KonKoma - Kpanlogo by Soundway Records published on 2012/03/23 12:46:47 +0000 “KonKoma is the name of a tribe in Northern Ghana. They are very colorful and the rhythms are wonderful. This band is like a live rebirth of Ghana’s music from the 70s and 80s, it feels like very authentic and rhythmic Ghanaian music.” Alfred ‘Kari’ Bannerman London based Afro-funk outfit KonKoma will release their self-titled debut on Soundway Records on June 25th. Rooted in 1970s Ghana the group was produced and formulated by saxophonist Max Grunhard and producer Ben Lamdin (Nostalgia 77). The idea was to create a band around two highly esteemed Ghanaian musicians - Alfred Bannerman and Emmanuel Rentzos. Both are mercurial talents who over the years have graced the stage with the likes of Bobby Womack, Hugh Masakela and Peter Green as well as being long term members of the Afro-rock band Osibisa, but it wasn’t until KonKoma that the two old friends have had a band built around the two of them. The English-speaking West African country was the destination of Soundway’s acclaimed compilation series Ghana Soundz Afro-Beat, Funk And Fusion in 70’s Ghana. It has been a long held ambition for the label to work with a contemporary Ghanaian band who can push the country’s unique take on Afro-beat and highlife forward. KonKoma adds a progressive edge to their rich blend of Afro-funk, jazz, soul and traditional African rhythms as well as acknowledging the 70s recordings that spawned the sound. Produced by Max Grunhard and Ben Lamdin, the album was recorded and mixed by Mike Pelanconi (aka Prince Fatty) in Brighton. Guitarist Alfred Bannerman, founding member of teenage Afro-rock band Boombaya (featured on the Soundway compilation Ghana Special) has remained one of the mainstays of the UK’s African music scene for more than 20 years. Keyboardist Emmanuel Rentzos has been playing alongside his fellow Ghanaian since the early 1970s when he was the lead singer of the young Ghanaian outfit Santrofi. Once Max and Ben had won the support of Alfred and Emmanuel, Ghanaian musicians and now key members of KonKoma, Nii Tagoe and Reginald ‘Jojo’ Yates came on board. As Nii explained in a recent interview with Soundway, it didn’t take much to persuade him. “If Alfred and Emanuel say, “Jump!” I would say, `’How high?” Nii Tagoe, a member of the Pan African Dance Troupe for over 20 years and the most natural frontman on stage, takes lead vocals on ‘Kpanlogo’ a ferocious up-tempo Afro-funk number that took it’s inspiration from a traditional Ghanaian dance where the movement of a dancer mimics the movement of a snake. Likewise Nii Tagoe found his inspiration for ‘Sibashaya Woza’ in a traditional dance from Zululand. Celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year, Soundway’s Ghana Soundz compilation featured amongst others, Ebo Taylor, who inspired a young Alfred Bannerman in his formative years growing up in Cape Coast. Alfred fondly remembers breaking out of his house as a child to hear the big highlife bands of the 60s play in his home town in Central coastal Ghana. 10 years on from that inaugural release Soundway have signed a living, breathing live re-birth of the music found on their seminal Ghanaian compilations. KonKoma make their live debut at The Rich Mix in London on 1st June.