Although they may not have performed in Ghana, the Kakatsitsi Master Drummers from Ghana, have over the past 19 years developed into a leading traditional African drumming and dance group in the United Kingdom and most parts of Europe.
The group has in the last two years for recorded some amazing performances, which has seen them perform on one of the major stages at the world famous Glastonbury Festival.
They are about to depart for their 13th national UK Tour which is set to propel them to even higher levels of success. Kakatsitsi are a group of traditional drummers and dancers from the Ga Mashie area of Ghana’s Greater Accra Region.
The group is built around two of Accra’s leading drummers who were widely known within the music scene as being the best in the business – Samuel ‘Injoly’ Addo and Okoe Amarteyfio.
Kakatsitsi have their own unique style of playing, known within the group as ‘Injoly style’, which has proved to be very popular with western audience because the grooves are slightly slower, more repetitive, funkier and therefore more accessible to a western ear unused to African rhythmic complexity.
Injoly himself is a cool, calm guy and his music reflects his character, in contrast to the showy ‘look at me’ style of many other solo percussionists. Over the years, in addition to touring internationally with Kakatsitsi, Injoly has worked with Ghanaian stars such as Amandczba Nat Bru, Rex Omar, A B Crentsil and King David.
Another member of the group, Okoe Amarteyfio, is the son of the founder of the popular Ga group Wulomei, Nii T Ashitey, and is a former leader of Wulomei himself in addition to working with succesful musicians such as Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, Nat Bru, Sarkodie and many others.
Okoe and Injoly are joined by former member of the Pan African Orchestra, lead vocalist Adotey Johnson to form the core of the group.
Mindful of the limited appeal of traditional African music within the wider music business, Kakatsitsi and their parent company Indigenous People, run by UK cultural entrepreneur Steve Peake, are keen to develop fusion projects to broaden their appeal.
With this in mind, they are developing two new projects which promises to deliver further commercial success. The first of these is the Electrofusion Project, in which they will join forces with Ghanaian producer Nshona Musik, who has produced tracks for the likes of Sarkodie, EL, Deep Black, Kreche and Joey B, and UK producer Suns of Arqua who has a long track record of mixing western electronic sounds with traditional Indian music.
Subject to a successful application to the Arts Council of England, they will also be joined by UK based traditional musicians from Morocco, Guinea, Zimbabwe and Tanzania to fuse the traditional and the electronic influences to create an attractive fusion of the traditional and the modern.
An example of one fusion track has already been released. The other project is the Afro-Gaelic Fusion Project which will combine traditional Ghanaian rhythms and chants with traditional Gaelic music from Scotland. Gaelic is the traditional language and culture of the people of Scotland which was colonized by the English more than 300 years ago.
There is currently a movement for Scottish political independence and with it has come a resurgence of traditional Scottish culture and identity. The leader of the Gaelic musicians with whom Kakatsitsi will be working is renowned Gaelic singer, piper and cultural historian Griogair Labhruidh who has in-depth knowledge of traditional Gaelic music, dance and history.
The fusion project will be taken around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the areas in which Gaelic culture is strongest, in August and September. One Afro-Gaelic fusion track is already available.
Leader of Kakatsitsi, Samuel ‘Injoly’ Addo, said “we are very excited to be returning once again to the UK to promote Ghana and her traditional music and dance. We look forward to working with some amazing musicians and returning to home to share our new music with the people of Ghana”.