Raw and celebratory funeral music from northern Ghana.
Hypnotic kologo excursions. Pulsing percussion. Enraptured voices.
Recorded 100% live and outdoors by Grammy winner Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Ustad Saami).
Sixth release from Glitterbeat's acclaimed Hidden Musics series.
"The fra fra trio is led by Small, a man who celebrates his diminutive size rather than seeing it as a lack. He picked the two-string Kologo 'guitar' with dog-tags fastened at the head as rattles. Another hallmark of Fra Fra culture are the tiny bone mouth flutes that they actually call horns, since that is what they are made from.
As funeral songs are often done in procession, I took the mics to the group when they seemed reluctant to enter the compound, instead gyrating in circles on the gravel outside. In recording, coverage is more important than precision. Every microphone tells a slightly different version of the truth, so I quickly threw up as many as possible. Far from deathly dirges, these were largely celebrations. Their process of mourning bares more than a passing resemblance to a New Orleans second line marching band. It is challenging to disregard this as mere coincidence given the sad history of the transatlantic slave trade exploiting their very region in the north." -- Ian Brennan