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PHILOPHON

The Polyversal Souls bring us their debut album ‘Invisible Joy’ with a storm of sound and energy. Produced at the Berlin based Ru-Ting Clan Sound Lab by Max Weissenfeldt (Whitefield Bros., Poets of Rhythm), the band invited artists from all around the world to join their musical journey. From the likes of Guy One, Ebo Taylor's son Roy X, Hailu Mergia, Afrika Baby Bam, Ana’abugre and freedom poet Y-Bayani. The result of all these talented and range of contributors create a beautiful piece of global raw soul ambience. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: With such a vast elective mix of artists this album is brimming with talent and vibrancy. Uplifting and full of variation, this is definitely worth listening to!

Lee Dodou & The Polyversal Souls

Basa Basa

As the lead singer of George Darko's legendary Burger-Highlife hit-band, Lee Dodou became the number one voice of 80's Highlife. Born in Kumasi, the epicenter of Ghanaian Highlife, he came to Berlin in the late 70's - by then the uprising epicenter of Burger-Highlife - to work as a back-up-singer for Pat Thomas. ‘Basa Basa’ is a song in the classic "concert party" style, as it was played in the glorious 60's. After a firey horn introduction Lee takes over in that funny and entertaining manner typical for "concert party" music. Buzz Duncker joins Lee's phrases with some gentle clarinet. Highlife at its best!

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Playful and upbeat rhythms, this seven inch is the pinnacle of vibrant Latin music.

Releasing an album into the world is a special moment for any artist but when you're an artist who grew up in remote northern Ghana with no schooling, spending a life herding cows and goats, building your own instruments and teaching yourself to sing, then there's a particular sense of occasion and celebration in finding recognition and an audience for that music.

This is the case for Guy One, an utterly unique artist who is writing and performing Frafra music, a style that originates from a small area in the north of Ghana. Whilst Guy One is already loved and adored locally by now - building up a fervent following in local villages in which no funeral or wedding would take place without his soaring voice and deeply rhythmic playing, before then transforming into an award-winning, TV appearing artist in Ghana - his music is now to find a much wider audience through Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon label (Jimi Tenor, Hailu Mergia, Alemayehu Eshete) on this Berlin meets Bolgatanga release.

Guy One's international debut #1 is an album rooted in tradition as much as it is the contemporary ("Frafra music Made in Germany" says drummer producer Max Weissenfeldt if he's forced to put a label on it) but given the fact that the traditionalism of Frafra music itself is a largely unknown force, the results are more even more potent and stirring in their creations. Choirs, trumpet, organ, bass, drums, synthesiser, vibraphone, saxophone and piano, the album is as bursting with instrumentation as it is ideas and innovation.

The album's perfect positioning between the old and the new and in taking that middle ground and launching it into completely new territory is enough to completely unglue the definitions of what music can be.





STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Upbeat and soulful, Guy One provides the best feel-good atmosphere. Reading the story behind how he writes music in itself is powerful and compelling. A must listen!

Following in the fine tradition of central Europe's exo/eso forefathers (check out 'Tropical Drums Of Deutschland' - Patch) Berlin's Philophon continue to bring us local musics from all across the globe, often reinforced with a little magic from their homeland. This time round their special guest is North Ghanaian Kologo master Guy One, who breezes through the A-side with "Everything You Do, You Do For Yourself", a heavy and heady bit of modern highlife with intricate plucked strings, a stomping beat and boomng bass horns. On "Estra", the first lady of Frafra-Gospel, Ms Florence Adooni, joins the ensemble, wrapping her gorgeous vocal around sinuous synthwork and Max Weissenfeldt's hot horn arrangements, before taking a backseat as Mr Guy One does his thang. One record, with two excellent tracks - we truly are living the highlife. 



Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids

Tinoge Ya Ta'a Ba, Pt. 1 & 2 (feat. Guy One)

2016 was the year for Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids: their album "We Be All Africans" (produced by Philophon and released on Strut Rec.) vaulted them among the global top acts of the current Spiritual Jazz renaissance. The strength of the group is its deep connection to Africa: not just that their music is inspired by the spirit of Africa, they actually founded themselves on an extended trip to the Motherland in 1972.

On that trip Idris Ackamoor visited the tiny town Bolgatanga in Northern Ghana to play with local Frafra musicians - an experience which changed his life. Now, after 45 years, Idris dives once more into the magical music of the Frafra people by teaming up with master musician Guy One, the no. 1 Kologo artist of the vital music scene of Bolgatanga. On "Tinoge Ya Ta'a Ba" Guy One sings about the power of unity - a unity you hear clearly on this Afro-Euro-American cooperation: a driving rhythm, a eulogizing saxophone, a gripping voice and in total a journey into another dimension.

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids

Rhapsody In Berlin Part 1 And 2

After the reissue of their three private pressed albums from the 1970s, followed by the release of a new album, The Pyramids - led by multi-instrumentalist, multi-talented artist - Idris Ackamoor - seem to have revived the burning fire that once gave birth to an ecstatic musical concept. The Pyramids' honest love for music, their firm belief in its social impact have shaped their story and style: after studying with free-jazz icon Cecil Taylor, the Pyramids left for a journey through Africa in 1972 where they connected with their cultural roots and developed their own musical vision.

On "Rhapsody in Berlin" this vision is still vibrating: a melodic horn theme interplays with a Pygmy flute, some driving riffs and a heavy funk rhythm. The music will walk you through an enchanted jungle that seems somewhat quiet at first - despite the sense of its hidden power. Suddenly but elegantly the music explodes and the saxophone takes off and flies freely before merging with a singing violin into an ecstasy of percussion.

This Philophon release is produced by Idris Ackamoor and Max Weissenfeldt at Ru-Ting Clan Sound Lab, Berlin.


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