Diplomats of Sound are proud to announce we will be working on tours and shows in support of the brand new studio album by one of Ghana’s all-time great vocalists, “The Golden Voice Of Africa”, Pat Thomas, in conjunction with the Kwashibu Area Band led by Ghanaian musician / producer Kwame Yeboah (Cat Stevens band, Patrice) and Ben Abarbanel Wolff (Poets Of Rhythm, Ebo Taylor band).
Hailing from Kumasi,Thomas had lived with highlife legend King Onyina from a young age before working with Ebo Taylor in two of Ghana’s great 1960s highlife big bands, Broadway Dance Band and Stargazers.Both would cross paths as their careers progressed, Pat contributing vocals to Ebo’s solo albums and Ebo arranging horns for Pat’s songs. Both would become a mainstay of Ghana’s ‘70s and ‘80s highlife, Afrobeat and Afro-pop scenes, hitting big with the Ghana Cocoa Board-sponsored Sweet Beans band featuring Ebo as musical director and Pat as lead vocalist. A fixture in Fela Kuti’s band at the time, drummer Tony Allen would record a session with Sweet Beans in Kumasi in 1975 (as yet unreleased). With his distinctive soulful, flowing vocal style, sung in the Asante twi dialect, Thomas became established during this era as one of Ghana’s biggest musical draws.
Recorded in Accra and mixed at Lovelite Studios’ analogue HQ in Berlin, Thomas’ new album marks over 50 years making music and involves a significant reunion of key musicians from across his career: Ebo Taylor provides horn arrangements, Tony Allen contributes drums to several tracks, ‘60s star Osei Tutu contributes a memorable trumpet solo and prolific 1970s bassist Ralph Karikari (Noble Kings) also features. Younger generation stars appearing include bassist Emmanuel Ofori, percussionist “Sunday” Owusu and Pat Thomas’ daughter Nanaaya, an acclaimed vocalist in her own right.
The album features new full band arrangements of original ‘80s Thomas classics ‘Gyae Su’, ‘Odoo Adada’ and ‘Mewo Akoma’. Abarbanel Wolff explains: “By the mid to late 1980s, Ghanaian music had started to use digital production and the heyday of the ‘golden era’ was over. With this album, we wanted to continue the tradition of the sound from the late ‘70s and bring the roots back so we have treated some of Pat’s ‘80s songs with new arrangements,”explains bandleader Ben Abarbanel Wolff. New compositions feature too, including the superb, yearning ‘Me Ho Asem’ and the infectious Afrobeat of ‘Odoo Be Ba’.