BBE Music celebrates the centenary of recorded Ghana Highlife music with a double album reissue of two rare 80s LPs recorded by the late Atakora Manu, Omintiminim and Afro Highlife.
Born in Toase, Ghana, a proud Asante, Atakoras musical talent made itself clear from an early age. But it wasn’t until his late teens that he put that talent to use as a performer, first founding the legendary Princess Trio from 1961 till 1963 with drummer Togas and multi-instrumentalist Elder Osei Bonsu. After a spell from 1963 till 1966 as guitarist with the United Ghana Farmers’ Council Drama Troupe, Manu teamed up with Moses Kweku Oppong to form the legendary Kakaiku No. 2 Band, producing a string of national hit singles over the following three or four years. There followed a three year break from music until fate struck: Atakora found a job in 1973 as Recording Studio Attendant - and later recording engineer - at Ambassador Recording Studios in Kumasi, at that time the country’s largest independent label. On seeing his musical talents behind the studio desk, it wasn’t long before the boss suggested to Manu that he get back to making music himself.
As well as long-time associates Togas and Elder Bonsei, local Kumasi legends CK Mensah, Amoako Agyeman, Agyei Kyeremanteng (of the famous Keyeremanteng All Stars), and Atta Fofie all lend a hand from time to time, along with a handful of other seasoned Ambassador studio session players.
A unique selling point on Omintiminim is the mix of vintage, rootsy ‘palmwine’ blues-style guitar with quirky keyboard electronics - a sound well-established today but revolutionary in the comparatively conservative world of the 70s and 80s. This comes across beautifully in 'Dada' and 'Cape Coast Cousin', the latter toasting off guitar licks with bubbling wah wah organ. We find a similar juxtaposition in 'Asante Kotoko', a shout-out to Kumasi’s champion soccer team.
Catalogue Number: BBE584ALP