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Tuesday, Jan 02 2018 | 13:51 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

Guy OneGuy One is the representative voice of the Frafra people in northern Ghana. He sings while playing the kologo, an ancient two stringed banjo, mostly played at traditional occasions such as wedding, funerals and other significant moments of the village life. As the winner of the “Ghana Music Award 2012″ he is a super star among his people and his popularity is tightly connected to the content of his singing: by telling stories with educational and philosophical content, he answers questions about every day life and connects on a spiritual level with his people. But his intense spirituality gives his performances a breathtaking energy that goes beyond any language boundary.

We first met Guy One in 2013 in his own record store on the main market of Bolgatang and immediately made plans to record together. The first result was the 7” “Suro Yuama”, on which his virtuoso vocals and kologo playing dreamily merge with the unique groove of the Polyversal Souls. This perfect match can be heard again on “Yelle Be Bobre”, the first single from the Polyversal Souls’ debut album “Invisible Joy”. Here the Frafra poet teams up again with his German music brothers and fills the Trans-Saharan distance with his ruffled but still smooth voice and his kologo, which – you won’t believe it – has just two strings!

Guy One’s upcoming international debut “#1” (Philophon) is an album rooted in tradition as much as it is the contemporary (“Frafra music Made in Germany” says drummer producer Max Weissenfeldt if he’s forced to put a label on it) but given the fact that the traditionalism of Frafra music itself is a largely unknown force, the results are more even more potent and stirring in their creations. Choirs, trumpet, organ, bass, drums, synthesiser, vibraphone, saxophone and piano, the album is as bursting with instrumentation as it is ideas and innovation. The album’s perfect positioning between the old and the new and in taking that middle ground and launching it into completely new territory is enough to completely unglue the definitions of what music can be.

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