Boomkat Product Review:
Ata Kak's debut album of dibby Ghanaian hiplife, 'Obaa Sima' is the stuff diggers' dreams are made of. It's the cassette that sparked Awesome Tapes From Africa to life as a blog back in 2006, before it morphed into a record label of world-renown from 2011.
Written and self-released by Ata in edition of 50 circa 1994 and subsequently re-discovered by ethnomusicologist Brian Shimkovitz at a roadside stall in Cape Coast, Ghana, in 2004, it would take nearly a whole decade for the Fulbright University graduate to track down and request official reissue permission from Yaw Atta-Owusu a.k.a. Ata. It turns out Yaw had crafted the album in Canada, where he lived after a stint in Germany, but had sent the album to be manufactured in Ghana because costs were prohibitively expensive.
A captivating mix of uptempo dancefloor optimism and breakneck raps delivered in Twi (uptempo 'cos the only salvageable copy *may* have been pirated at a higher dubbing speed. Twi 'cos it felt better than English to him), 'Obaa Sima' stands out as a reel anomaly - Ghanaian dance music made in Canada after time served in a reggae covers band from Germany.
But even more than that, its mix of mad scatting and highlife refrains with ethereal electronic pads and snappy drums simply capture the imagination like little else. It's a proper head turner, dead set to be one of 2015's most treasured reissues..