August 23, 2016

This Is Kologo Power!

ARTIST: various artists
TITLE: This Is Kologo Power!
LABEL: Sahelsounds / Makkum / Red Wig
The kologo is a two-stringed lute made of calabash, wood and animal hide. It’s native to the Upper East region of Ghana, although similar instruments appear across West Africa (variously called molo, xalam, hoddu, tidinit and ngoni). These instruments are probably the African ancestors of the banjo. In recent years there’s been a big kologo music revival, led by King Ayisoba whose 2006 album Modern Ghanaians won three Ghana Music Awards. This Is Kologo Power! documents nine members of this new wave of tradition-based musicians. Their music is simple, catchy and aggressive; the lyrics, in Frafra and pidgin English, deal with everyday life, express opinions and dispense advice. Track 3 is deep roots music with voices, kologo, flute and drums locked in a virtuous cycle of repetition. Track 5 is more modern-sounding, with the Caribbean-inflected lilt of much highlife music. King Ayisoba is the star here, with two tracks (1 and 10) plus a guest appearance on a third (6). His approach is intensely rhythmic; unsurprisingly he has collaborated with rappers and remixers, and it wouldn’t take much to make a dance hit out of track 1. Great stuff here.
TOP TRACKS:    1    3    5    6    10

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