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

NURU KANE PROFILED (2013): A colourful tapestry of sound

NURU KANE PROFILED (2013): A colourful tapestry of sound

One of problems world music artists suffer is some preciousness in their audience which would preserve them in amber like an anthropological specimen. They want an artist to remain true to some... > Read more

Hanoi Masters: War is a Wound, Peace is a Scar (Glitterbeat/Southbound)

Hanoi Masters: War is a Wound, Peace is a Scar (Glitterbeat/Southbound)

The history of Vietnam in the last half of the 20th century saw appalling division, wars and retributions. The “American war” was just a part of it. Prior to the American... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Moby Grape, Moby Grape (1967)

Moby Grape, Moby Grape (1967)

The short and dramatic story of San Francisco psychedelic folk-rockers Moby Grape is one of the collision of blazing musical talent, shonky management, record company overkill and bad luck. And it... > Read more

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000):  The people's poet laureate

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000): The people's poet laureate

Britain's most popular serious performance poet for more than two decades, Benjamin Zephaniah, laughs as he recalls hating poetry as a kid. If you said you liked it, it was as if you were... > Read more