May 10, 2013

The Ogyatanaa Show Band - Yerefrefre (GET IT!)

The Ogyatanaa (or "burning torch") Show Band was founded in 1971 by Kwadwo Donkoh, a former diplomat turned highlife musician and record producer.  I don't have much information about Donkoh, yet I consider him one of the big names in Ghanaian highlife, a behind-the-scenes figure and master arranger/composer.  In addition to his work with Ogyatanaa, Donkoh founded Agoro records in the early 1970s.  Agoro released diverse popular and traditional records, and later it would introduce the first albums by Ga cultural groups like Wulomei.

On this first album by the Ogyatanaa Show Band, we have classic tracks like "Mmobrowa" and a funky "Yaa Amponsah," yet my absolute favorite here is the "Yerefrefre" medley on side one, a twenty minute long track which pays tribute to Ghana's highlife greats.  Musicians like E.K. Nyame, C.K. Mann, King Onyina, E.T. Mensah, Nana Ampadu, and K. Gyasi are acknowledged, while hit songs by these artists are also "quoted" throughout the medley.  The group switches rapidly between songs, offering snippets of such tunes as E.T. Mensah's "All for you" and the Black Beats' "Lai momo."

A big "THANK YOU" goes again to 


If the name of the 70s Ghana funky highlife sensation “Ogyatanaa" somehow sounds familiar, you probably have the excellent Soundway collection “Ghana Soundz” – volume one or two; or the “Ghana Special” compilation. Ogyatanaa appear on all these excellent compilations.

Excerpt from the album back-cover written by Kwesi Yankah:

“It is difficult to talk about the best in the highlife sounds of the seventies, and not to mention the music of the Ogyatanaa Show Band. In 1971 it is established. Barely a year later in its very infancy it takes second position in the National Dance Bands competition (small bands) – taking the whole of Ghana by storm with its unique and yet to be surpassed arrangement of the highlife classic “Yaa Amponsah” gratefully served on this album. In 1973 it turns the highlife world topsy-turvy with the hit tunes “Mmobrowa” “Ebe Yie Nie” and others. In 1974 it goes into seclusion; it does not rest, mind you, it begins home-working on a big something – a big something which eventually materialises in 1975, in the precious album you hold now!”



A Yerefrefre
B1 Agya Nyame
B2 Akosua Manu
B3 Mmobrowa
B4 Bozin'
B5 Yaa Amponsah

1 comment:

  1. Excellent jams, loved it, Thank you very much.