Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ogyatanaa Show Band - Yerefrefre (1975)


Hello there! I apologize for the long gaps between posts around here lately.  To make up for this, I offer one of my favorite highlife albums, Ogyatanaa's Yerefrefre (this record also might just have one of the best covers ever!). 

The Ogyatanaa (or "burning torch") Show Band was founded in 1971 by Kwadwo Donkoh, a former diplomat turned highlife musician and record producer.  I don't have much information about Donkoh, yet I consider him one of the big names in Ghanaian highlife, a behind-the-scenes figure and master arranger/composer.  In addition to his work with Ogyatanaa, Donkoh founded Agoro records in the early 1970s.  Agoro released diverse popular and traditional records, and later it would introduce the first albums by Ga cultural groups like Wulomei.

On this first album by the Ogyatanaa Show Band, we have classic tracks like "Mmobrowa" and a funky "Yaa Amponsah," yet my absolute favorite here is the "Yerefrefre" medley on side one, a twenty minute long track which pays tribute to Ghana's highlife greats.  Musicians like E.K. Nyame, C.K. Mann, King Onyina, E.T. Mensah, Nana Ampadu, and K. Gyasi are acknowledged, while hit songs by these artists are also "quoted" throughout the medley.  The group switches rapidly between songs, offering snippets of such tunes as E.T. Mensah's "All for you" and the Black Beats' "Lai momo."

See how many songs you can identify!

On March 6, 1957 Kwame Nkrumah announced Ghana's independence at the stroke of midnight.
Happy Independence Day, Ghana!

7 comments:

  1. thanks for all the great music on your blog & i want to ask you if you could please write to digging4gold again because his link for the new march sampler leads to his old february sampler

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  2. Thanks for this posting which has afforded me some reminiscing. I haven't listened to this album in a while, and thanks also for your accompanying write-up on Kwadwo Donkoh. He deserves a better recognition.

    Thanks again.

    Dave

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  3. I agree with you that many of these behind-the-scenes musicians/producers/composers like Donkoh deserve better recognition. I'm sure many have been totally forgotten...

    And I'm glad this album was able to bring back some memories for you.

    -Osibisaba

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