Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

ATAKORA MANU: Party Party (AMA 852) 'Na My Choice' 'Metwe Ama Wo' 'Menenam' / 'Medofo Baako' 'Awiee' 'Koo

Mensa' Wo Penye Ho' After the rather patchy Bre Bre Na Eye (PMA 004) Atakora Manu, whose Omintiminim and Disco Hi-Life made a significant impact on the hi-life scene both in his native Ghana and abroad, attempts to stretch himself with this latest release. Recorded at the Kumasi Ambassador studio (whose recording is fast losing quality) and released in London by Stibaka Music Production, Party Party does not appear to aim at any particular audience but contains some interesting spots.

Lead singer Amoaka Agyemang who sings every Atakora Manu song, recounts the lack of domestic service from his partner in 'Na My Choice' while Ama Serwaa shares the vocals with him in 'Metwe Ama Wo'. Nothing extraordinary happens in either track except when the hornsmen change the tempo at the tail end of the 'Metwe Ama Wo'. Tommy King's short but poignant trumpet brightens the music which appears to suffer from poor production. The concluding 'Menenam' on the A-side is, however, an exception. With superb lyrics and neat arrangements Atakora Manu is more likely to reach his Ghanaian audience with this track. The most lovely of all is the almost impecc- able guitar works of wizard guitarist Eric Agyemang who strikes his 'blue notes' here. The vocal call and answer fits the mood of the entire while Ralph Karikari's strong bass line carries the load of instruments.

Except 'Koo Mensa' and, to a limited extent 'Wo Penye Ho', the rest of the tracks on the B-side possess enough good things for Atakora Manu to be happy about. While 'Medofo Baako' may sound almost straight-forward as a hi-life 'Awiee' retains some Zairean feel that might make it the best on the side.

On the whole, the cream of Kumasi session musicians Eric Agyemang, Tommy King, Marcelo de Souzey, Elder Osei Bonsu, Kwame Owusu and Yoko Tawiah did their best but a better recording could have made a lot of difference. It is a bit too early to judge the reaction of the listening public but...

YOULOU MABIALA: 1x2=Mabe (AP 050) Le Corps Refuse... 1x2=Mabe' /'Ondole Lea' 'Hardy Jose'

If there is one Congolese musician who has never come out with a mediocre material it must be Prince Youlou Mabiala. Carte Postale to Beyouna, Youlou has always demonstrated by his singing, arrangements and tempo, that he is indeed the Prince of Congo music. I have recently heard a lot from both Congo and Zaire but IX2=Mabe is exceptional quality and dance that would make even the amputated move.

The introductory guitar work of the openi 'Le Corps Refuse... is a magnificent structure that makes me refuse to agree with the title; I am sure your body will not refuse to tune up to the music. The vocal harmony, guitar duets and the brass incursions seal off the warmth of the music while Youlou's own beautiful leads the entire group into a hot soukous. seems to me that 'Le Corps Refuse. should have been the album title single '1x2=Mabe' is of a more gentler style which might entertain those who prefer cooler versions of Congo music. As if by design the B-side too begins with a clumsy guitar style which baffles rather than puts you off. 'Ondolea Le= then paces into a Caribbean beat before finally settling as a real soukous. The real thing begins halfway through with the horns and it's all hot guitars till the end. I have never heard any such hot guitar since the last one month whether from Congo or Zaire. You could be dancing all day unless you are in the bath. Even the concluding 'Hardy Jose' has some pleasant moments as a track.

A.B. Crentsil Tours - U.S.A. and Canada

Wazuri Productions, a Toronto-based recording company, under the directorship of Alfred Schall has announced the signing of a recording contract with the famous Ghanaian musician, A.B. Crentsil.

Mr Crentsil, (popularly known as 'A.B.) has arrived in Toronto to start a North American tour which will include shows in Toronto (November 2), New York City (November 8), Washington D.C. (November 9) and Detroit (November 29), Chicago (November 30).

The North American tour is to coincide with the release of a new highlife album by A.B. Crentsil on the Wazuri label with the title "Toronto By Night' (WAZ 101) recorded in Toronto. At a reception held in honour of A.B. Crentsil, Dr Thaddy Ulzen, Vice President, Public Affairs of Wazuri Productions, indicated that Wazuri Productions, a company founded and operated by veteran Ghanaian musicians, now resident in Toronto, is dedicated to enhancing the popularity of African music world-wide in the interest of the African musicians.

He expressed the hope that the existence of a strong and international production company committed to African music such as Wazuri, will reduce the incidence of record boot- legging which in recent times has robbed African musicians of the just rewards of their efforts.

He noted that the signing of A.B. Crentsil to the Wazuri label is a credit to the reputation of the organization which, although young, has scored major suc- cesses, the most recent one being the highly popular recording APMS In Perspective' by the Ghanaian keyboard player Alfredo Mama Schall, featuring the high song 'Ewuraba Akosua'.

A.B. Crentsil is expected to return to Ghana at the end of November.

Poets' Corner

Inside Out

You are touching the wall
With your dehydrated fingers
You are watching raindrops
Washing down the smot in anger.
The wall is smeared, smeared
In rot.
Go wash your hands
The rain is falling in drips.

Akeh-Ugah Ufumaka,
Bronx, New York.

talking drums 1985-11-11 Nigeria the IMF Recipe - when st bob geldof went marching in