Akwaaba is Welcome in Ghana
Welcome to the Akwaaba Sound System. We're a few music lovers who have enjoyed hearing new sounds posted on MP3 blogs around the net and who wanted to give a little bit back. We're also a group of friends who have DJ'd on the radio, on the internet, and on occasion, at parties.
Akwaaba is a greeting in Ghana. It's also the title of a 1984 album by Francis Bebey. Emailing about the album with Matt, who has a great MP3 blog, made me decide to go ahead and get this thing rolling.
Bebey's album is a kind of mysterious thing. He's better known for a mellow classical-style guitar approach, but this album is electric, funky, and dense. It sounds as though the level meters on the mixing board were blown, or no one could be bothered to watch them.
The album was the fifth release on John Storm Roberts' Original Music label. It's not really clear whether it was recorded for Roberts or reissued, although there is a re-mastering credit.
According to the liner notes:
I'd like to post the whole album -- and who knows, maybe I will, track by track, over time. For now, let's enjoy the title track, a hypnotic, densely layered instrumental, and "Bissau," featuring a ripping ndehou part and an example of the double voice technique. This one grooves too, but it's quite a bit wierder.
The instruments used on this album are: two sanzas; string bass; metal bell; talking drum and various other drums and percussion; bottle struck with a fork handle; pygmy pipe of the type called Ndehou; and claves. The vocal techniques include head and chest voice, head voice alternating in and out breaths, double voice, hocketing yodel.
Order Akwaaba "used" from Amazon
AllMusic Entry on Francis Bebey
Spotlight on Francis Bebey (WPRB) (Thanks, Chris R.!)