Africa is a Country has been a fan of Ghanaian-Swiss audio experimentalist Oy’s live performances for a while. Tom’s posting of Hallelujah was my own introduction to her strange but mesmerizing audio-visual creations:
A host of other and new exciting tunes will soon be released in recorded form and available to the world. From a music producer’s perspective, I get really excited to hear how such captivating performances are manifested on record. The process of translating a song from the studio to the stage and vice versa is an art in itself, one that not all musicians can do well.
Oy’s sophomore album, Kokokyinaka, is a highly enjoyable journey that inventively incorporates field recordings into digital production techniques. The label’s press release gives insight into the album’s creative process:
The wildly vibrant sample base includes a parachute, fufu pounding, fireworks, and a shoe. Along with all of the animated stories it was mostly collected on trips to Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and during a residency in South Africa. The actual writing and the production for the record took place at studios located in Berlin under the guidance of talented drummer, producer, and co-writer Lleluja-Ha.
Throughout the course of the album we accompany her through her explorations of African cultural intricacies from the perspective of a half-in half-out Afro-European. This makes it easy for comparisons to mixed Afro-European vocalists like Nneka or Anbuley to pop in my head. But, Joy’s album stands apart because instead of straight ahead pop, dance, Hip-Hop or soul album, this project feels like a personal journey that is just as experimental culturally as it is technically.
For more on Joy, check out an interview with her on OkayAfrica, and this teaser for her latest video: