– THE CHARM OFFENSIVE –
Leeds-based producer and singer-songwriter The Rail Abandon (or Sonny Johns, as he’s known to his Mum) likes West African music.
He likes it so much that his previous work has seen him collaborate with the likes of Ali Farka Touré, Oumou Sangaré, Tony Allen, Cheihk Lô and Fatoumata Diawara.
In fact, Johns likes it to such a degree that he elected to pack up his belongings little over a year ago and make his way to the village of Kalba, North Ghana to make an album.
Like you do.
There, he joined up with Ghanaian xylophone master Isaac Birituro (nephew of Kakraba Lobi – also a virtuoso on the instrument) to record the album Kalba… in a church (as it was the only place that had reliable electricity)… in three days.
What resulted is the sort of music that conveys the chaos, the camaraderie and the sheer bloody good fun that presumably comes from recording a record under such circumstances.
Yesu Yan Yan, which translates as “Welcome!” is the opening track of that record. And what a welcome it is. Even after you’ve been taken in by Birituro’s playing, you still have the treats of several dense layers of percussion, horns, flutes and the fantastic voices of The Kalba Birifore Choir to come.
It’s a track to dance to. It’s a track to forget all your cares to. Fuck it, why don’t we all just give up all our worldly possessions and travel to a remote African village if this is the sort of jubilation that results from such endeavours.
Kalba is released on 31 May.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX:
You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –