Prince Buju is a kologo player and singer from North Kanishie, a neighborhood on the north side of Accra (Ghana). A kologo (also known as Xalam) is a lute-like instrument with two snares. The sound is raw, a bit shallow and sharp. Combined with the equally grinding voice of Prince Buju, you might somehow compare this music with old school punk. Simple, uptempo riffs are being accompagnied with crude vocals to create a number of protest songs. Prince Buju claims that all of us are at war and that we need to change our ways to make this world a better place to live in. These elements of protest, harsh but rhythmic music and raspy vocals give the whole an incredible punk attitude.
But there's no drums, no bass, no backing vocals. This is traditional kologo music with an impressive ethos. Fans of world music will absolutely love this but other, open minded music lovers should give this a chance as well. I'm sure a few of these songs, mainly 'Afashee', 'In The War' and 'I Am Accused' will often find the way to my speakers and one of them will definitely be on one of our next podcasts. Above all, this is music from the heart and from the soul. This is an artist expressing himself with a determination that is becoming very rare these days.
So I can only express my deepest respect for Prince Buju and his work. It's a remarkable piece of deeply personal music that we at Merchants Of Air can only applaud. I also would like to thank Arnold de Boer, who made this album possible. Maybe it's time for a crossover between traditional African music and Western experimental music by artists with the same beautiful work ethos and determination. At least, it's time to respect hard working artists, no matter where they come from or what kind of music they play...