Masekela introducing Hedzoleh Soundz
“Adade” from the album Repkete
Hugh Masekela, the South African trumpter, did a record in Ghana with Accra afro-rock band Hedzoleh Soundz.
This music sounds deep. Hedzoleh Soundz were supposed to get big like Osibisa. They didn’t. Nevertheless, we got this tape, a stoned trumpet masterpiece. Just listen.
I met Faisal Helwani, the man who produced Rekpete. He was involved in many other essential Ghanaian highlife, afro-rock, and afro-pop albums through the 60s, 70s and 80s. A sort of impresario back in the day, Helwani had brought Fela to Ghana for the first time. He promoted shows and organized tours in the region between Ghana and Nigeria.
Helwani had this sick nightclub in his house in the 70s called the Napoleon Club. Live shows featuring all kinds of bands, from traditional drum and dance groups to rockin’ psych-highlife, often went all night at this backyard club three blocks from the sea.
Today the nightclub is no more and the pillared balconies of the once grand home are literally crumbling, the coconut palms dying.