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Highlife Roots Revival


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Odei Oben (vocals, guitar, percussion); Ankoma Mensah "Spratz" George, William "Paa Willi" Affreh, Eugene Oppong "Goodies" Ampadu, Daniel "Koo Nimo"Amponsah (vocals, guitar); Kwegyir "Agya Sammy" Joseph (vocals, percussion); Gifty Tagoe (vocals, dancer); Osei Korankye (vocals); Noah Owusu, Kwaku Donkor, Yaw Badu (percussion).
  • Editor: Rob Keyloch.
  • Ghanaian Koo Nimo is probably the greatest living exponent of his country's palm wine musical tradition, a laid-back (as the name implies) way to storytelling in song. He's internationally acclaimed, having been a musician-in-residence at the University of Washington, but this captures the veteran at home in Accra, recorded in the courtyard of his house along with a number of accompanists. You can also hear the crowing of a rooster, but that fits in perfectly with the very down-home style of the music. Don't mistake that for simple, however; Nimo is a very gifted guitarist and singer, able to play in several styles. More than anything, though, this is communal music, the passing on of wisdom and tradition, as with "Medley: Anansi Song Story/Bear, What Is the Matter with You?/Hornbill," and "Old Man Plants a Coconut Tree," which emphasizes continuity. There are praise songs, including one court song, and music from the Adowa tradition. There's a relaxed, often lulling beauty to it all, and the album, apart from its own deep pleasures, gives an insight into a slice of African culture that might well be slipping away. ~ Chris Nickson
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