O Yinne!

09/07/2023Northern Ghana's Frafra Gospel Stalwarts Release Jubilant Sophomore Full-Length On Philophon

Oh happy day! Bringing joy to the world since their 2016 debut single and subsequent 2019-released debut album "Mam Yinne Wa", Northern Ghana's Frafra gospel stalwarts Alogte Oho & His Sounds of Joy return to Max Weissenfeldt's (Poets of Rhythm, Whitefield Brothers) Philophon imprint with album number two and a fresh batch of joyous grooves. Heralded by a 7-inch vinyl release at the tail-end of 2021 (which we covered here), their sophomore effort is an even more cohesive and no doubt infectiously effervescent offering.

Recorded under Weissenfeldt's visionary direction, "deep in the tropical rainforest of Ghana" at Kumasi's Joy Sound Studios, "O Yinne!" takes the group's signature Frafra stylings to new heights. Combining a potent rhythm section with jubilant polyrhythms, "flashing synthesizers" and "melodic brass interjections", the force is strong with this one, dare one say supernatural? Borderline psychedelic at times, "O Yinne!" does not shy away from exploring a multitude of moods, from highlife serenades to offbeat phrasings (reggae happens to be an integral part of the Frafra gospel tradition) and full-fledged anthems. 

Don't be mistaken, though god-fearing, the word 'gospel' in this case "only refers to the textual content. Musically, it's an Afro-futuristic firework of pentatonic vocal explosions, carried by rolling West African rhythms." We were lucky enough to see Alogte Oho & His Sounds of Joy perform live at Berlin's Gretchen last year and sincerely recommend you catch them on their current tour. Stream the full album and watch the music video to "La Ka Ba'a" below. Also, just wondering, anyone else here feel like the album opener is ever so slightly reminiscent of Jorge Ben's "Comanche"?

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom