Osei Korankye is a master musician and singer from Accra, Ghana. Known as one of the very last remaining Seperewa musicians in Ghana. The Brooklyn-based Super Yamba Band, comprised of Daniel Yount (drums), Evan Frierson (percussion), Walter Fancourt (sax), Sean Smith (trumpet), Eric Burns (guitar) and Prince Amu (bass) have long been students and devoted fans of vintage West African, psychedelic Afro-funk. Super Yamba Band pushes boundaries, always favoring melodies meant to excite and engage larger audiences. It’s difficult to imagine anyone resisting the group’s infectious beats. These songs are a throw back to the classic styles of Afro-Funk in 1970s Ghana. Upon a trip to the United States in 2017 Korankye linked up with Yount for a few gigs in New York City. Yount learned Korankye’s music and played drums on the gigs. “After that I knew I wanted to collaborate with Osei on some of the songs Super Yamba had written in the style of Ghanaian funk.” The collaboration came together effortlessly and the result is two beautifully psychedelic funk tunes made for dancing time!
Releases March 25, 2022 via Bancamp – listen & buy via link below
Please introduce your band to our readers.
We are the six-piece afro-funk group known as Super Yamba Band from Brooklyn, New York. We write and perform all original music, mostly inspired by 1970s funk music from West Africa. We are best known by fans for backing a songwriter from Benin, Leon Ligan Majek, also known as Kaleta, but we are working on other collaborations as well, as you’ll hear in this 45 release with Osei Korankye.
Describe your sound and the origins of the sounds of Super Yamba Band?
Our sound is mostly inspired by the classic recordings of 1970s funk from West Africa. The band has a pretty big sound made up of drums, congas, percussion, guitar, bass, keys, sax, and trumpet. We write original music inspired by artists like Fela Kuti, Orchestre Poly Rythmo, Ebo Taylor and The Funkees.
Tell us about the set-up of your live performance and about the performance and vibe?
Our live shows always turn into sweaty dance parties! We are a big band so some of the stages we play on in clubs in Brooklyn aren’t even quite large enough—we end up kind of spilling out into the crowd with our horn section and some of the rhythm section. We dance, we groove, and as cliche as it sounds, we really feed off the energy of the crowds. There has been nothing more energizing than the feeling of being in front of actual dancing people after a year-plus Covid hiatus. I feel like our music is really best experienced live so being back in a room with a crowd of people out enjoying the night feels so good.
Talk us through your new release.
So, our band started without a lead vocalist. We were a fully instrumental group and many of us have been playing together in different forms for more than fifteen years. We slowly built up the band, adding new core members through 2016. In 2017, we began to look for a vocalist who could really bring our music to life. Think of us as the JBs without James Brown—we really had a solid funky groove and an arsenal of songs, but we knew we needed the energy and performance that you can only get from a front man. So, we were introduced to several people around this time, one of whom was Kaleta, who we’ve been playing and touring with ever since. But around that same time, I was also introduced to Osei Korankye by my friend Seth Paris, who knew him and had played with him before. Osei was in New York, so I met him and played a couple shows with him and Seth. I really loved his sound. when Osei returned to Ghana, I had these tracks that we’d recorded a few months prior, and I just sent them to him. I hardly gave him any direction or notes, just the files, and he wrote, arranged, and recorded the vocal parts. When I got the tracks back, I was completely blown away. I knew how talented he was, but I couldn’t believe how perfectly he dialled in the sound. We sat on the tracks while we were releasing our first LP with Kaleta but when we resurfaced them with Ubiquity Records last year, they absolutely loved them and were psyched to put them out for us. So, this release has really been five years in the making, but most of that was just because we were waiting for the right time, and here it is.
What can you tell us about Osei Korankye?
First off, Osei is an unbelievably kind person. He’s full of life, he’s joyous. Pair that with the fact that he’s also an incredible musician, and you can imagine what a pleasure it was to work with him. He’s well known as a Seperewa player in Ghana, a type of harp from a specific region there. Though I haven’t seen Osei in many years now, I still feel very musically connected to him through this release.
This release is for lovers of…
Fans of classic Afro-funk from the 1970s, artists like Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas, Marijata, Orchestre Poly Rythmo, King Sunny Ade, will love this album. If you haven’t gotten into Afro-funk but you’re a fan of James Brown, Sly & The Family Stones, The Meters—definitely give this release a spin and check out our other recordings too.
Are there any plans for the band to tour the UK?
We hope so! We were booked at a major festival in the UK (which I can’t name, but let’s just say it’s very well known internationally) for summer 2020 but it was cancelled at the start of Covid. We have a great European agent though so we’re hoping to make it across the pond soon.
What does Super Yamba have in store for 2022.
A few big things. First, we’re really working on re-establishing ourselves in Brooklyn. It’s our homebase but after Covid, things feel kind of new here again. So, we’re playing around town as much as we want and really enjoying being back with our hometown fans. We’re also planning on doing some touring around the US this summer, including some shows out West this year, which is really exciting. We also have another full LP that we recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texas that we’re planning to release this year, so keep your eyes and ears open. If you want to stay in touch with us and hear more about what’s coming, please sign up for our mailing list on our website: http://www.superyambaband.com.
UBIQUITY PRESENTS SUPER YAMBA BAND FT. OSEI KORANKYE – YEN NI AGORO / WO NKOA NA MENDO ON 25TH MARCH