Getting Our Groove On in West Africa

>> May 8, 2010

Life without music would be meaningless.” - Niezsche
[Taken from a marquee billboard advertising the Ghana Music Awards 2010

One night, as we were wandering through our Asylum Down neighborhood in Accra, we heard some great reggae bumping from a small shop with a corrugated metal roof. Being who we are, and feeling the ongoing inspiration of our portable hard-drive of collected music, we popped in to say hello. To our great delight, we found ourselves in the doorway of the local DJ studio, with DJ Black Shanti hard at work transferring music from records into digital form.

Shanti is promoting some great reggae artists from Ghana and has some ideas about creating an internet radio station. His office and DJ studio is one block from the circle of Asylum Square in Accra. If you are there and want to meet Black Shanti and some of his artists - just ask for the Rasta DJ, everyone knows him.

Thanks to Shanti, we have now have some fantastic reggae from West Africa…coming soon to a city near you! We really look forward to adding it to the 600GB collection at Hotel Oso Perezoso, and carrying it with us to share and enjoy on the rest of our travels.

We had similar good fortune in meeting another local musician in West Africa, again just by happenstance. One hot, sweaty afternoon in Lomé, as we were enjoying a cold Ekko beer at a local bar, a gentleman came up to invite us to his nightclub that evening to listen to some live Togolaise jazz! We started to speak about our jazz culture of New Orleans, but the conversation peetered out: our French was more limited than his English and we seemed to be getting nowhere. But our new friend popped into the doorway next door and emerged with his friend Yawo, who spoke both English and Spanish!. Almost immediately, our ‘translator’ became a great friend. We waxed on and on about music and the United States and cities around the world (Yawo Attivor and his Afro-Fun Band have toured and played with musicians in Africa, North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East). We talked politics and economics and global friendship. Yawo turned us on to some great music from Togo, and even shared some of his own tracks with us. We love it! You can get a bit of your own Yawo on .

Another music exchange happened in Lomé, where we shared part of our collection to a budding young guitar player who managed the internet café one block from our hotel (La Patience) in Lome’.

And for the music lovers of this blog that need a bit of a soundtrack, here are a few of our other favorites (some of which you can listen to online for FREE!).

Listen to WRIU Rhode Island of Friday night, or Shepherd Mondays on 91.5 WTUL New Orleans. All of these great reggae stars of radio are ‘live’ on your internet dial streaming worldwide.


Steve Greer’s awesome blues show on WRVU, Nashville

New Orleans' own WWOZ.

Listen to Black Shanti on radio 98.9 “Happy-FM” Ghana. Or hear it streaming on this site.

Check out our new friend Yawo on his site.

Get your groove on! And keep emailing your songs to us!


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