“The world-renowned lineage of Kakraba Lobi's virtuosity lives on in Isaac Birituro as his deft vibes of dancing melodies cross the xylophone and shake the palm wine for this highlife soul collaboration with The Rail Abandon. Get a sweat on!” - Pete On The Corner
Wah Wah 45s are very proud to present their latest signing, a collaboration between Ghanaian xylophone master Isaac Birituro and Leeds-based producer and singer-songwriter Sonny Johns aka The Rail Abandon.
The lead single taken from this project is the uplifting Yesu Yan Yan, which was actually the very first song Isaac played to his new musical partner. A perfect marriage of brass, reed and wind instruments, backed by abundant percussion, a resonant bass-line and The Kalba Birifore Choir, it is also the opening track of the album and fittingly so, as it translates to “welcome!”
“This was the first track we recorded and I think it’s the one Isaac is the most proud of. It has the greatest number of performers on the record without losing the essence of the track (not every song can do that). It encourages you to play on it, to listen, to dance, to join in and it reminds me of the welcome I received both times I went to Kalba.” Sonny says.
Their spontaneous collaboration was a thing of serendipity that started over a couple of ‘Nica Libres’ shared by Sonny and––at that specific time, recently befriended––Tim and Svenja, of Rüt’n’Rock Festivals. Fuelled by Sonny’s love for West African music and years of experience with the sounds and culture of the area, he decided to embark on what proved to be a highly significant adventure.
Just one year later, guitar in hand and not really knowing what to expect, Sonny found himself in Kalba, North Ghana, building a mobile recording studio and making music with Isaac and local musicians in a church (the only place that had reliable electricity). Three days in and the album, Kalba, is born; quite an intense and special experience for everyone involved.
Isaac’s love for the xylophone is in his blood, passed down to him by his father and uncle (Kakraba Lobi) as he heartwarmingly expresses: “My father has travelled across the world entertaining people with his music and he builds xylophones too. I’ve followed in his footsteps. So I absolutely loved making this album and I’m grateful for the opportunity to play for people and demonstrate the beauty of the xylophone–– it means everything to me.”
An exciting, hypnotic and classy mix of William Onyeabor and Fela Kuti. Keyboards drive side A but the terrific ‘Simigwa Soca’ the brings in side B reveals the drums and highlife horns taking over to accompany this man’s amazing baritone vocals. Funky Ghana! Tim Mee