Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review By Staccato


(Aboa oni dua, Mon we Mma yen, Ma mendwen me ho/Biribi dze mu, I go pay you tomorrow)

A B Crentsil must rank as the most prolific composer in Ghana today. The only other musician who could perhaps also lay claim to this position is Nana Ampadu of African Brothers Band. However, by sheer turnout of hit albums alone Crentsil is at the top and should still have more up his sleeve. And the joy in all this is that this composer is consistent and has humour galore, which is quite evident from "Adam and Eve" recorded with Sweet Talks in 1975 right through 13 albums to "Toronto by Night". The irrepressible Crentsil discovered the secret of churning out hit recordings - humorous lyrics sung in Fanti or Pidgin English - heavily laced with highly rhythmic beat and has never looked back.

This latest recording made in Toronto, Canada, with veteran session musicians must be the record that will shake all Christmas parties right across North America, Europe and probably Ghana, where the real action is. The album opens with "Aboa onni dua", a common Ghanaian proverb which reflects on the fact that God looks after His helpless followers. The party mood is set right- say away with strong drums in the funky vein with Alfred Schall giving a good performance on keyboard.

The drum introduction that begins the second track "Montwe mma yen" leads into a lead vocal backed by beautiful harmonic singing which merge into the special Crentsil touch calling on Ghanaian women to give in to their menfolk because the men are ready to 'die' for them...

If you want to show off your dancing ability the song gives plenty of opportunity for that. "Ma mendwen me ho" ends side one on a rather sad note about the plight of hard working Ghanaians abroad who send money home only to discover later that it has been squandered by irresponsible relatives

"Biribi-dze mu", translates loosely, "something is holding it" opens the flip side. It is a song created on the Yaa Amponsa melodic structure and allows the horns section to give a good account of themselves with fine riffs. "I go pay you tomorrow", in my estimation, is the best track. A slow number very reminiscent of the palm wine bar improvisation with solid horns background which would never fail to move dancing couples to do the right thing - smoooch!

Again, Crentsil digs into his bottomless receptacle for a humorous edge to even a serious issue - impecuniosity or as we at home "brokages." So if the Akpeteshie (local gin) seller gives the man some drink on the slate he would drink and forget his problem for the day. I dare say this is hardly a way to solve personal problems but under the circumstances, what the hell. Right on, everybody, this Christmas will be an unforgettable one with "Toronto by Night". If you ask me, this album must rank as his best so far. Check it out.

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