Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Farewell to the Black Stars
Ghana were finally knocked out of the world cup yesterday by a lacklustre Brazil, despite spending what felt like 70% of the game in their half. Lacking their midfield general Michael Essien, and suffering Asamoah Gyan's sending-off they still showed that it is only a matter of time before an African team will win the tournament, and I cannot wait for that day to come.
Ghana's proclaimed "King of Highlife" ET Mensah was the superstar of the Ghanian music scene for the best part of 35 years, eclipsing all in his wake, and memorably performing with Louis Armstrong at the ceremony for Ghanian independance form British rule.
By the early 60's, US soul and R&B had wildfired around the world, hotwiring with mento and calypso to spark the birth of Ska and nascent Reggae in Jamaica, and defibrillating the skiffle and folk scenes in Britain to ignite the rhythm and blues scene.
Washing up on the shores of Africa, it's snapping breaks, insistent riffing and crafted Western structures would in turn add to the already potent mix of hot jazz, afrocuban rhythm's and tribal folk songs that formed the basis of highlife, to form a whole new sound of funk, fusion and soul - afrobeat.
I'm only starting to find my way into this sound, and at times it's like standing on the precipice and staring into an abyss. However, with a couple of decent guides, you can start to get the picture.
Many thanks to Duncan Brooker for this one. And see you in 4 years, Black Stars.