Monday, September 19, 2011

African Brothers Band - Have African Feeling

"Nana Ampadu wo he?" (Where is Nana Ampadu?) the Manager Rover Amo, asked Joe Dee. The time was exactly 7:45 a.m in that Summer morning. The recording was billed to commence at exactly 8 a.m., but Nana Ampadu I, the Leader, was not in the Studio. Rover Amo was wondering what had become of him. Donkor, Joe, Asare and others were discussing the issue. An unmistakable sign of dejection and consternation began to show up in their faces. The studio had been booked for only an hour and it was just a few minutes to 8 a.m. The studio manager had arrived, followed by the producer, Mr. Akie Dean. The instruments had been fixed and just as they were tunning their guitars, Nana strutted in, looking cheerful and feeling on top of the morning. 

"Me ma mo Akye ooh" Nana said, 
meaning (Good morning). Exhiliration filled in them and hilarious smile began to steal up in their faces. Nana strapped his guitar and fixed the wah-wah peddle. Rover Amo then whispered to Nana Ampadu, "Just give me a meddley LP, and give me the best, Okey?"

"Right, Amo" Nana Ampadu whispered back. Nana Ampadu turned to the Guys and enunciated,  

"You all know we are Africans, play with an African feeling, Okey?"

Mr. Akie Dean took his mic and the electronic device  b o o m e d .........

D o w n l o a d

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Koo Nimo Interview with Christopher Lydon & Radio Open Source

I've been on a bit of a Koo Nimo kick lately! If you have a chance, check out this fascinating 2010 interview with Koo Nimo by Christopher Lydon for Radio Open Source. The recording was made at "7:30 a.m. on the last Saturday in January, a warm winter morning in Ghana, and we are privileged to be hanging out for an hour of music and a few well-chosen words with a aristocrat of sound and four accompanists in his studio in Kumasi, the old Ashanti capital." Here, Lydon and Agya Koo discuss the history of highlife/palm wine music, jazz, globalization, the African diaspora, and musical cross-fertilization among other things. In addition, Koo Nimo offers some beautiful (although short) musical performances throughout the interview. I've made the performances alone available for download below.

Koo Nimo - Nwomkro Song

   Okomfo Anokye
Koo Nimo - Akomfo Anokye (Odonson)

Download interview performances

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sunsum Band - Disco Spiritual

Here we have a short religious themed album by the great Sunsum Band entitled Disco Spiritual, released in 1981 on Gapophone records. The heart of the Sunsum Band consisted of guitarist, composer & singer Smart Nkansah (pictured on left) and treble singer Agyaaku (on right), who met while both were members of Yamoah's band in the 1960s. You can read more about Sunsum at this earlier post.

Sunsum Band - Ahoboa

I've also included a Youtube video featuring a "sermon" of sorts by none other than Smart Nkansah at the Pentecostal Baptist Church in London. Here, Smart discusses some of his religious themed compositions with the Sweet Talks (Spiritual Ghana), as well as the song "Ahoboa" off the Disco Spiritual Album. This song states: "In case you are called, or you die today, what preparation have you made for yourself? How was your judgement?" Nkansah describes "Ahoboa" as the "number one track" of his career, a song that "speaks to you direct anytime you play it."

On a side note, I'm frustrated by the preacher who introduces Smart Nkansah at the beginning of this video. He states: "You [Smart] were populating the kingdom of hell with your music. Now thank God you've met the Lord on the way to Damascus and you've changed." I like PREKESEMedia's reaction to this type of attitude on the Youtube page:

"I dont agree with the Pastor's assertion that U were leading people to Hell. No, your music was more than about what he is saying. You educated and promoted social virtues and NEVER promoted vices. Ghanaians need to change their mentality where they stereotype every secular musician as someone who is a SINNER. Who is perfect in this world? Ask the pastor to listen to some of your music to know whether u were promoting SIN as he said."                
                                                     Download Disco Spiritual