Ye Ankasa

09/04/2024Berlin's Jembaa Groove Collective Returns With Another Heavy Afro-Soul Groover On Agogo Records

Certain things remain a constant, such as the this planet of ours that keeps spinning on its own axis and those clocks that keep on ticking. Also, Berlin's Jembaa Groove is back with another album on Agogo Records. Two years after delivering their unifying debut "Susuma" (read more here), fusing West African influences with the infinite possibilities of jazz and a healthy dose of soul, the multi-cultural seven-piece returns with yet another heavy afro-soul groover. And while, of course, the band has grown and come into its own, the constant here is still their mesmerisingly cohesive and silky smooth delivery.

"Ye Ankasa I We Ourselves" is yet again led by the masterful arrangements of German bassist, composer and producer Yannick Nolting as well as the velvety voice and deft rhythmic nuances of Ghanaian singer, songwriter and percussionist Eric Owusu. Only this time, they opened up their tight-knit ranks to collaborate with a select cast of individuals such as UK-based Ghanaian "force of nature" Kweku Sackey, aka K.O.G, veteran Ghanaian saxophonist and vocalist Gyedu-Blay Ambolley as well as fellow Ghanaian staple, the multi-instrumentalist and producer Kwame Yeboah (Kwashibu Area Band). Over the course of eight new tracks, "Ye Ankasa" fuses "rich ancestral flows" with enticing "conga-led rhythms" and balmy grooves to take the edge off things and help us recharge. 

Positivity and a deep sense of beauty seem to be at the core of this inspired sophomore venture that will draw listeners in off the bat only to release them anew some 36 minutes later, refreshed, gratified and hopeful. The soundscapes here are ripe and well-balanced, decked out in a wide array of vibrant colours yet spacious enough to provide room for reflection and spiritual rejuvenation. That being said, we'll gladly wait another two years for chapter three, but for now, "Susuma" and "Ye Ankasa" will most definitely do.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom