Press Release: Yaaba Funk Album Launch

Saturday, 3 May 2014
Afro-Palace Live Sessions
Yaaba Funk – My vote dey count | Kakatsitsi Drummers | United Vibrations
New Empowering Church, Hackney



Throbbing analogue bass lines, driving syncopated drums and percussion, bad-ass horns and guitars which range from African sparkle to blues grit all fronted by the dynamic duo of Richmond Kessie and Helen McDonald – this is YAABA FUNK here. Unafraid of social politics, their message always comes with a distinctive beat; their unique blend of Hi-Life, Afrobeat and solid African Funk. Formed in Brixton in 2006, Yaaba Funk brings Ghana to London in their own spectacular way. Since releasing their first album ‘Afrobeast‘ in 2010, the band has gained national and international reputation. They have awed audiences with their electric live shows from Brixton to Liverpool, Rome, Zanzibar, Brussels, Milan and most recently at the Venice Biennale 2013. The band’s second album ‘My Vote Dey Count‘ is yet another testament to their dynamic approach to making organic dance floor oriented music. Special guests musicians joining them on stage will be ace trumpeter Byron Wallen and saxophonist extraordinaire Jason Yarde.


Kakatsitsi are a group of traditional drummers and singers from the Ga tribe of Southern Ghana, with their roots in the fishing community of Jamestown. The Ga are extraordinary hand drummers, who produce distinct tones which add a truly melodic quality to their rhythm. The one special aspect of all these rhythms is a strong dancing beat. These rhythms and songs are of a ritual and ceremonial nature played for royals. Kakatsitsi’s music combines time-honoured drumming grooves played on a wide variety of drums with traditional chants sung in five part trance-inducing harmonies. Kakastisti have gained an extraordinary reputation with a series of UK tours over the past 15 years. Last summer they played to an ecstatic crowd at Glastonbury where they collaborated with dance music duo The Orb. Kakatsitsi’s music is an irresistible, exhilarating and exuberant mix which is hard not to dance to – this is the roots of afro-funk.

Born from Inner Space, on a journey of cosmic magnitude via darkest Deptford, South London, may I introduce United Vibrations this incredible quartet fuses the raw rudiments of jazz, afro, psychedelia and punk and the result is quite spectacular by all proportions. Huge low-end grooves and anchored free-spirited experimentation, recall John Coltrane and Sun Ra, with any band member capable of taking the lead and directing the sound into uncharted territory. To encapsulate their sound, they boldly created their own term 12 Tone, which reflects the cultural melting pot of their surroundings and their world view. Accompanied by poignant chants, this virtuoso South London 4 piece will take you on a transcendental voyage of cosmic proportions.

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