Brian Shimkovitz aka Awesome Tapes From Africa presents an unmissable midweek party bringing Ghanaian club fever and dancefloor fervour courtesy of two live acts and his own inimitable selection of African cassette wreckers.
Ata Kak is the mysterious Ghanaian electronic/rap/highlife icon who kick-started the whole AFTA phenomenon, now performing in Europe with a scintillating live band.
His Obaa Sima cassette fell on deaf ears when it was first self-released in Ghana in 1994 but when American musicologist Brian Shimkovitz stumbled upon the tape at a street stall in Cape Coast, Ghana eight years later it became the stimulus for him to launch his Awesome Tapes from Africa blog, writing in his inaugural post: ‘This is it. The song is called Moma Yendodo. You may never hear anything like this elsewhere. No one I know in Ghana listens to this frenetic leftfield rap madness.’
Presented with the sweaty passion of a Prince record and the lo-fi recording charm of early Chicago house music, Obaa Sima’s joyous soul and casual brilliance made the enigmatic Ata Kak an underground internet sensation and a party-starter the world over. After more than a decade of searching Brian finally tracked down the singer and released the LP officially in March 2015.
Also joining the fun is DJ Katapila, who makes Ga traditional music using electronic sounds instead of live percussion to create his own kind of what he calls house music.
In the context of Ghana’s pop music landscape, Katapila’s music is singular. The uptempo, bass-heavy, Roland 808-rooted sounds echo early 1990’s Detroit techno and Chicago acid house more than the contemporary hiplife productions blasting across Ghanaian airwaves currently.
However, the structure of Katapila’s sound directly descends from Ga musical lineage found around Accra. Neo-traditional dance music forms gome, kpanlogo and gyama are there.
Presented in collaboration with Colston Hall
Qu Junktions gratefully acknowledges the support of PRS for Music Foundation