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Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Ghanaian Blue 1968-81
     

Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Ghanaian Blue 1968-81

 
The U.K. label Soundway Records has vaulted itself to the head of the pack within the narrow field of African anthologies. They specialize in hard '60s and '70s funk, disco, and rock from West Africa, as heard on their Nigeria Special series as well as the earlier Afro Baby and Ghana Soundz sets, not to mention a disc devoted to the best-of

Overview

The U.K. label Soundway Records has vaulted itself to the head of the pack within the narrow field of African anthologies. They specialize in hard '60s and '70s funk, disco, and rock from West Africa, as heard on their Nigeria Special series as well as the earlier Afro Baby and Ghana Soundz sets, not to mention a disc devoted to the best-of Nigerian singer-guitarist Sir Victor Uwaifo. This latest volume, a two-CD set of funk and rock from Ghana all recorded between the late '60s and early '80s, is a churning sea of polyrhythms, chanted vocals, thick, distorted organ sounds, blaring horns, and scorching guitar that are equal parts James Brown and No Wave. Indeed, there are tracks here that sound like an African take on the jagged N.Y.C. funk of the Contortions, while others adapt the innovations of legendary Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti (who appears as a guest on one track). Of course, it's not all raucous shouting and distorted blare; there are some extraordinarily skillful jazz-funk records here, like the Sweet Talks' "Akampanye," with a stinging trumpet solo, or the jazz flute (and beautifully clear, bell-like vocals) of Christy Azuma & Uppers International's "Din Ya Sungri." A few songs ("Them Go Talk Of You," "I Go Die for You," "You Monopolize Me," "You Can Go") are sung in English, but most of the others will be incomprehensible to a U.S. listener -- and it won't matter one bit, because the rhythms and melodies are so overpowering and forceful that the music functions as pure limbic imperative. If your ass isn't shaking when this stuff is on, seek medical attention.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/10/2009
Label:
Soundway Records
UPC:
0893775001682
catalogNumber:
16
Rank:
5632

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