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Boomkat Product Review:
ATFA break with tradition to present striking new recordings (as opposed to reissues) by gyil virtuoso, SK Kakraba from Upper West, Ghana. Using a sort of native xylophone made of 14 wooden slats strung across gourd resonators covered with stretched silk spider's egg sacs - called paapieye in Lobi language - Kakraba streams a complex mesh of rapid-fingered rhythm and harmonic buzz recorded, sans overdubs, in San Francisco by the artist's pal, Brian Hogan. There are aesthetic comparisons to be made with Konono No.1's rhythmatized twang as much as the scorched desert blues guitar tones of Western Saharan styles, but Kakraba improvisations are entirely a style of his own; elaborately dextrous and lyrically engaging, although entirely instrumental - ranging from funeral songs for birds to safety warnings against blind people getting drunk, and straight up "happy hour" music.