Ebo Taylor - Appia Kwa Bridge
76-year-old Ghanaian highlife legend mixes finger-picking with grainy voice
A happy consequence of the archival boom in 1970s African pop is the return of 76-year-old Ghanaian highlife legend Ebo Taylor. Appia Kwa Bridge might not be innovative, but neither is it a dry exercise in retromania. Despite their scholarly name, Berlin-based Afrobeat Academy bring a life-affirming energy to these timeless grooves, and Taylor himself is in superb voice, his jazzy guitar runs as deft as ever. A Fante war cry set to rolling polyrhythms, stabbing organs and rousing horns, ‘Ayesama’ is a stirring opener. Most affecting is ‘Barrima’, an acoustic lament for Taylor’s late wife. In a curious echo of the American primitive guitarist John Fahey, Taylor works devotional Bach-like harmonies into his finger-picking, a graceful counterpoint to his grainy voice.