17.6.06

Festivale de Football Day 11: Ghana

I have to be honest, I've found this one maybe the trickiest so far. I want, therefore, to say a massive thanks to all those other bloggers who've been taking a similar tack and covering the world cup with music. Particular thanks goes to an elbo.ws discovery, Benn loxo du taccu, who is a veritable goldmine of great African music.

I won't, though, be able to give you a detailed and personal experience of all the songs: I can however state that I recommend any of them, because it's not a genre I have a lot of familiarity with, therefore I can make sweeping statements with no basis.

First up is Captain Yaba - although he died in 2001, he's remembered for his funky interpretation of traditional Ghanaian music, particularly for his use of the koliko lute, widely believed to be the African grandad of the banjo. Like so much of the West African music which has translated overseas, it's of a funk base: not quite as deep and burning as Fela Kuti, say, a little more poppy, but every bit as groovy, and probably with more traditional African roots.

Captain Yaba - Yaba Funk

Next up is an oddity - this was recorded at the Ghana Post Office in 1975, and is a recording of postal workers cancelling stamps. It's a really quaint whistling and thwacking the table recording, and originated in internet land, as far as I can see, on WFMU's Beware Of The Blog.

Work Song From Postal Employees in Ghana

Highlife is what you might call the national sound of Ghana. It's an uptempo, jazzy, funky kind of sound, as national pop scenes go, it ain't too bad. It's a very West African phenomenon, maybe fitting in well with the generally chirpy character of most Ghanaians I've met. Ghana is one of the relatively few African nations to have a stable and democratic government, which I guess translates across to the music.
Daddy Lumba is one of the main highlife protagonists these days, having been recording for twenty years out of Accra, and having been responsible for pulling the sound forward, introducing synths and the like.
This song was originally found on callmeMICKEY, so thanks!

Daddy Lumba - Odo Beba Na Mawu

The Sweet Talks were one of Ghana's bigger exports in the 1970s. Their debut was a hit in the US and a tour followed, not bad going for the time. The sound is full of percussion and organ, with the standard Afrobeat jazzy trumpet from Arthur Kennedy.
Honny & The Bees, on the other hand, approach their 70's vibe from a more psychy, rocky end. There's not a lot of info I can find on these, but it's pretty damn hip.

The Sweet Talks - Eyi Su Ngaangaa
Honny & The Bees - Psychedelic Woman


Buy Ghanaian music here
Buy Captain Yaba/Daddy Lumba/Honny & The Bees/The Sweet Talks

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CIA Factbook: Ghana

2 comments:

BVS said...

I am lucky to get WFMU on my radio dial here in New Jersey (not very well all the time, but...), so i get to hear a lot of cool, weird stuff like that whenever i tune in. One of the best radio stations on the planet.

Oh Simone said...

I thought it was spelt Joy-zee. Forgive me if I'm wrong.