May 16, 2011

Joe Mensah - The African Hustle

Joe Mensah was a Ghanaian singer and keyboard player. He died in early 2003.

Here we have a classic album from "Bosueman" Joe Mensah. Recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, "The Afrikan Hustle" features Mensah's hit tune "Bonsue." This 17-minute long track incorporates elements of jazz, dance-band, and funk, all built over a Yaa Amponsah riff. I love this song for Mensah's rhythmically spoken outbursts (Bo Bo Bo Bo Bonsue!), but also for its unique opening. Here, each instrument enters one after the other, creating the effect of layers being built upon each other (a process which lasts for over two and a half minutes).

The other three songs on side two of this album are just as good, no surprise considering that Mensah is backed by none other than the Sweet Talks! Smark Nkansah & A.B. Crentsil appear here as guitarists, while providing backup vocals throughout the album. Who knew!


01. Bonsue
02. Ye Gbawa Oo Baba
03. Rokpokpo
04. Bere Bere

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