“They called me ‘Music Caterpillar’ because I can play music non-stop for three days. I can play all night and then pack up in the morning and drive to the next place and do it again”
Is your dancefloor ready for DJ Katapila? The Ghanaian DJ/producer’s marathon, relentlessly joyful DJ sets have swiftly become a thing of legend: splicing the neo-traditional dance music styles of his youth in Accra with the uptempo, bass-heavy, Roland 808-rooted sounds of Detroit techno, Chicago acid and ecstatic 90s chart house, Katapila adorns his killer selections with live electronic percussion and vocal interjections that help galvanise waves of full-blown euphoria wherever he plays.
Cutting his teeth in the early 90s as a mobile DJ at funerals across Ghana, he began spontaneously inserting Ga- and Twi-language chants and raps into instrumental breaks of the well-trodden international house and techno radio hits he’d been playing. Performing on his Yamaha DD11 electronic drum pads during instrumental breaks, he also added his own percussion. He combined the microphone toasting and his rhythms with a sampler and invented new creations on the fly, establishing his trademark rough-edged dance sound which has now become ubiquitous in Ghana and other parts of West Africa.
Katapila’s music reflects his love for the international dance pop that filtered into Accra’s radio waves in the ‘90s: Inner City’s “Big Fun”; C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat”; Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman”; even Rick Astley hits, among many others. Katapila mixed international tunes with highlife – J.A. City Boys and AB Crentsil – as well as hiplife, Ghanaian gospel, Jamaican dancehall, soca and regional Francophone hits.
While visiting Kumasi recently Awesome Tapes from Africa founder Brian Shimkovitz found two pirated Katapila tapes, much to the artist’s surprise who says he never pressed it to cassette and never distributed any copies to Kumasi. The label released ‘Trotro’ in early 2016 to critical acclaim from publications worldwide including the New York Times, Fact, Tiny Mix Tapes, Thump, the 405 and Vinyl Factory, which calls it “Elastic dance music at its most raw.”
“Deconstructed dance music from the bedroom of Ghanaian house producer DJ Katapila… with the breakneck speed of Shangaan electro and the precision of early Detroit techno and Chicago acid. Stripped back and raw, [this is an] infectious introduction to the Katapila sound, a world where anything goes as long as the driving bass knitting the whole thing together is right… Consume in moderation, this stuff is potent” – Vinyl Factory
“a Ghanaian DJ who has become known for his marathon sets. His own production borrows as much from early Chicago house and Detroit techno as from Ga dance music, and boasts a remarkable sense of humour” – Pitchfork
“Produced on FruityLoops, Trotro, with its Roland-style drum hits and splashes of digital synths, offers a more contemporary sound [than other releases on Awesome Tapes from Africa]” – Resident Advisor
|06/07/17||DJ Katapila in Warsaw, PL||BarKa|
|07/07/17||DJ Katapila in Tallinn, EE||Post Noblessner|
|09/07/17||DJ Katapila in Prague, CZ||Creepee Teepee|
|13/07/17||DJ Katapila in Antwerp, BE||Bosbar|
|14/07/17||DJ Katapila in Hamburg, DE||Uebel & Gefaehrlich|
|15/07/17||DJ Katapila in Berlin, DE||Acud Macht Neu|
|16/07/17||DJ Katapila in London, UK||Walthamstow Garden Party|
|20/07/17||DJ Katapila in Barcelona, ES||Laut|
|21/07/17||DJ Katapila in Lisbon, PT||Music Box|
|22/07/17||DJ Katapila in Barcelos, PT||Milhoes de Festa|
|19/08/17||DJ Katapila in Rotterdam, NL||Magia Festival|
|20/08/17||DJ Katapila in Venlo, NL||Zomerparkfeest|
|02/09/17||DJ Katapila in Brussels, BE||Forest Festival|
|07/09/17||DJ Katapila in Zurich, CH||Theater Gessnerallee||Stall 6|
|08/09/17||DJ Katapila in Stockholm, SE||Fasching|
|09/09/17||DJ Katapila in Saintes, FR||Coconut Music Festival|