Sweet Talks: The Kusum Beat

The Kusum Beat
Soundway
2010-05-11

The sweet palm wine ductility of 1970s Ghanaian dancefloor highlife mingles here with the Afro-Americana rolling in from next-door Nigeria. “Kyekye Per Aware” is Sweet-Talks-does-Fela. The other tracks are not. “Oburumankoma” toys with a fanfare trumpet, grins, changes direction, laughs, changes direction again. The highlife keeps things light and fast, the trumpets keep it earthed and funky, and the lead singer has his own version of the funk uh-huh — somewhere between a come-on and an asthmatic cough. Kusum means native, local, in other words, Ghanaian — these men were patriots, and coastal Ghana pervades the album. Everything on The Kusum Beat is superb: sparking, tight, playful, fresh. It should have been reissued years ago. Thank you Soundway for doing the needful.

RATING 8 / 10
PopMatters