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Accra Quartet – Gbɛfalɔi (Travelers)


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Recorded on a hot night in a one-room gospel music studio in the New Town district of Accra, comes Gbɛfalɔi — a remarkable record exploring the edges of contemporary African music. Ghanaian trombonist Elikplim Kofi and American guitarist Nathaniel Braddock had met at a concert at Accra’s Alliance Française in 2017 when they both performed as members of the Abiza Band. When Eli heard that Braddock was returning to Ghana in 2019, he reached out via WhatsApp to suggest a collaboration, sharing a sketch of a song and asking Braddock to produce a collaboration record. That August, they set up the session joined by two percussionists, known as Black and Brown. This session is the product of that night.

Contemporary music in Ghana is dominated by a mix of afrobeats, electric gospel, and an emergent revival of highlife stars from the 1970s. This set of improvised music sits on a different axis — at once traditional and Avant Garde, ancient and futuritive, extremely local and thoroughly cosmopolitan. Anchored in folkloric instruments and free improvisation, the music is more like the Art Ensemble of Chicago than the court drummers of the Ashanti king. A rare gem.


The Ghanaian musicians all live in Accra, moving in the thriving Club +233 jazz scene and the youth community of Korle Gonno.

Nii Addotey Brown “Asalasu” specializes in kujonku, environmental sounds, and the most traditional ancestral instruments. A deeply spiritual musician, Brown says “music is every part of my being. I believe that this is my mission here”.

Daniel Tettey Black grew up within the Ga drumming tradition of Gome, Kpanlogo, and Kojonku, and became an in-demand kit drummer in both highlife and jazz bands, performing with Hugh Masekela, Stevie Wonder, and Kofi Ghanaba, among others.

Elikplim Amewode Kofi comes from the Ewe zone in the east of the country. He has worked extensively with numerous highlife and brass bands in the east and in Accra and has toured internationally with Ebo Taylor and other artists. For his “Brass Democrat” project, Eli travels to rural schools to offer instruction on all brass instruments, impacting thousands of Ghanaian children. Of the project, Eli says, “I believe in just making the music happen. Any time I’m doing such music I’m in a different spirit… I’m always searching for improvisation… I have a lot of things in my mind.”

Nathaniel Braddock lives in the States, but travels to Africa frequently, working with musicians from Ghana, Congo, Mali, Uganda, Zambia, and elsewhere. He leads the US based groups Occidental Brothers Dance Bant Int’l and Trio Mokili.

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LP, digital

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