World Music Africa – Ghana

I became interested in African fingerstyle guitar years ago and bought a DVD with instructions on playing some songs by Kenyan guitarists. In another book I had on Acoustic guitar, there was a section on playing World music, with a short section of different African styles. One in particular was called “Sikyi” which is associated with the Ashanti people of Ghana. I believe it is a drum rhythm, but the book had several shorts riffs to simulate it on guitar.

I found this song on YouTube called “Sikyi Medley” by a Ghanian artist named Nana Tuffour. It’s a modern, upbeat tune with wicked bass lines and nice repetitive electric guitar licks you hear in a lot of African music. It reminds me of the soukous style they play in the Congo. Sit back, relax, close your eyes and before long your head will be bobbing and foot tapping. You may even want to throw your hands up and start dancing. I call this music “Happy” music because it always brings a smile to my face. 😄

If you liked that, show him some love and get his album titled “Hilife Tropicana” available on iTunes.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hilife-tropicana/id204559412

I learned one of the Sikyi licks in the Acoustic guitar book I mentioned earlier, and tried it out on my baritone ukulele. My brother and I came up with an original instrumental song around it called “Sikyi Groove” using some non- traditional instruments (ukuleles, Middle Eastern doumbek and Irish penny whistle). You can check it out at the video below. Skip to 1:55 minutes into the video to bypass the baritone ukulele tutorial for the song.

You should be able to download the song at the link below:

http://c2lo.reverbnation.com/audio_player/download_song_direct/2968799/39c422e36d36ab363adf0a585e16c564

Other styles of Ghanian music you may hear are Palm Wine and High Life.

World Music Anyone?

I’ve posted several times about my shortwave listening hobby and some of the QSL verification cards I’ve received. One of the things I used to love about shortwave radio back then was listening to the music from other countries. Due to the nature of the shortwave signal (think AM radio and static) the quality of the broadcasts weren’t always great, especially from the small, low power, hard to hear stations but that was the challenge!

I love African music, and one of my favorite singers/guitar players is Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe. Here is a favorite song of mine by him called Neria. Smooth vocals and solid finger style guitar playing anyone should try to emulate.

I used to love to listen to the Tahitian music from Radio Tahiti at night before going to bed. Due to the time difference the broadcasts would be on at night here in the states (if you could pick up the signal). You could hear Middle Eastern music from Radio Cairo, African music from Africa Número 1 in Gabon, and a lot of Spanish music from Mexico, Central and South America. Radio Japan had a music program of JPop and Radio Korea had their KPop broadcast. This planted the seed for the love of all types of music, and over the years I have dabbled in a number of them.

Here is a video I found on YouTube of a street jam in Papeete/Tahiti that is reminiscent of the Tahitian music I used to hear over my shortwave radio. To a young 12 year old kid this was something from another world. It was great! Gotta love that Tahitian ukulele sound. If you didn’t know, they use monofilament fishing line for the strings.

When I learned to play the ukulele my brother and I met some other Hawaiian music lovers and formed a group called the “Houston Slackers”. The name was taken from the slack key guitar two of the members played. We played at some of the local Aloha Fests. It was a lot of fun. Here is beautiful Hawaiian song called “Ka Wailele O Nu’uanu”, one of my favorites.