Various Artists: Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Ghanaian Blues 1968-81 (Sound Way)

 |   |  1 min read

Pagadeja: Tamale
Various Artists: Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Ghanaian Blues 1968-81 (Sound Way)

In the past few years there has been a remarakble rediscovery and re-issue of music out of various parts of Africa: Elsewhere has previously noted the comprehensive (and enjoyable) Funky Lagos collection, the early years of Fela Kuti collected on Lagos Baby, the Geraldo Pino compilation, the exceptional Authenticite compilation of artists from Guinea and many more.

This collection (on the same label as the Panama!3 compilation) turns the spotlight on the guitar-driven sounds of Ghanaian highlife at a time when many of the musicians were amalgamating some light funk from America (as well as pure pop from the UK) into their hypnotic sound where guitars are teased and tickled, saxophones sound slightly tipsy, the polyrhythms work away effortlessly beneath and the sounds just wash over you.

These 33 songs have never been released outside of Africa prior to this, and what a treasure chest of sounds: Vis-A-Vis spin out for a 10 minute guitar'n'synth groove (with horns); St Peter and the Holymen bring melancholy vocals to the otherwise vibrant rhythms of Bofoo Beye Abowa Den; the Cutlass Dance Band seem to have shaved off a little early Sixties surf music; there are jazz elements everywhere; Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and His Creations get Fela-funky on ya (with a Dizzy Gillespie guy on trumpet); Fela himself pops up with Basa Basa Soundz . . .

Not everything is so exceptional, but the misses are remarkably few. 

This double disc set is a glorious discovery to revel in -- and I'm betting more than a few would like the handsomely packaged five album box set which comes with extra tracks not on the CDs. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Sarathy Korwar: Day to Day (Ninja Tune/Border)

Sarathy Korwar: Day to Day (Ninja Tune/Border)

This intricate weave of styles stitched together by jazz, samples and percussion can sometimes come off as oddly stateless and shapeless, but over the full distance offers multiculti... > Read more

Taoist Music Orchestra of Shanghai: Chinese Taoist Music (Arc/Elite)

Taoist Music Orchestra of Shanghai: Chinese Taoist Music (Arc/Elite)

With bamboo flute, erhu (two stringed fiddle) simple drum, dulcimer, lute and bells, this ensemble bring back to life ancient Taoist music in a modern style and evoke a more ancient world, a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DAVID BOWIE IS (2015): The Man Who Sold His Selves

DAVID BOWIE IS (2015): The Man Who Sold His Selves

In one corner of the expansive David Bowie Is exhibition which opened in Melbourne a fortnight ago is a video clip that many visitors walk past with barely a glance. In the exhibition at... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Goonies (DVD)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Goonies (DVD)

While it is neither Elswehere's interest nor place to advice anyone on how best to bring up children, we would be remiss if we didn't point out you might just be some kind of lesser parent or... > Read more