Long before Awesome Tapes From Africa, I was in Ghana as a student in 2002 where I met a lot of musicians. One musician SK Kakraba was around the university working a lot and his uncle was super famous for his gyil (wooden xylophone made of calabash gourds with spiderweb silk covers the holes for buzzing) mastery. Hailing from Lobi country in Upper West Region, Ghana, SK was a young and active member of the music community around Accra. We stayed in touch over the years, crossing paths again later when I returned to Ghana. Now he lives in LA (where I am currently based) and we’ve been hanging out and thought it would be cool to release a record. I feel like SK is doing something truly amazing and we must share his virtuosity and brilliant craft with the world. (He also builds and sells gyils; SK pretty much lives and breathes this instrument during waking hours).
Coming out Oct 2, “Songs of Paapieye” is a collection of traditional songs and modes from SK’s hometown. Solo gyil, very intense, very beautiful. This is the first time ATFA has done a new recording as an official LP/CD/Digital/Tape release. Liner notes describe the background of each piece and there are some lovely SK photos to boot.