PHOTO: Highlife on the Move review – sophisticated stuff

The jet set… Rans Boi’s Ghana Highlife Band.

The jet set… Rans Boi’s Ghana Highlife Band.

The archaeology of African pop keeps stretching backwards. This two-CD compilation returns us to a fertile epoch when Ghanaian and Nigerian musicians were semi-resident in London, playing in mainstream and jazz bands while nurturing a brand of west African highlife that owed much to the Caribbean. It was sophisticated stuff, with bandleaders like Ginger Johnson and Steve Rhodes making Afro-Calypso tunessuch as Brown Skin Girl and Drink a Tea, while a young Fela Kuti, his effervescence already apparent, cut his first sides. The era, vividly captured in Colin Macinnes’ City of Spades, left its mark; Chris Ajilo’s Afro Mood sounds like prototype ska. THEGUARDIAN

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