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KALITA

Nana Tuffour

Sikyi Medley

    Kalita Records and CC:EDITIONS (a new venture by Australia’s CC:DISCO) jointly announce a 12” EP comprised of four of Nana Tuffour’s greatest electronic burger highlife tracks, accompanied by interview-based liner notes. Here, in partnership with Nana, we select two highly sought-after songs from his 1993 release ‘Genesis’, namely ‘Sikyi Medley’ and ‘M’Anu Me Ho’, and pair them his with two lesser known yet equally deserving tracks ‘Asamando’ and ‘Jesus’ from his 1997 CD-only release ‘Highlife Tropicana’.

    Hailing from Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region in Ghana, Nana Tuffour is by far one of the most important exponents of modern highlife music. He studied piano at college and cut his teeth in the '70s as an organist and vocalist for the incomparable Kyeremanteng Atwede and Dr. K Gyasi’s Noble Kings Band.

    Fast forward to 1981 and Ghana was at the apex of its golden age of music. This era was brought to an abrupt end by political upheaval when the military took over the government and as a result a restrictive dusk to dawn curfew was imposed between 1982 and 1984. This resulted in a total obliteration of the country's night life, and Nana just like many other prominent musicians including Pat Thomas and George Darko left Ghana for greener pastures, the most popular destinations being Nigeria and Germany. The Rheinklang Studio in Düsseldorf run by a young inimitable German sound engineer Bodo Staiger and another “exiled” Ghanaian musician Charles Amoah played a crucial role for those musicians who had chosen Germany. This studio became the focal point for Ghanaian musicians and the birthplace of a new sound, now known as 'Burger highlife' - traditional Ghanaian highlife infused with the more up to date electronic and disco sounds of the West. It is arguable that Nana has played a crucial role in Burger highlife and developing the sound of traditional Ghanaian highlife more widely to what it is today, with his innovative use of electronic accompaniment pushing its boundaries to its creative extremes.

    It is Burger highlife's transcendence of traditional musical boundaries that helps make it so accessible to listeners, appealing not only to Ghanaians back home but now highly regarded and sought-after by those in the West interested in more occidental disco and electronic sounds. We hope that you enjoy the four songs offered here, each chosen to demonstrate Nana's singular influence on the development of Burger highlife.

    Carrie Cleveland

    Looking Up: The Complete Works

    Kalita Records keep their hot streak molten with a first, frankly definitive discography of Carrie Cleveland, an expanded version of her 1978 album ‘Looking Up’, including both the issue and promotional versions of her single ‘Make Love To Me’, and the previously unknown sweet soul single ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’.

    Privately arranged, recorded and produced by Carrie and her husband Bill as a labour of love in their backyard studio in 1978, ‘Looking Up’ is one of the most in-demand soul/disco LPs in existence, sought-after in particular for their track ‘Love Will Set You Free’. In addition, the promotional version of Carrie’s single ‘Make Love To Me’ is one of the best and rarest sweet soul records to have emerged out of the West Coast soul scene, and her single ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ is until today virtually unknown even to the most seasoned of collectors, with even Carrie herself unsure if it was ever released. With the album originally pressed in a limited run of just 1000 with 500 copies of each single, original copies of Carrie’s records deservingly command eye-watering figures on the second-hand market. Kalita now satisfy the thirst with the first ever official reissue of her entire discography.

    The Kalita vinyl reissue consists of both the expanded album and a bonus 7” single, and is housed in a gatefold sleeve. The CD is accompanied by a mini-poster. Both the vinyl and CD releases include extensive interview-based liner notes and never before seen photos, detailing Carrie and Bills’ life and musical career.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Another slice of sweet, sweet soul from the Kalita stable, who put a wealth of Carrie Cleveland material (both released and otherwise) in this excellent retrospective collection.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: Includes bonus 7"

    CD Info: Includes mini poster

    Sophisticated Ladies

    This Ain't Really Love

    This is the first ever official reissue of the Sophisticated Ladies' sought-after 1980 New York disco single 'This Ain't Really Love', backed by a Mighty Zaf extended edit of their 1977 release 'Check It Out', and accompanied by interview-based liner notes. Here, the single will be available in its true 12” format, saving collectors and DJs alike from spending triple-digit figures on an original copy.

    First formed in 1955, the Sophisticated Ladies started their recording life as the R&B girl group The Bobbettes, originally consisting of five female vocalists (Jannie Pought, Emma Pought, Reather Dixon, Laura Webb and Helen Gathers). The group were signed to the Atlantic record label and were most known for their 1957 hit single ‘Mr. Lee’, which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Pop singles chart and remained #1 on the R&B chart for four weeks. They were in fact the first girl group to have a #1 R&B song which also was placed in the top ten of the singles chart.

    However, by the mid-1970s and with the emergence of the disco era, the Bobbettes changed their name to the Sophisticated Ladies. As Emma Patron (nee Pought) recalled to me in the winter of 2017, The Bobbettes’ success with ‘Mr. Lee’ had been both a blessing and a curse – on the one hand it had provided them with international fame, yet by the 1970s it had become a constant weight and drag upon the group, type-casting and inhibiting their development as artists. Thus, upon the suggestion of their managers and producers Joe Webb and Frank Fair, the name The Bobbettes was lost, replaced now by the Sophisticated Ladies. Not only did this provide the opportunity for a clean sheet, but it also allowed them to have an image change from a girl group to a female disco outfit; as Joe recalls, ‘when we changed the name and gave the band a more soulful, disco sound, it made a huge difference’.

    The Sophisticated Ladies (by this time consisting of Emma, Laura and Reather) released two singles between 1977 and 1980. They toured the southern states of America (whilst also touring internationally as the Bobbettes) and received radio airtime throughout the country. Here we have chosen to highlight their scarce, choice cut ‘This Ain’t Really Love’ and have invited The Mighty Zaf to re-work their version of Bobby Womack’s ‘Check It Out’, making it perfect for modern disco dancing.


    Okyerema Asante

    Sabi (Get Down)

    Kalita Records are extremely excited to announce their second release, Okyerema Asante's Ghanaian disco monster, 'Sabi (Get Down)'.

    After touring the world and recording with both Hugh Masekela and Oneness of Juju, 'Sabi (Get Down)' was Okyerema's first solo record, released privately in limited numbers on his label Atumpan Records in 1980/1. Recorded and manufactured in the USA, but only ever released on the African continent, this self-funded, scarce, and brilliant afro-disco LP regularly exchanges hands for eye-watering prices.

    This is the first time that 'Sabi (Get Down)' has ever been officially reissued, and we are happy to reproduce it in its original, 14 minute long form (check out Lady Eke Ete's amazing vocals at the 13 minute mark!), backed by the equally impressive 'That's My Girl' on the B side. In addition, we are glad to accompany it with extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before-seen photos, detailing Okyerema's career from his membership of Ghana's legendary band Hedzolleh to performing with Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac twenty years later.

    We hope that you love both tracks as much as we do, and invite you to join us in celebrating the musical world of Okyerema Asante!



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