Wednesday, November 25, 2009

African Brothers

This band needs no introduction: The African Brothers were the prototypical Highlife guitar band and model for a whole generation of others. It can't be a coincidence that there are some many 'Brothers' highlife bands around.
Although their later work is not always very inspired, their work in the seventies shows that they were indeed the No1 band.
Here's a fine example: 'Never Mind the Shirt!'

African Brothers - Yere wensa wose shirt
(Read the interesting liner notes: recorded in one hour at 8 o'clock in the morning. No rock-n-roll mentality here)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Highlife Gospel

There is a very thin line between secular highlife and gospel music in Ghana. Typical highlife bands as the African Brothers, Yamoah's and even AB Crentsil's Sweet Talks recorded a lot of tracks that are definitely religious in nature. And as the popularity of gospel grew in the 1980's, some highlife musicians turned from secular to religious music. As i don't speak the language it is even harder for me to distinguish the two.
But here are 2 examples of highlife-gospel bands: Edward Kwasi Boateng's Band and Love Nortey's Happy Stars.

Happy Stars - Wano nsem pii
Kwasi Boateng's Band - Asem ato me

(Do i hear Kwabena Okai there among the Happy Stars? Unfortunately no cover..)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Agu Risky and de Lovers International Band

Well, here's a band i'm sure you haven't heard of before (prove me wrong and send me some music..).At first you wonder when this intro is going to end and the song will take off, but gradually you'll begin to appreciate it. I hope you like it too, and if you have any background, just let me know.

Agu Risky - Anango-Ibibifu
Ps. check out the comments!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Real Internationals

A lot of highlife bands call themselves International, a term that has as little meaning as the also popular use of the 'Brothers' label. But here i have a track of a band who seems to try to really do something across regional and ethnic boundaries: a Kenyan album by the Peacocks (international, of course).
Their hit song 'Sambola mama' in an extended version with an East-African twist.
(Ok, i got carried away, it's just a kenyan pressing...)

Peacocks - Sambola mama
Nb. I hesitated to scan the cover, but even this is better than nothing, and it gives you an indication of the state of the album.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I've found my love (again)

Some cd's i just play over and over. One of these is the 'I've found my love' compilation on the Original Music label. All OM's are great, but i like this one best: One guitar, some voices and simple percussion, short songs with palm-wine roots.
Anyway, when i heard this album by Akwaboa i was immediately hooked: i've played it on repeat for weeks.
And because it is such a short track, i'll add a Akwaboa single too!
(now who's complaining?)

Akwaboa - Meko gya mediya kwan
Akwaboah's Guitar Band - Maniso tan me

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Unbeatable Abiriwa

One of the first highlife bands i really liked, after Chief Osita Osadebe got me interested in the genre, were the Peacocks. But this was completely different: short songs, no horns, a rootsier sound but definitely more relaxed than the Oriental Brothers. And my appreciation still grows with every new recording i can get my hands on. Here's one of their later albums.

Peacocks - Iwe Ewelam

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Golden Voice

Ok, perhaps a bit overstated, but on a couple of songs he refers to himself as 'The Golden Voice'. And indeed i think he is one of Ghana's better singers: Nana Agyeman Opambuo. This is one of the albums he made in Nigeria for the well-known Rogers All Stars: My Darling. Ghanaians in Nigeria often record some tracks in Pidgin, but the best tracks are allways in Twi..
(This is one of those records with heavy duty audio restauration: a 3 minute crack in the record, meaning i had to manually silence 200 heavy clicks...)

Opambuo International Band - Enye mani kan

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Goddy (khaki) & the Ambassadors in his Omajiji-ji 70s

Every now and then you come across a record, and you think Wow, this guy is no beginner, why have i never heard of him before?
And even after searching the net, you still don't know anything about him.
Here is my latest 'discovery': Goddy (khaki) & the Ambassadors in his Omajiji-ji 70s. Fine name for a band, isn't it? A very laid-back type of highlife, with a latin touch.

Igbo cheghara
Ps. Fine cover too! Anybody has information about Goddy Ezike?

Friday, March 13, 2009

King of Anioma Highlife

I think this artist needs no introduction: Ali Chukwuma. But for further information
This is a track from a 1976 record, and i think it is great! Somehow 1976 has been a real peak year for highlife. No horns, but i promise you you won't miss them..

Ali Chukwuma - Ogeli sili obi
ps: all old links seem to be working (but sometimes you have to be patient)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keeping the faith

When in the 1980's highlife modernized and all kinds of electronics were introduced, eventually Highlife turned Hiplife. Not my thing really, but most Ghanaians now see highlife as something from the past. One of the artists who tried to keep the tradition alive was (and is) Eric Agyeman. Starting out as lead-guitarist in K.Gyasi's Noble Kings, he developed a unique kind of mellow guitar-band Highlife with horns, often in long, suite-like tracks.
Here is one of his less known albums.

Mani Agye
(Strange cover, not? Even George Michael wouldn't dare something like this..)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Old School

Thomas Osei 'T.O.' Ampomah was one of the more traditional Highlife artists. His career started in the 60's and was rooted in palm-wine music, but he travelled to Congo to broaden his musical horizons. To me it's full-blooded highlife, with a real female singer, not a 'treble singer' as extra attraction. Enjoy!

T.O. Jazz - Sea Boy