Bola - Volume 7 (4 stars)

The Ghanaian musician's sound is an inspired meeting of tradition and experiment

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Bola - Volume 7

A blog and now a label, Awesome Tapes From Africa has been exploring the cassette stalls of Western Africa for raw and unusual sounds since 2006. This is their second commercial release, a reissue of a 2009 tape by Ghanaian musician Bola.

His sound is an inspired meeting of tradition and experiment, where urgent vocals in the Frafra language soar over the spindly twang of the kologo (a two-stringed lute) and the syncopated pounding of drum machines. On ‘Makamiba’ and ‘Abayetidu Ma’, Bola’s griot storytelling is delivered in haunting, raspy bursts, while relentless beats are given extra wallop from funky piano and bass vamps. A potent combination, sublime in its edgy, vital beauty.

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