The Sol Power All-Stars are twice-monthly residents at Tropicalia in Washington, DC
info [at] solpowerdc [dot] com
Kiki Gyan - Sexy Dancer (1979).
While most of the world was paying attention to the American and Italian Disco sounds, Ghanaian wunderkind Kiki Gyan was in London bringin’ some masterful jams. Sadly, Maestro Kiki fell victim to AIDS in 2004
M.anifest - Asa featuring Efya [Official Video] (by Kwame Amet)
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Global indigenous music curators Soundway Records are dropping an album this month from KonKoma, a Ghanaian outfit formed around two members of seminal British afro-pop band Osibisa.
Learn more here.
A little warm up for this weekend’s evening activity.
Stream or download right here!
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I was going to post about Akwaaba Music’s new release recognizing Southern Sudan (click the link! it’s a dope release!), but I was immediately drawn to the previous post on Akwaaba’s website about the Bikelordz in Accra, Ghana, a crew of acrobatic bikers and BMXers getting extra creative on two wheels. Check the kickstarter and help the film project documenting the craze come to life.
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I must say, West Africa produces some amazing pop music. Really, some of the best in the world, in my opinion. For some reason, however, with a few exceptions, West African producers / artists don’t get too much attention outside of their home country. A lot, I’m sure, has to do with language. But that doesn’t explain why this joint out of Ghana didn’t explode globally. Sounds like an international pop smash to me. Warning: You’ll be playing on repeat and humming the melody for days…
Anyway. I digress. I’m about 1 year late on this, but it still sounds fresh to my ears. Akwaaba Music, whose whole shtick is to bring local African pop music* to an international audience* in celebration of Ghana’s 53rd year of independence, curated this mix of Ghanaian Hiplife. It bangs. I hope you dig it as much as I do.
*not to be confused with “World Music” which is often not marketed or popular in its home country
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Ever tried to find new African music on the web? Aside from youtube clips and the occasional release on Amazon there’s not much readily available for purchase. Enter Akwaaba Music. Akwaaba is a independent record label devoted to releasing African music to a global audience. They’re about as altruistic as record labels get - splitting profits 50/50 with licensees/artists - with the goal of making African music more accessible to interested listeners. They’ve been building a pretty impressive catalog over the last few years, including a number of tracks well suited to the Sol Power dance floor.
One of their latest releases, a single from the group 4X4, is a peak time burner with several key remixes from Dance Kill Move, artfx!, and Tel Aviv’s DJ Sabbo from the Soulico crew.
Check out the music video for Miss Doctor below, and go scoop the whole single for only $4 right here.
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Stylus’ Modern Ghana Sound post had me thinking about some classic Ghana sounds. There has been an over saturation of West African reissues in the past 5 years, but I think the Ghana Soundz series on Soundway pretty much nailed it perfectly (what’s up with a volume 3??). Both releases are end-to-end burners, but I especially like how they enlisted a couple of big dogs (Quantic & Natural Self) to remix the classic tunes for a modern dancefloor. The remixes are not on the comps themselves, but were released as 12” singles alongside the full long-players. Here is one of my favorites from Ghana Soundz 2 followed its 12” only remix:
Ogyatanaa Show Band - Disco Africa
Now peep Quantic’s take on the same tune (ignore the image on this video — the song is NOT on that comp):
Both tunes are available on this out of print 12” if you can find it, or you can cop the original here. The remix surprisingly doesn’t seem to be available to purchase anywhere digitally, but it’s also on Quantic’s One Offs Remixes and B-Sides double CD, which is available.
Blitz the Ambassador and M.anifest are two of my favorite new voices in hip-hop right now and they both hail from Ghana. I got a taste of more of today’s Ghana scene where highlife, hip-hop and afrobeat all cross-pollinate thanks to UK producer Richy Pitch’s most recent album on BBE.