Music I bought - 2022/03
Kweku Sackey, known by the regal name Kweku of Ghana, is a very special man. A magnetic showman and versatile vocalist, he is the force at the front of a band fusing jazz, hip-hop, Afrobeat, reggae and pretty much any other genre you can dance to. I saw him live, backed by his talented band, at Cobalt Studios in March, and was astounded by the unrelenting joyfulness of their set. As I danced along, I was repeatedly surprised at how track after track, which I thought must have been the climax, would be followed by something even more incandescent and uplifting. So it became self-evident that their new album, Zone 6, Agege would be my purchase this month.
Though based in Sheffield, Kweku is proud of his Ghanaian roots, and celebrates a pan-African identity. In the track “Ebenezer”, he is realistic about the problems of corruption and economic plight which hobble many countries on the continent, but cannot hide his optimism as he yelps Africa time is now!
The group finished off the night with this track, which deserves to be the closing credits song for every film set in Africa for ever more:
Again, the lyrics combine the truth that the world is full of sorrow with a defiantly carefree protest: wake me up when we’re closer to the better days.
Runner-up: Park Hye Jin’s hypnotic Korean rap
Took me a while, but I noticed that Park Hye Jin released a full-length album last year. She first found popularity for overlaying moody lo-fi house with repetitive chants, seamlessly combining English and Korean lyrics. Park’s still got the knack for a catchy hook, but the sound is definitely moving towards hip-hop on this most recent album. The tracks split between confidence and libido, on the one hand, and moments of self-doubt and sadness on the other.
On “Whatchu Doin Later”, she asks the title question over and over again, like she’s impatient for someone to text her back, before leaping into a bouncy Korean flow:
I suspect she tells us what she did later in those lyrics, but it will remain a mystery to English-speaking listeners like me.
uh uH UH!