Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunsum Band - "Emmaa Bekum Mmarima" & Live Performance Footage


Here we have an album from the Sunsum Band. Formed in 1981, this group was a collaboration between guitarist Smart Nkansah (right, of Sweet Talks fame) and the tremendous singer Agyaaku (left), who achieved notoriety singing with Yamoah's Band. Nkansah left the Sweet Talks in 1976 to form the short lived Black Hustlers Band with Agyaaku, and it is this group which eventually evolved into the Sunsum Band.

I consider Sunsum Band within a category that includes similar musicians like Jewel Ackah, Amakye Dede and Pozo Hayes, artists I would describe as "transitional." I am interested in this genre of transitional highlife, straddling the old and the new through the '80s and '90s. Artists of this generation received their musical training from the "old masters" of highlife (Nkansah & Agyaaku started out with Yamoah, Dede with the Kumapim Royals, and Jewel Ackah was a pupil of Ebo Taylor and C.K. Mann).

Yet these musicians came into their own and began their own solo careers when foreign influences like disco music and synthesizers were the coolest things on the planet. So, I think this style of transitional highlife interestingly combines the synth-driven disco sound with the character and musical elements of classic highlife. To me, this is what is so appealing and unique about the Sunsum Band's highlife/disco sound.



Here I've also included some great old footage of the Sunsum Band performing "Susuka" at the famed Tip-Toe Gardens night club, taken from the rather hard-to-find documentary Africa Come Back in the "Repercussions" series. We have Smart Nkansah here on lead vocals, backed by Agyaaku and Becky B (who is featured on the "Odo (Love)" album). It's a treat to see these guys in action, so I consider this type of performance footage to be a real treasure.

Also, be sure to check out the Sunsum Band's magnum opus (at least in my opinion) "Odo (Love)," available over at Global Groove. "Mansee Madwen," the 15-minute last track, will blow your mind. I'm sure. You can also find the Black Hustlers album there.


Download 1982's "Emmaa Bekum Mmarima" Here.

5 comments:

  1. trumpetaaa says: nice record many thank yous

    ReplyDelete
  2. this file appears to be password protected. where does one find the password?

    ReplyDelete
  3. @gypsykat
    Actually I have not password protected this file, so I'm not sure why you are getting this message. Let me know if this problem keeps happening.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I downloaded the file again and had no problem unzipping it. Weird, eh?

    Wonderful blog. I am really enjoying the music.

    ReplyDelete
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