Sunday, 19 February 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #69 - Edzayawa, "Projection One"

Some teen mid-Seventies Afro-rock from Ghana via Fela Kuti's Nigerian compound. Influenced I read on the Soundway label's website by the 6/8 rhythm with the Ewe people from south east Ghana and western Togo. Strange to think of influence moving in that way over rock music, but I suppose this was 1973 and there were flautists in cod pieces cleaning up across the Midwest United States. I shouldn't be surprised.

The opener, "Darkness", has a positive message for the kids about freedom and love. Although "give yourself to God" doesn't have a deafening ring of freedom to it. The bass has a pleasing clipping rasp to it. If it is a bass. But the lyrics are not around for too long: it's much more about the groove.

"Naa Korle" fills a funky gap, as you might expect. Trembling guitar, insistant organ and waves of percussion. Instrumental - although the language barrier is far more of an added extra than a problem. (Especially when you are as poor at listening out for lyrics as I am.) I suppose it's just like listening to Y Niwl for people from outside Wales.

Odion "Comrade" Iruoje, the producer, is widely credited (from what I've read) as being the creative force with these young Ghanian lads. The Albini to their Cloud Nothings. I don't know enough about African music of the Seventies or any other decade to pronounce on that question. But he is at least a shaft of light falling across an outfit otherwise rather too obscure for even the interweb to spill about.

I'm aware that I'm circling around a vague imperialist trap of enjoying the ethnicity of it all. Oh, how fascinating, these chaps have a Hammond organ! But aside from the time signatures and the language, it sounds like rock music. Or is that the danger? Oh, my head spins!

"Abonsan" is sleeker perhaps than all the rest, absorbing more of the funk feel - but it changes gear than once, with greasy guitar licks set against optimistic harmonies. "Obuebee" and "Adesa" are a little more frantic. All three have a bit of laddish choral singing. But it's all chained together by the organ sound. Similar bones to The Specials: Lagos twinned with Coventry? I'm reminded a bit of north Wales rockers Jen Jeniro as well. Just a sense of a room full of quiet, intense young fellers.

This was their only album and they called it a day a couple of years later. Shame.

Rating: Reaching To Me out of Somewhen Else

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