Monday, February 18, 2013
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Amene Yerin Kenimiweremi , by Bestman Doupere and his coastal pioneer dance band of Nigeria, off a Felix record release.
I know very little about the performer. John Beadle once sent me a record list that included this performer name and described him as a Ijaw highlife musician. The Ijaw are the largest ethnic group in the Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta. John goes on to say contemporary Ijaw highlife guitar music is called Awigiri and is a Nigerian style of highlife, which sounds most similar to Ghanaian guitar highlife. The record came out in the early to mid 80's.
I really liked the lyricism of the vocals on this one. Very soulful and engaging, they create an open and intimate sound throughout the song. The stripped down guitar and drum playing is also tight and complements the richness of the vocals. See what you think
Thursday, February 14, 2013
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Saworoma off a 1976 Panafrik release by the Abibifo Dance Band of Ghana led by Ralph Adusah. I first came across this song when I was visiting a friend in Frankfurt and liked it so much I spent four years trying to get a copy of the LP.
Ralph Adusah was born in the city Kibi in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Between 1968-1973 he was based in Kumasi and performed with the Ambassadors, The Afro-Beats and Dr. K. Gyasi's Noble Kings. In 1974 he moved to Tema and played with The complex Sounds and then left in 1975 to form the Abibifo Dance Band.
The word Abibifo means "Black race". The band had 21 members and plays a soulful blend of afro jazz highlife. There are so many parts of this song that stand out for me. The soaring vocals, the solo horn playing and rock solid percussion and guitar work all blend together seamlessly as the songs builds and cascades from one crescendo of sound to another.
I hope you like it.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Obi yE wo bcne a faky3 no by the T.O. Jazz band off a 1976 release by Skanophone records.
I've posted other T.O. Jazz tracks in the past and am always on the lookout for music by this artist. Skanophone records was based in London and this was their third release. It appears from the playlist to be either a compilation of existing tracks, as I recognized a number of tracks, or may have been a new release. Either way there was some material I had not seen. The song titles were also in the Ghanaian Cyrillic script. Perhaps this is a clue to the type of highlife music being played. I also really liked the detailed map on the cover.
The song has a beautiful opening and the lyricism of the lead vocals and chorus really made this song a solid winner for me. Check out the nice guitar playing around the 2.50 mark. I hope you like it.
Happy New Year from the highlifecave.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have chosen the song Anyi Ayohuola by Dr. Olololo and his Mbaise Brothers band, off a RAS release Inyeaka Chukwu.
I do not know much about the band. I believe they are from the Anambra state. I have one other record which lists the band as Olololo and his brothers international band of Nigeria and Dr. Olololo real name as Dominic Ntiwunka.
I really enjoyed the raucous vocals and the tight guitar playing on this song. Check out the guitar playing at the 3.40 mark and the percussion work at the 5.30 mark. Very uptempo and dance able. If anyone has any information on this band please let me know and I'll update the post. Happy Holidays from the highlife cave.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the song Alam Adafu off an EMI release by Prince David Bull and his Professional Seagulls Dance Band of Nigeria.
According to John Beadle's blog, the Rex Lawson backup band The River Men reestablished themselves as the Professional Seagulls after the death of Rex Lawson in 1970's and then went onto have a successful solo career.
I like the pace of the song, very simple and rhythmic. The vocals are tight and the song comes together as the vocals weave in and around the tight band arrangement. Check out the percussion at the beginning, the horn playing around the 2 minute mark and the steady guitar work throughout the song. A first rate effort. I hope you like it.
For those who want to hear more of the LP another song on the LP, Soko-Soko, can be purchased on Amazon
and this link http://www.onlinenigeria.com/music/seagulls/ streams a number of other songs by the band.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Olabisi Olomi off an Eroya Sounds release by Prince Crossdale Juba.
According to an article I found by Afolabi Taiwo, the Late Crossdale Moboluwaji Juba was born in the early 40's into a royal family of Oba Daniel Iksika Juba and Queen Marin Juba in Ilutitun Osooro, Okitipupa. He began his musical career as a Brigade at St. Louis Local Authority School and started out professionally as a trumpeter with the Agundiade Star Dandies, Ado Ekiti before he left for a bigger group Comina Mend and Dynamite Ten, which was a Ghanaian band which played at the Empire Hotel, in Mushin and then later at Club 21 in Apapa. He then played with Adeolu Akinsanya's band and other great highlife musicians like Victor Olaiya, Roy Chicago, Eddy Okonta and Rex Lawson. He ended up doing a number of releases for EMI and Eroya records that documented the vitality of his Modibodo sound. The article goes on to say Crossdale Juba died young, but neglects to give a cause.
A consummate performer, music critic Benson Idonije said, " the acceptance of Crossdale's Modibodo's music could be measured by the surging crowds that took to the dancing floor each time Juba crept towards the microphone to sing. With a trumpet in hand, he sang with a guttural, glossy voice as he produced modern jazz sounds reminiscent of Mike Falana. His voice can be likened to that of a nightingale, especially with the tinge of Ikale dialect which allows the lyrics tumble out with immediacy and urgency. Juba joined Victor Olaiya's All Stars band and he was able to forge a headway with his Mobibodo Highlife tradition"
I really like this song. Traditional in format, it is tight, brassy and full of life. Check out the drums at the start of the song and the vocals that follow. There are also a number of nice horn solos, including one at the 3 minute mark that just wails. The vocals and the horns come back together for an exuberant finale. Very highly recommended.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
For the next selection I have selected the track Nyakowa by the K. Frempong Band. The recording comes off a Phillips 45 and I am assuming this is actually a K. Frimpong recording. I'd be curious to know if you think it is.
The song is a highlife tune sung in Twi. The recording is a little rough in the beginning but by the end the guitar lines and vocals really come together nicely. I hope you like it.