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Newsletter Summer 2003

New release for September
A great new collection is now out on the RetroAfric label. Yaba Funk Roots (RETRO19CD) is a reissue of the northern Ghanaian musician Captain Yaba’s 1996 album Tinanure, augmented by five tracks resurrected from the original Ghana sessions, which retain the vital edge of griot funk.


Yaba was a Fra Fra from the northern town of Bolgatanga where the country and the culture have more in common with Sahelian neighbours than the central and coastal regions where highlife rules. His instrument was the molo, a two-string gourd guitar which he makes sound like the root of all funk. Sadly Yaba died soon after and the disc’s distribution unfortunately was interrupted when a flood damaged the stock of copies and the original label was unable to repress. Now RetroAfric have come to the rescue by re-releasing the album along with original versions of five tracks -- Call them premix, call them de-mix, these tracks bring added delight to a type of music which is rarely heard in the West.

Day By Day back on the racks
A reissue of our third release Day By Day (RETRO3CD), ensures that the music and the memory of ET Mensah, King of Highlife, does not fade away. This collection features some of ET’s biggest hits from the 1950s and 1960s, when dance band highlife still ruled in independence-fevered West Africa. The title song alone is well worth the admission while several of the other tracks have been requested by different record labels to grace their compilations.

Photo Credit Error
Credit due for Ghanaba’s photographer Due to one of those mistakes which can befall the best planned operations, an error of omission on the credits for the Guy Warren/Ghanaba CD Divine Drummer (RETRO16CD) meant that the photographer of the stunning front cover image was wrongly credited. The photographer was actually Nii Yemo Nunu (of Kompon Afrikan Images) who is an old friend of Ghanaba’s and has been his official photographer since 1985. He supplied the picture to Bokoor African Music Archive Foundation which allowed us to use it, although his name was inadvertantly left off.Through a roundabout route Nii Yemo Nunu was also instrumental in helping RetroAfric make contact with Ghanaba. We owe him a lot and we can only apologise profusely.

Paps Touray
With great sadness we learned of the death of Paps Touray, vocalist extraordinaire with the Super Eagles. Paps had a special talent for soul music, and the range and intensity of his voice was one of the keys to the Gambian band’s success during the late 1960s early 1970s.

We send condolences to his family, friends and, of course, his long-time collaborator and colleague Badou Jobe. Paps is the person posing with Badou in the period photo on the cover of Senegambian Sensation (RETRO17CD). May his music be his monument.


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