An obscure Ghanaian record becomes a hit song over 20 years after its release.
After spending many months tracing leads and solving potential re-release problems, Awesome Tapes From Africa finally announced their intention to reissue Ata kak for the first time since 1994.
Now 57 years old, Atta Kak’s real name is Yaw Atta-Owusu and originally from Kumasi.
As expected, the western world responded more than enthusiastically: everyone who hears “Obaa Sima” for the first time is instantly hooked by its simple rhythms, frenetic raps and originality.
Fact Magazine, an important online music trends website, proclaimed it the most important reissue of 2015, and reviews have been unanimously positive in all major media across America and Europe. More than twenty years on from the album’s first recording, Ata Kak will now come to Europe to present his amazing songs at SonarVillage, where a party vibe is guaranteed.
Ata Kak’s history is a curious one. In 94 he released an album on cassette format called “Obaa Sima”, which at the time virtually no one listened to.
It was soon buried beneath a plethora of other tapes and records being sold in Ghana’s major city markets.
However, eight years later, one of these tapes caught the attention of a young New York ethnomusicologist, Brian Shimkovitz, who was fascinated by the strange mix of highlife (a celebratory African genre close to funk) and Western style rap. That tape, and one track in particular, “Moma Yendolo” would give rise to Awesome Tapes From Africa, the popular blog where Shimkovitz would post the best tapes he had bought during his travels to the continent, which later became a key label in the dissemination of African sounds.
In fact Shimkovitz partly created the label to officially release “Obaa Sima”, and share with the world this exciting, addictive and intoxicating music that we will soon enjoy on the green grass at Sónar by Day.
Listen “Obaa Sima” by Ata Kak below.