Awesome Tapes from Africa is doing great work by bringing Africa’s finest musicians to European ears. Ata Kak was the first post on their blog, and we are happy that Obaa Sima has finally made it onto vinyl as well. The album displays a soulful enthusiasm and musical prowess straight from 1994 Ghana.
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Oh ATFA. What an utter legend Brian Shimkovitz is. Ata Kak's album was a chance roadside market stall discovery and due to his passion for this hidden music from the African musical depths it became the first ever post he made on his burgeoning blog almost a decade ago and has subsequently become the fourteenth release on what has become an undeniably important archive re-issue label worldwide. Crate digging deep into the very heart of the vast continent's little thrift shops and stalls to unearth forgotten and obscure masterpieces is this other Brian's passion (I wish I could trade jobs) and from the gorgeous lilting folk of Na Hawa Doumbia's rare as hell second album to the sweetly ecstatic organ-laced grooves of Hailu Mergia there is a tremendous sense of excitement attached to every discovery he has made available to a wider audience.
To say how rare the original cassette from this Ghanaian musician is (fifty copies only ever produced) It's a wonder that I'm listening to this right now. Seven tracks of perky lo-fi basement house and joyous casio-like rhythms topped with Ata's endearingly child-like party-starting lilt and sweet backing vocals from one Lucy Quansah, 'Obaa Sima' was recorded in Toronto, CA of all places! It took Shimkowitz absolutely ages to track down the roots of a recording with which he is undeniably smitten. With clear influences stemming from highlife and rap and the lighter end of old-skool techno and piano house, this little gem has been delighting folk on his website for years.
So much so he's bent to popular demand and finally introduced it into the physical realm on wax and CD. As it was painstakingly mastered from Brian's own cassette copy (after all that endless research it transpires the original masters had become too disintegrated to consider using) there are the usual to-be-expected faint traces of tape drop-out and light flutter but this matters not a jot, it sounds wonderful - he's done the world a real service here and put a real grin on this Brian's face.
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- Obaa Sima by Ata Kak
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