Awesome Tapes From Africa finally tracks down Ghanaian singer Ata Kak for reissue

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Ghanaian highlife artist Ata Kak tracked down after 12 years of searching.

Ethnomusicologist Brian Shimkovitz, who runs the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog, stumbled across a cassette version of an ecstatic cut titled ‘Daa Nyinaa’ by Ata Kak in Cape Coast, Ghana over a decade ago. Shimkovitz has since been on an Ata Kak trail, with a BBC Radio 4 documentary tracing his search, and he has finally tracked him down to secure a reissue.

As RA reports, “Google and endless phone calls provided no leads” in the search, but he eventually discovered that the singer, real name Yaw Atta-Owusu, had recorded Obaa Sima in Toronto before moving back to Ghana in 2006.

Only about 50 copies of the original tape were produced, and Atta-Owusu’s master DAT had disintegrated, so the second-hand copy bought by Shimkovitz in 2002 was used as the source for the reissue. The seven-track Obaa Sima will be available in vinyl and digital formats on March 3. See below for the full tracklist.

Back in 2012, a compilation called African Shakedown saw the ‘Daa Nyinaa’ reworked by Noema to give it a bassy feel, have a listen below:

You can hear album track ‘Bome Nnwom’ over at RA.

Tracklist:

A1 Obaa Sima
A2 Moma Yendodo
A3 Adagya
A4 Medofo
B1 Daa Nyinaa
B2 Yemmpa Aba
B3 Bome Nnwom

(via RA / FACT)

For more music from Ghana, explore Mogadisco’s top 10 highlife records.