|Is it Osibisa or Fela Ransome Kuti? A question many music connoisseurs could not help asking at the prelaunch of the nine-track compact disc (CD) by “Zoh Zoh” (meaning ‘step by step’ in Ewe), an Afro Beat, Jazz, Afro-funk, and Hi-life group based in New Zealand.|
The music album, titled “My Lady”, is a collection of smooth funky afro-beat, sometimes booming but always smile-inducing with each song jostling and blending into the next, which makes for a seamless listening experience.
Many tracks on the album bemoan the trappings of modern self-centered life with tracks such as ‘Dagomba’, ‘Beautiful Women’, and ‘Lady’. Other songs on the CD are ‘Downtown Pressure’, ‘Mr. President’, ‘City of Christ Church’, ‘Modern Civilization’ and ‘Too many Roads’.
The music album with its uplifting concoction of styles and influences is a reflection of the composition and nationalities of members of the group which comprises three Ghanaians, a Nigerian, a Frenchman, a South African, a New Zealand Maori, a Tongan and two men from New Zealand
The connoisseurs who listened to the album of Zoh Zoh described it as “a cultural rainbow”, which fuses West African percussion instruments with horns, guitars and keyboard.
The leader of the group, dreadlocked Yaw Boateng who is also the lead singer, composer and inspiration behind the Band, spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the album preview. He explained that the musical concept of the band is largely influenced by the fathers of Afro Beat and West African Hi-Life namely the late Fela Ransome Kuti of Nigeria who was known as the King of Afro Beat, E.T. Mensah of Ghana who also became known as the King of Hi-Life, and Jamaican reggae artistes, Peter Tosh, Joseph Hill popularly called Culture and Burning Spear. This cultural diversity, he said, gave the group a blend of fresh, unique and uplifting style with a wide audience appeal.
Yaw Boateng (Zoh Zoh) an accomplished musician from Ghana was born into a royal family where music was an integral part of everyday life from childhood, and through the continuous study of traditional Ghanaian music became a master drummer, dancer and composer known in traditional circles as an “Okyerema”.
Lady, which is the second album by the group, was launched in New Zealand on 23rd May this year. It would be introduced on the Ghanaian music scene at a date to be announced soon.
In a chat with the GNA, 36-year-old Yaw Boateng who was educated at Pope John’s Secondary School and the Wesley College in Kumasi, where he trained as a teacher, said “I am still teaching. I never stopped teaching, my message is in my music”.
The track ‘Too many Roads’ standout but ‘Mr. President’ which touches on the political ramblings of guns and war in Africa is equally captivating. The music album was recorded at the Stabbings Recordings Studio in Auckland, New Zealand and mixed mastered at the Red Bull Studio, also in New Zealand.