Awesome Tapes From Africa will release Ghanaian singer and instrumentalist Bola’s Volume 7 on April 3. Bola’s music combines the age-old mode of griot story-telling and the kologo—a two-stringed traditional lute with a calabash gourd resonator—with drum machines, synths and bone-shaking bass. The album follows the new label’s first release Nâ Hawa Doumbiaʼs La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3, which received critical praise from the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, SPIN, The Wire, The Guardian, Dazed and Confused, PRI’s “The World,” BBC World Service, Time Out New York, Village Voice and eMusic, among others.
As a teenager in the Upper East Region of Ghana, where he grew up herding livestock in the savannah, Bola made his first kologo out of a plastic gallon tub. Traditionally, kologo performances occur at pito (local beer made from fermented millet or sorghum) bars, weddings, funerals, festivals or spontaneous jams on the street. Bola honed his craft in these environments. Inspired by Ghanaian kologo pioneers including Atongo Zimba, King Ayisoba and his primary mentor Guy One, the 27-year-old is helping evolve music from his native Frafra-speaking region into something new for the 21st century.
Volume 7, which came out in 2009, is part of a large catalog of recordings Bola has released on CD and cassette in last few years. The album will be available on CD, LP, digital download and limited edition cassette.
The track “Abayetidu Ma” is available to stream or download at http://bit.ly/BolaATFA002.
View an acoustic performance on the street in Ghana at http://bit.ly/BolaVideo
Awesome Tapes From Africa began in 2006 as an mp3 blog shedding light on regional music scenes and locally-produced cassettes from the African continent. It has grown into an internationally recognized, crowd-sourced public archive and acclaimed DJ project. Founder Brian Shimkovitz began by digitizing and blogging about cassettes he brought back from trips to West Africa and has since received tapes from fans and contributors, creating an extensive online repository for popular, traditional and folkloric musics from dozens of countries. The Guardian, The New York Times, Fader, The Wire, ArtForum, Rolling Stone, BBC Radio 6, Village Voice, and New York Magazine, among others, have hailed the project for its enthusiastic and open-armed approach to sharing otherwise hard-to-find music with listeners worldwide.