Kalita are proud to unveil the second volume in their ‘Borga Revolution!’ compilation series, focussing on the phenomenon of ‘Burger Highlife’, a crossover of West African melodies with synthesizers, disco and boogie that took over Ghanaian airwaves during the 1980’s and beyond.
Featuring both highly sought-after recordings by artists including Atta Frimpong and D.J. Lawyer Okyere, as well as seminal performances by greats such as Pat Thomas, A.B. Crentsil and Alan Cosmos, Kalita once again come to the rescue of audiophiles, DJs and music-lovers alike with ‘Borga Revolution! – Volume 2’. Spread over a double-LP housed in… Kalita Records
Borga Revolution! Ghanaian Music In The Digital Age, 1983 – 1996: Vol.2
…a gatefold sleeve. Accompanied by a 12-page booklet featuring extensive interview-based liner notes on each artist and never-before-seen archival photos.
The 1970s had witnessed an increased Western airtime and physical presence in Ghana introducing funk, soul and disco sounds to the region. By the turn of the decade the country was also enduring economic turmoil, with rising poverty, military dictatorships and long periods of enforced curfews (amongst other factors) making it impossible for artists to survive.
As a result, many Ghanaian artists with a broader outlook began to pursue their careers in the West, moving to both Europe and America in search of stardom. It was here that Ghanaian musicians developed a digitised version of highlife music which fully embraced Western contemporary music styles and newly introduced technology such as the DX7 synthesizer and various drum machines.
It is in this context in which the evolution of Ghanaian dance music and the emergence of ‘burger highlife’ was born. With the ‘Borga Revolution!’ series Kalita endeavour to tell this story, with prominent and lesser-known musicians’ accounts and documentary evidence providing a comprehensive understanding of this shift to the digital age. Kalita Records
The second collection of “burger highlife” from Kalita shines a spotlight on the Ghanian dance subgenre that centered skipping DX7 and drum machine-led hybrid disco sounds.
When Ghana was disrupted by economic and political turmoil, many artists who needed cash to survive decamped to Europe and the USA. And when they arrived in their new homes, they found new musical styles to draw from and cheap electronic equipment that allowed them to digitize highlife sounds, creating “burger highlife” in the process. Kalita’s second compilation yet again brings together rare material from some of the genre’s most beloved artists: Alan Cosmos, A.B. Crentsil, Atta Frimpong, D.J. Lawyer Okyere, Nana Aboagye Da-Costa, Mawuli Decker, Pope Flyne Ackah and Pat Thomas.
Frimpong’s ‘Bepo So Duo’ introduces the set with a downtempo beatbox groove backed by jangly high-life guitars and a shimmering vocal, but Cosmos’s ‘Soca For Your Pleasure’ is a more readable example of the genre. It’s here where the influence of disco, hip-hop and other nascent dance music forms is most felt; Cosmos spikes his flow with Sugarhill Gang delivery, flitting from psychedelic disco sounds into soca and back. ‘I Think You Are Right (Jepense Que Tu A Raison)’ is pleasingly off-kilter, absorbing US R&B and blaxploitation funk grit and just about avoiding highlife entirely, while Mawuli Decker’s ‘Mawu Nafako Nam’ is the opposite, a tender blend of 4/4 kicks, sunny electric guitar riffs and harmonic vocals. boomkat
- Atta Frimpong – Bepo So Dua (5:55)
- Alan Cosmos – Soca For Your Pleasure (7:23)
- A.B. Crentsil – Mame Dwen Meho (5:49)
- D.J. Lawyer Okyere – Ohia Kan Nye Ya (Medley) (7:39)
- Alan Cosmos – Onua Gyae (6:04)
- Pope Flyne Ackah – I Think You Are Right (Jepense Que Tu A Raison) (3:19)
- Atta Frimpong – Yaako (5:21)
- Pat Thomas – Obae (6:39)
- Mawuli Decker – Mawu Nafako Nam (6:59)
- Nana Aboagye Da-Costa – Sikyi (Medley) (7:12)
- Alan Cosmos – Yebi/Fontonfrom (12:01)