Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review By Staccato

A.P.M.S. IN PERSPECTIVE: "Awuraba Akosua", "Share what we've got",""Keep on skanking' "Afrikaman", "State of "Just after Jack". (WAZURI PRODUCTION WAZ100).

Within the last few years a number of Ghanaian musicians, fed up with the restrictive music industry at home and imbued with the spirit of artistic adventurism have attempted to step outside their national boundaries to spread their wings abroad. As a matter of fact these musicians fall into two groups: home-based musicians and those resident in western European countries.

Those outside Europe produce their music, mostly highlife and come over to polish the recording up to meet the demanding standards required if the offering would make any impact at all on the international market. The other group of musicians is a different kettle of fish altogether. Most of them, having lived abroad for sometime and imperceptibly imbibed the all-pervasive musical influences have managed to hold on tightly to their own musical roots. Their recordings therefore which have all the ingredients of overlapping music forms, when handled properly, are quite entertaining.

The above long-playing_record "A.P.M.S. IN PERSPECTIVE" (the sleeve note doesn't explain what the abbreviation means) produced in Toronto, Canada exactly falls into the latter category of music of Ghanaians.

"Alfredo", popularly known as Paul Mama Schall, whose "keyboard- manship" with reputable Ghanaian bands like Ramblers, Black Beats and Blue Monks in the seventies is well- remembered by those who appreciate good music, has set himself a big task of re-living the good old days with a large dose of current music trends.

The album featuring six songs made up of three highlife, two reggae and one disco-funk compositions, aptly fits into the picture that is painted on the cover an attempt to "bridge the gap and blend the rich and undis- covered African highlife music with West Indian reggae and the funk sounds of the Americas".

The opening number "Awuraba Akosua", a highlife possesses the ingredients for a toe-tapping and body- shaking engagement the only flaw being the lyrics and the singing which lack depth. However "Afrikaman", faintly reminiscent of an old Nigerian highlife tune and "Just after Jack", a rather familiar mournful tune given a different treatment, adequately compensate for the lapse.

"Share what we've got," "Keep on Skanking", both reggae numbers, somehow came out stronger and would no doubt also make a better impression on both dancers and listeners. Add the funky "State of confusion" which, unlike the impression the title creates, is a well-arranged piece with all the ingredients of excellent disco beat and you have a first solo album of a young Ghanaian keyboard musician.

One hopes that with this opening salvo which scores quite a good mark, Alfredo could come out soon with another one that would improve upon the first. Meanwhile, just get on with "A.P.M.S." and savour its different perspective.

What's going on

The West Theatre Company and the Africa Centre present WENZANI, WOMEN'S COMPANY in a play entitled "WENZANI, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" in February.

Directed by Adele Saleem, this play devised by the company from an idea by Goina Mhlope, features apartheid and exile as South African Women experience them. Wenzani deals with its themes in a series of linked sketches, scenes, poetry, songs, dance and audience participation.

In the Art Gallery of the Centre the Makerere community of Artists is exhibiting works under the title "The art that survives (Uganda 60s-80s) embracing works before, during and after the Idi Amin regime.

The first part of the show, which is already on, ends on February 1.

talking drums 1985-01-21 what hope for Africa's growing millions