Album Review

Frimpong, K. His Cubano Fiestas – “K. Frimpong” 1976″ – [Continental Records]

ArtCrimes   9/6/2011   12-inch, International

Alhaji K. Frimpong is one of the artists featured in Soundway’s “Ghana Sounds”??and “Ghana Special” compilations, and his tracks were notable there for his evolution of the highlife sound into something a bit more influenced by Western rock conventions, with horns being less prominent than in more typical highlife. The backing band here (known as “Vis a Vis” on their own recordings without Frimpong) is nowhere near as Cuban-influenced as that of more traditional highlife bands, despite their adopted name here: “Cubano Fiestas.” Frimpong’s vocal style and use of electronic keyboards gives these 1976 recordings (his “Blue” record, as opposed to the self-titled “Black” one released in 1977) a distinct style falling somewhere in betweeen highlife and garage rock, more of an an Afro-rock sound. The sleeve notes the participation of “Africa’s No. 1 Drummer,” Kung Fu Kwaku, and his role cannot be underestimated, as he adds a lot of personality as well, with his beats often just as interesting as Frimpong’s own singing. “Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu,” the lead track here, is among his best known recordings. Frimpong passed away in 2005. <crimes>

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