Monday, December 29, 2008

City Boys

The City Boys International Band of Ghana is one of those bands that must be popular in Ghana (and Nigeria) itself but who are allmost unknown over here. Probably because of their vocals: this typical sharp Ghanaian sound, not very comfortable in Western ears. The music reminds me of the African Brothers: perhaps no coincidense since the leader of the City boys, Obooba J.A. Adofo 'Black Chinese' is Nana Ampadu's nephew.

City Boys - Me yaree fi mefie

ps: got it in the wrong sleeve, anyone knows the title of the album? (Scodisc Sound SDX9, first track 'Gyae Su')

Sunday, December 14, 2008

St. Augustine

It’s been some time now and you must be wondering if I lost interest. Well, not really, but I have been very busy cleaning some of my albums I thought could be improved by some extra treatment. You won’t believe how much effort I put into physically and electronically cleaning, and you have to believe me when I say that it is sometimes really necessary to get some music back from under all the noise. This track is certainly a good example: it is very damaged with some deep scratches.
(the state of the cover is a good indication)
Anyway, I hope you like the result.
(And if anyone out there has a better version, please contact me…)

St Augustine - Francesca

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Strange days

Here's another little treat: Otarus Brothers. Benjamin Otarus founded his own band in '72, after playing guitar for Rex Lawson and st Augustine. I think it is a really strange sound, with the drummer allowing himself a lot of freedom to play around while the clave keeps the band together.
But after a while, it really grows on you. Judge for yourself:

Otarus Brothers - Eminerume

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Golden Voice sings Gospel

Pat Thomas was one of Ghana's most popular singers in the seventies and eighties, loved for his smooth crooning voice.
More background here.
Here's one of his later tracks, born-again as Gospel singer. Accompanied by his long-time musical mentor Ebo Taylor, smooth as ever.

Pat Thomas - Gyae Su

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Franco (Not le Grand Maitre)

It is time to even the score a bit between the Ghanaians and the Nigerians, so here's Franco Lee Ezute and his Harmony Kings. No information whatsoever, just some fine music.

Franco Lee Uzute - Osonni

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Commercial break

Highlife not only comes in obscure records, there's obscure cd's too!
By obscure i mean: not available in a regular music (web-) shop, but only specialized Ghanaian music shops. Typical Ghanaian: they like to keep things in their own hands.
I'd like to present a couple of favourites:
First the best of Canadoes International Band

Canadoes - Enowaa ko hene
(what about those tulips! a Dutch-Ghanaian production)
Then Opambuo Internationals

Opambuo - Kai kai

And lastly Yamoah's Band

Yamoah's - Abotare
Four volumes in all, the sound quality is sometimes poor, but the music is allways great!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The real Akwaboa(h)

Thanks for your kind comments. I'll reward it with another treat: Master Bob Akwaboa and his Supreme Internationals. Beat that!
Ok, he isn't very modest, but i think he has every right to. Listen to this, a relentless repetitive beat with that unique gravely voice. Perhaps not the finest singer, but one of the best voices in Highlife. (Only rivalled by F. Kenya in my opinion). And don't forget the subtle guitar. Enough said:

Akwaboa and his Supreme Internationals - Yede Owuo Ka

(With thanks to Ubulujaja, the supplier of this great track,
not the right cover, but this one's so cool!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The King Of Hypertension

Well, after this Ghanaian Highlife, now it's time for a great Nigerian: Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe. He hardly needs an introduction, one of the most prolific Highlife stars ever. Active over more than 40 years, a monument of Highlife. I have allmost 40 albums myself, but I can never grow bored of his music. A lot of his albums are now available on cd, most of quite decent quality. I'll post one of the ones skipped for reasons unknown. Here's a track from '78-2', the track 'Obiajulu' ('the heart is consoled'), also the name of his eldest son.

Osadebe - Obiajulu

Ps. as you can see, I have not been very active lately. But now, being linked to the great 'Worldservice' site, I expect more visitors. Let me know you're out there and leave your comment. All links are repaired.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kyerematen(g) Stars

After these classics now something a bit more modern: The Kyeremateng Stars, also sometimes spelled 'Kyerematen'. A definite favourite, but quite unknown. It seems to be a kind of Gospel-Highlife, looking at some of the covers and song titles (and in the second track you even get a sermon like interlude by Kyeremateng Atwede himself). Anyway, I like them mostly for their uptempo songs, their plaintive voices and the playful organ.
Judge for yourself, ignore the terrible cover (In African music there seems to be an inverse relationship between the quality of the music and the cover..)

Kyeremateng Stars - Ketewa Biasa Nsua
Kyeremateng Stars - Obi Reba A Mane Me

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Decca West-Africa classics

Well, it's been some time now, i've been a bit lazy. But thats all gone change now, i'll try to get at least one message / track a week done. And i have collected some real gems lately, so that should not be a problem.
First another African Brothers track, this time belonging to the lp you see in my previous post.
African Brothers - Ade Aye Me

And now something else: One of the other great icons of Ghanaian highlife: E.T. Mensah and his Tempos

A fine highlife about the great rivers of Africa.
E.T Mensah - congo

Here is another example from the famous Decca West-Africa series:

Builders Brigade Band - apolonia

Last but not least, a band I never heard of before:

The Republicans - ahoofe bra

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nana Ampadu's African Brothers International Band

What is it all about?
Well, i would like to share my enthusiasm about the Highlife music with you. I know there must be some people out there that understand what i'm talking about. Highlife is the a type of African popular music, mostly from Ghana and Nigeria. It often has a melancholic, bit bluesy feeling that i really like. Big names in this genre are E.T Mensah, The African Brothers, Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, just to name some of my favourites. (for more background, just check Wikipedia) Although highlife has been very popular in Ghana and in Nigeria, in the eighties it lost lots of ground to other musical forms, and in my opinion it has never been the same since. There are still some bands active, but for most Africans this is just nostalgic music from the past. Consequently it is not commercially interesting to re-release this music on cd, so hard to find scratchy records is all we are left with. I've been collecting for some years now and i'm sure i have some interesting tunes in store for you. Be back soon!

This is a track from the 'Tribute to DK Nyarko' album of the African Brothers. DK Nyarko was a pivotal figure in the Ghanaian highlife scene.