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Robert Nolan
Global Rhythm Magazine, September 2002

"The world might have missed out on Electric Highlife: Sessions from the Bokoor Studios (Naxos World), an eclectic compilation of some of Ghana's most influential highlife players. The styles represented by the eight bands on Electric Highlife laid the groundwork for the Afropop explosion of the mid-'80s, and helped bring the upbeat sound to hungry Western audiences."



Banning Eyre
Portland Phoenix, July 2002

"A must-have for anyone interested in older African pop...Most important, this set offers a delightful and fascinating document of Ghana's pop music before it was overrun by reggae, Christian gospel, and hip-hop."



Jon Pareles
The New York Times, July 2002

"As earnest voices harmonize, guitars create a giddy tangle in the Ghanaian rock collected on "Electric Highlife: Songs From the Bokoor Studios" (Naxos World). The songs were recorded in the 1980's near Accra by bands little known to the outside world on equipment that was not exactly hi-fi; drums are reduced to a distant patter. But especially in songs by F. Kenya's Guitar Band and the Happy Boys Guitar Band, the guitars make up for it, with staccato picking and quick runs and floating lines hovering like a swarm of tuned mosquitoes in songs so fast it's a wonder people danced to them."



Banning Eyre
Afropop, June 2002

"A chatterbox weave of cycling guitar riffs and racing drums and percussion tumbles forth. A high lead vocal slices the air with soul-charged precision answered by a looser, more low-key chorus. Right away, you want to dance. This is what highlife is supposed to sound like!..Electric Highlife in a powerful record of a key chapter in the development of modern African pop."



Steve Heilig
The Beat, June 2002

"Highlife is eternally cool...Half a dozen groups present songs which often sound of much older vintage, and indeed some are based on old folk tunes, with the sweet guitars dominating throughout. My favorite tune and band name comes from the Beach Scorpions, who use a mandolin and clarinet to sweeten the sting."



Tehuti Kamau
Upbeat, June 2002

"A music that truly lives up to its name, these highlights from one of highlife's finest moments leave no doubt to its abundant appeal and diversity... Here lies the proof on Electric Highlife that "modern" dance music can be made for--and increase-thinking."



Bob Tarte
Miami New Times, May 2002

For examples of classic African popular music that keep the kitsch at bay, the budget Naxos World label delivers a top-notch anthology of early 1980s music with Electric Highlife: Sessions from the Bokoor Studio...This, incidentally, is the perfect companion disc for Collins's 1992 book on West African pop music and the heady days of the Bokoor Music Studio, West African Pop Roots (Temple University Press).



Doctor Rhythm, April 2002

"Naxos is a German label best known for classical music. They have branched out and are now issuing world music under their Naxos World imprint, and plan a dozen budget-priced new albums this year. I got two new releases to check out: the first, ELECTRIC HIGHLIFE, is a set of classic eighties highlife from Ghana...If you are a fan of classic highlife check this one out...The music reveals the influences of colonial brass ensembles, sea shanties, finger-picked guitar, call-and-response vocals, choppy organs and sweet melodies. Naxos promises thorough documentation with the CD when it is released later this month."



Jazziz Magazine, June 2001

"Bhangra Beatz is the more modern, with heavy bass vibes on 11 tracks. Electric Highlife's 13 tracks are more traditional and acoustic. Both are standouts."



Jazzreview.com

"Put simply, highlife music is a style of West African pop music that developed around the turn of the century: primarily guitar-based band music with rhythms and syncopated horn sections that display (either explicit or implicit) Cuban and Latin Caribbean influences. It's often associated with the nation of Ghana, it's usually an immediate, propulsive and infectiously joyful sound, and it's a style of African music that you don't hear too much in the USA unless you keep your eyes and ears open. That's where compilations like Electric Highlife come in. Though recorded in 1978 & 1980, it's a captivating survey of highlife in all its scintillating, grooving glory. Some tracks accent the Latin influences, like George Adu's "Obina Mma Obi Kyere No," where a wistful, mid-tempo Jerry Garcia-like electric guitar motif is juxtaposed with bubbling Cuban-tinged rhythms and crackling percussion, while others, like Guyoyo's "Osikuni Atamfo" is based in the repetitive, folk-blues African guitar music like what you'd hear on (early) Baaba Maal and Ali Farke Toure albums. This is NOT any sort of gussied-up world-beat/Afro-pop "crossover" thing - this is undiluted highlife, collected from records from Ghana, of groups with names like the Black Beats (whose "Tsutsu Tsoemo" sounds like New Orleans zydeco with Mexican Mariachi horns, a crazy sax solo that's a cross between Tommy McCook and Boots Randolph and a wack guitar solo from The Tornados' "Telestar"!), Beach Scorpions (!) and Happy Boys. The recording quality is bright and vibrant, the booklet's got a few nice old photos, detailed, user-friendly liner notes that you don't have to be an ethnomusicologist to grasp and if the opening track by F. Kenya doesn't impart at least a little verve 'n' joie de vivre, have yourself checked for vitamin deficiency posthaste."






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1:15:19 AM, 17 April 2014
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