala. In the coming weeks, you will be able to watch my first official music video, which we shot in Ghana over the summer. Check out www.youtube.com/maameafon for more updates.

We are proud and excited that the RISE ALBUM has graced various homes, halls, and venues and regaled a diverse audience, and for all this we give thanks. We find ourselves ending an eventful 2012 in the Midwest sharing the message of hope, perseverance, faith and love that resonates through the Rise Album with audiences in parts of Ohio and Illinois. We are honored to be able to pursue our dreams while raising our three young children and maintaining careers outside of music. We hope you have all been blessed and inspired in 2012, and look forward to our strengthened partnership and your continued support. Season’s Greetings.

Live. Love. Music!
Maame Afon and Nii Sai Sai