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Edzayawa

Projection One

(Soundway; US: 13 Mar 2012; UK: 20 Feb 2012)

Ghanaian by way of Nigeria retro-funk

Ghana’s 1970s funksters Edzayawa recorded a single album, 1973’s Projection One, released at the time by EMI Nigeria. Now, world music label Soundway re-releases this previously lost album to a wider audience—and it seems a safe bet that this new audience will appreciate the gift.


The album features eight tracks of vintage Afro-funk, all wailing guitars and burbling keyboards and polyrhythmic percussion—and especially, bass. Bass dominates album in a way that is rarely heard, the heavy tones serving to draw all the other sounds into its murky grasp. Horns are altogether absent, which only serves to heighten the effect. Opening track “Darkness” kicks things off nicely with its off-kilter rhythms, but the groove really surfaces in follow-up tune “Gondzin”, which brings the bass to the fore and features unison playing from the keys. After a spirited but disciplined start, the tune heats up in the second half, both sonically and rhythmically (cool flute solo, guys!), which is the band’s m.o.: start deliberately, then melt down later. Among other songs, “Naa Korle” and “Amanehun” follow the same pattern.


With most tracks hovering around the 4-to-5-minute mark, this album doesn’t stretch its wings quite as much some, but for fans of the era and genre, this is a lost gem well worth (re)discovering.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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Edzayawa - Gondzin
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