Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, the modern-day leaders of Ghanaian highlife music are back to perform tracks from their sophomore release ‘Obiaa!’.
The album, produced again by Kwame Yeboah and Ben Abarbanel-Wolff at Lovelite Studio’s analogue HQ in Berlin, is a deep and soulful journey into the heart of Ghana’s indigenous highlife music celebrating the timeless and iconic voice of Pat Thomas, the 72 year-old “Golden Voice of Africa”.
After producing Ebo Taylor’s seminal albums ‘Love and Death’ and ‘Appia Kwa Bridge’ for Strut Records, in 2014 Ben Abarbanel-Wolff approached Kwame Yeboah, Ghana’s top contemporary instrumentalist and bandleader, to work on a new project:
“We initially wanted to invite Pat back into the studio with Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen to recreate and expand on some of the vibes they had recorded together during a lost session in 1977,” Ben explains. Recorded in Accra, the result was the critically acclaimed self-titled debut album ‘Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’ in 2015.
Pat and the Kwashibu Area Band (named after Kwame’s neighbourhood in Accra) hit the road back in October 2015. After a memorable performance at WOMEX in Budapest, they never looked back. The next two years took them around the world to play at major venues and festivals including Glastonbury, Roskilde, WOMAD, Sakifo, WOMADelaide, Sines and many more.
“We could see there was something for everyone in our music. People of all ages, colours and trends were all dancing together!” explains Kwame, the mastermind behind the band’s unbelievable precision and killer live show.
The new album is called ‘Obiaa!’ which means ‘Everybody!’. Tracks include the modern parables ‘Onfa Nkosi Hwee’ warning against arrogance and ‘Odo Ankasa’ about the value of real love and trust as well as a great new cover of Thomas’ Afro-disco favourite ‘Yamona’.
“Playing highlife around the world taught us what we had to do to move our sound forward,” continues Ben. While simultaneously looking back towards the classic days of highlife and forward to a modern revival of the guitar band sound, this album puts Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band exactly where they belong: at the front, dancing with everybody.