Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've Found My Love: 1960's Guitar Band Highlife of Ghana

John Storm Roberts' Original Music label released some fantastic, groundbreaking compilations of old African music from across the continent during the 1990s, so it's a shame that these CDs are now out of print and so difficult to find. I've Found My Love is, to me, one of the particularly special Original Music releases. Each one of these electric, guitar-band highlife tunes is more excellent than the last! Old-time greats like King Onyina and S.K. Oppong appear, along with other familiar names like Akompi, Akwaboa, and the Royal Brothers. If you enjoy this music check out Akom Ko (another similar compilation) over at Likembe, this one also featuring a few dance-band style tunes. 

Download I've Found My Love Here 

The liner notes included with I've Found My Love don't seem particularly well written in my opinion in terms of content and scope, but they're worth checking out for some general historical background on highlife if you'd like:

Also, I feel compelled to give brief mention of track eleven, Akompi's "Ose Obeko." This tune begins with a unique solo bass introduction that really strikes me each time I listen to it. Here, the bass (possibly an upright?) mimics the playing style of the Ashanti Atumpan drums (often referred to as "talking drums"). Played in pairs of two differently pitched drums, the Atumpan is used to express verbal phrases, proverbs, and appellations.  The experienced player is able to translate these speech patterns (many of which are set phrases) onto the Atumpan based upon the different tones of the Twi language (it should be noted that the Ga and Ewe do use the Atumpan as well in relation to their own languages). I think this example of Atumpan drumming translated onto a bass is rather remarkable, so I've included the track here for your listening:


  1. Thanks a lot for the journey back.


  2. Brilliant - I've been after this for ages and it's as good as I'd hoped - thanks very much! Great blog!

  3. Hello Osibisaba and welcome on "Blogs". I already linked you on Oro.
    Long life...

  4. the 2 frimpong songs in this compilation..."nkokowhedee mmienu" & "yeretete abetie" are both unmistakeably by Alhaji K. Frimpong...knowing that he started as a guitar band makes me admire him more for his versatility & steady rise through the ranks...