Friday 25 October 2013
Afro-Palace Live Sessions
EBO TAYLOR & The Afrobeat Academy | YAABA FUNK
New Empowering Church, Hackney
EBO TAYLOR & The Afrobeat Academy
Ebo Taylor is one of the leading lights of Ghana’s guitar highlife music. He played an important role in shaping Ghana’s musical landscape in the 60s and the 70s, with a style that fused jazz, highlife and funk that was unique only to him. Like contemporary Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti, Ebo left his homeland in the mid 60s to attend the Eric Gilder School of Music where both musicians became close friends. On his return he honed his craft with leading big bands of West Africa like Stargazers and Broadway Dance Band, but in the early 80s political, economic and aesthetic changes in Ghana brought his career to a standstill.
However the musician, producer, and arranger’s ability to mix traditional African rhythms with Funk and Soul has made his records coveted among African and Afro-beat record collectors worldwide. In 2007 Soundway Records released the first edition of Ghana Soundz compilations that saw the revival of his career, and subsequent tour of Europe, South America, Russia and Japan, backed by the Afrobeat Academy – a collective of seasoned and highly accomplished musicians featuring members of Poets Of Rhythm, Kabu Kabu and legendary Ghanaian afro funk outfit Marijata. In 2010 Strut Records signed up Ebo Taylor, for his first ever internationally released studio album (Life and Death) to critical acclaim, followed by Apia Kwah Bridge, which features the Afro-beat heavy weights Tony Allen, percussionist Pax Nicholas and guitarist/bassist Oghene Kologbo all veterans of Fela’s Africa 70 band. The decision to record with a Farfisa organ rather than a digital keyboard and on tape instead of a computer reinforces that vintage authenticity.
Formed in Brixton in 2006, Yaaba Funk brings Ghana to London in their own spectacular way . Huge energy, rock solid syncopation, deep bass and tight horn section, fronted by the dynamic duo of Richmond Kessie and Helen McDonald, Yaaba Funk have gained a reputation as one of London’s hottest and most original live acts. Gritty highlife, afro-funk and brokenbeat is combined with stunning vocals, heavy anlaog synth bass lines and raucous percussion to create the perfect recipe to keep the dance floor quaking all night. Since releasing their first album ‘Afrobeast‘ in 2010, the band has gained both national and an international reputation. They have dazzled audiences with their electric live shows from Brixton to Liverpool, Rome, Zanzibar, Brussels, Milan and most recently at the Venice Biennale 2013 at the invite of Turner Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. The band’s yet to be released second album ‘My Vote Dey Count‘ is mixed and mastered by Daz-I-Kue (Bugz in the Attic) is yet another testament to their dynamic approach to making dancefloor oriented music. Guests featured on this album are the crème de la crème of London’s music scene they include Idris Rahman, Robin Hopcraft (Soothsayers) and jazz ace Jason Yarde on horns. Nick Ramm (Fontanelles/Hello Skinny) on keyboard/synthesizer. Yaaba Funk is definitely the band to watch in the coming years.
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