This is undeniable groove. In a way, it’s an indirect extension of the kind of harmony and syncopation I remember from Fode Sissoko years ago when he visited the band house in Wisconsin; this sound borrows more from true African roots than the Afro-Cuban Batucada we used to play in Madison, but it’s all in the name of backbeat, and clave, and a time-forward sort of energy. This here is Afrobeat, which originated in Ghana, and Nigeria, on the coast just north of the gulf of Guinea, whereas Senegalese kora music comes from the other side of Mali and the Ivory Coast, but I do think that a general paradigm of call-and-response which is evident in all of sub-saharan music creeps it’s way into this song as well.
I also get a feeling like some of the early ska from the Wailers, or Jimmy Cliff: that exuberant and unobsequious statement of personality inside a fresh new genre. But mostly it’s just fun to listen to, and creates welcome incongruence with my 4-on-the-floor brain.
So let’s break it down: it’s a slightly modified son clave, a 2-bar kick pattern, and a hella-funky tumbao. The elements are classic - but the spice is uniquely Ghanaian and these vocals would sound great on any dance floor around the world.
King Majik and Bawse make Afrobeat music in Toronto, Canada. This song is featured on our Groovy Summer playlist.