Kiki Gyan was undoubtedly one of Ghana’s finest artistic talent of all time with a metaphysical understanding of sound, harmony and composition that deified him in the 1970s and took him around the world by the age of 18. His music, as a solo musician, writer/composer, arranger and session music and also as part of superstar afro-fusion band Osibisa will forever be the soundtrack to a lot of honeyed moments for most ghanaian families as well as the fans from all over the world who had the chance to see him entrance audiences with their mesmerizing spiritual funk and disco hits.
As a body of work Tash BNM is a totem of Gafacci’s dexterity as a producer and his ear for magnificent sound. However, it’s crowning glory comes from its refreshingly textured approach to a lush yet familiar sonic atmosphere. For the 17-minutes in which you engage the project, you are in a world unlike any other you have ever been in. The music is a trip that transports you to syrupy fields of radiant joy by alloying similar yet unassociated sonic elements. Whilst Gafacci makes sure to tip his hat towards the foundation of his signature Asorkpor aesthetic, he makes sure to ensure its growth by introducing this new layer into the zeitgeist, an interrogation of what low fidelity sound is.
1958 is not a project I would miss if you are interested in contemporary African music. Blick Bassy presents a heavy magnifying glass that appears weightless at the first glance, however it does offer a terrific exposition of his master of music which indeed is all a backdrop for his sombering reflections on the history and condition of his home.
Martial Pa’nucci is a hip-hop artist from the Republic of Congo currently living in exile in Burkina Faso following various threats to his life as a result of his activism through music against the dictatorship in his home. Whilst in Accra for a workshop engagement, we managed to spend some time with him to learn a bit more about himself, his work and his general outlook on the lives of artists in Congo. Speaking to Martial was an education and reminder of the risks various artist across the world have to take to be expressive.
As the African contemporary sound continues to grow and change, it is also important to be reminded of the brilliance that brought us to where we are, and celebrate that excellence. Albums like History are bespoke for this purposes, filling you will the satisfaction of nostalgia yet guiding you into the future.
Tresor’s Nostalgia is definitely up there with some of the very well written and composed bodies of music reviewed on this website. The project is a testament to the diversity of the contemporary African sound as it offers an alternative joy to the pulsating and algorithmic “afrobeat” sound. Much like Pierre Kwenders, Chino Amobi and Beatenberg, Tresor via Nostalgia expands the scope of what our lives as Africans can sound like. Indeed, this is made possible by grounding the album in the music of his childhood drawing of the intrinsic rhythms and melodies that are enveloped in his memories of the past, made fresh by the voice of the present.
R2Bees pay homage to the sonic legacy that allow them to be daring enough to define their sounds, yet simultaneously lift up the new-age grooves they help shape, like on Boys’ Kasa. Despite being mildly wayward theme-wise, you still get to the soul of the Tema Boys’ sound which seems to be soulful and gritty and everything in between.
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