Top 5

- Yamoah's Band - Noble Adu Kwasi - Mawuli Decker - City Boys - Canon du Zaire

- John AfroBase

After spending years of rummaging through rock, jazz and experimental music, I discovered something special – in 1975 some Congolese and Nigerian LPs appeared in a local second-hand shop and turned my world upside down. From the political revelations of Fela Kuti to the supreme guitar and vocal work of Franco’s TPOK Jazz on to the afrolatin diaspora, this music became totally infectious and I just kept burrowing deeper. Clubs and then radio beckoned in the 80s, so I was mixing up the styles. Here are some old records for what is essentially my Ghanaian top 5 – well nearly – I had to slip in a favourite Congolese (Zaire) track as well! You can check our weekly mix of old and new on AfroBase. Hope you enjoy the selection…


Canon Du Zaire
Kady (AfricaMania)

- Canon du Zaire


«This album features a double joy. Not just the wonderful work of two Congolese vocal legends in Djo Mpoy and Josky Kiambukuta Londa, both of whom at various times had been part of Franco’s magnificent and highly influential music machine – OK Jazz, but also some deliriously hypnotic guitar lines. No other specific musician credits on this Don Dass produced album sadly, but the writer credit goes to Luzolo-Sunda.»

City Boys International
Obere (Owu Aye Bone – Diram 1982)

- City Boys


«Ghanaian highlife meets a touch of afrobeat on this essential track. Mr Obuoba J.A. Adofo was their main man and pictured on the album playing an incredible guitar fashioned like a huge pistol with large white spots on the grip. Beautiful vocals and check the cool keyboards too. Recorded before they took to drum machines later on.»

Mawuli Decker
Mawu Nafako Nam (Ayo Special – Step Production 1983)

- Mawuli Decker


«Mawuli Decker is from the Volta region of Ghana and had releases going back to 1975, but the musical influence here is wider than that. Note the guitar work is credited to another Franco stalwart Dizzy Mandjeku (he also played with the other greats Verckys, Tabu Ley, and Sam Mangwana) and you can hear the Congolese sound coming through loud and clear.»

Yamoah’s Band
Abotare (Asem Sebe – Rainbow 1974)

- Yamoah's Band


«Another Ghanian genius is guitarist/composer Peter Kwabena Yamoah. He created the band right back in 1956, and the notes say this was only their 2nd album release. He had top vocalists back then and the funky bass and keyboard lines on this Dagomba Highlife track are totally addictive. There are now a number of downloadable compilations of his hits but those mp3’s lack the power of his albums.»

Noble Adu Kwasi & Sweet Sounds International Band

Manye Ani (Aworabole – Sanwi Star)

- Noble Adu Kwasi


«A singer from Ghana in a highlife style that draws on soukous like Mawuli Decker and produced for the Sanwi Star label in Abidjan, Ivory Coast somewhere around the early 80s. It seems he produced a few albums around this time in the Ivory Coast. Thanks to Greg Villanova for the introduction by playing this on our show a few years back.»

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