Agya KOO NIMO and his ADADAM AGOFOMMA
KOO NIMO'S music is a pulsating mix of melodious and intoxicating guitar patterns, harmonious vocals, and mesmerizing percussion. It brings to life the meaning of the Sankofa image, a symbolic bird of the Asante people of Ghana, looking backwards with one foot forward to the future. Elegantly draped in the traditional Akan cloth, Koo Nimo sings lyrics infused with Asante wisdom, peppered with the proverbs that are so essential to a West African audience. Koo Nimo has been performing for over 40 years, was president of the Ghana musicians union for 10 years, and received the Grand Medal for Lifetime Service to Ghana from the head of state. He has been an inspiration to younger generations of Ghanaian musicians through the force of his personality and creative musicality. He is joined on this CD by Osei Kwame with his modern interpretations of the pre-colonial praise singing tradition with seperewa (6- to 14- stringed harp-lute) accompaniment. This CD is Koo Nimo's first release in almost 25 years of the traditional Palmwine music for which he has become so well-loved. (Adapted from program notes by Professors Andrew Kaye and Cynthia Schmidt.)
(back to the Roots Ensemble) Palmwine Guitar Music from Ghana
TETE WOBI KA
This album is Koo Nimo's first release in almost 25 years of the traditional Palmwine Music for which he has become so well-loved in Ghana and internationally. Features Koo Nimo's trademark guitar and vocal style with traditional rhythm section. Also featuring Osei Kwame on seperewa and vocals
PALMWINE MUSIC developed as an distinctive musical style in Ghana beginning in the 1920s and 30s, and is named for the local brew often consumed liberally during its performance and appreciation. Koo Nimo's style features the modern guitar, but includes a traditional Highlife rhythm section (bells, hand drums, and "rhumba box" or 3-keyed bass sanza). The songs are sung mostly in the Twi language of the Asante (Ashanti) ethnic group, but Koo Nimo is fond of throwing in English phrases and quotations as well, from which one can get a sense of the Twi commentary.
The SEPEREWA is the Ghanaian (specifically Akan) version of a harp-like instrument found in many West African cultures. It has traditionally 6 strings (Osei's, which he made himself, has 14), and is played by plucking with thumbs and forefingers, The seperewa was described by European visitors to the Asante royal courts as early as the 17th century, where it was played as an accompaniment to praise songs and oral histories. OSEI KWAME is one of the leading exponents of this instrument today, and is Seperewa Instructor at the University of Ghana at Legon. Osei's grandfather helped to reintroduce the seperewa to Ghanaian popular culture in the 1920's, and taught Osei many of the traditional songs he now performs.