This Fall, we’re proud to present the first full career retrospective release for Ghanaian highlife master and “The Golden Voice Of Africa,” Pat Thomas, covering his late ‘60s big band highlife recordings through to the “burger highlife” movement of the early ‘80s. With Thomas currently wowing audiences on the road in support of last year’s incredible album with Kwishibu Area Band, Coming Home offers listeners a chance to get to know Thomas’ singular career.
One of Thomas’ earliest tracks, with the Ebo Taylor lead Broadway Dance Band, is streaming below. The partnership with Taylor would become one of the enduring forces in Ghanaian music during the ‘70s, creating a fresh, progressive new highlife sound. “Today, highlife has become the world’s music,” says Thomas, “and I am proud to still bring it to so many people.”
Pat Thomas – Coming Home is released 30th September on 2CD, 3LP and digital formats, and features exclusive photos and a full interview with Pat Thomas. Pre-orders are available now.
Ghanaian vocalist Pat Thomas and his all-star Kwashibu Area Band are setting out on an absolutely massive tour this summer. Performing material from last year’s self-titled album as well as highlights from throughout Thomas’ long career, this string of shows are an amazing opportunity to catch a living master of African highlife in the flesh. A highlight at last year’s Womex festival, the band will be taking their phenomenal live show across Europe from May.
The album Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD included) & digital formats.
The self titled debut album from legendary Ghanaian vocalist Pat Thomas and his newly formed Kwashibu Area band was one of the soundtracks to our summer. Firmly rooted in the tradition of classic West African musicianship, the album showcases Thomas’ incredible voice and reinvigorates our love of Highlife. This Autumn, Thomas and company are hitting the road together, performing tracks from the album as well as classics from throughout Pat Thomas’ career. Don’t miss an opportunity to see one of the foremost living practioners of Highlife music, live in the flesh.
Berlin-based Henrik Schwarz is a master of incorporating the organic sounds of jazz, afrobeat and soul into his heady house sets. His latest master stroke is a deep take on a classic Ghanaian track from Ebo Taylor and Pat Thomas (the original of which appears on our Taylor retrospective Life Stories). Schwarz’s version draws out the horns and backing vocals, delaying the catharsis of Thomas’ distinctive croon for maximum dance floor delight.
“Ene Nyame” is available now on digital retail services. A vinyl 12″, featuring an unreleased dub mix, will be released 18th September.
It’s not every day that you get to observe a master at work, but that’s exactly the feeling we get watching Pat Thomas rehearse with his all-star Kwashibu Area Band at their studio in Accra. The nimble playing of each musician adds its piece to an intricate puzzle, providing the perfect bed for Thomas’ expressive vocals.
With their self-titled debut album available now, Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band will be hitting the road this fall. Confirmed dates below.
02.10.15 London, UK: Richmix
07.10.15 Brussels, Belgium: AB Club
08.10.15 Paris, France: New Morning
09.10.05 Zurich, Switzerland: Stall 6
10.10.15 Lyon, France: Le Sucre
17.10.15 Utrecht, Holland: Rasa
18.10.15 Amsterdam, Holland: Paradiso
20.10.15 Berlin, Germany: Bi Nuu
22.10.15 – 24.10.15 Budapest, Hungary: Womex showcase
We’ve been fans of Bandcamp for years now. It’s a great place to discover new music and to directly support artists. When the service announced that they would be adding label profiles, we knew we wanted to get on board. Starting this week, every Strut release will be available digitally at https://strut.bandcamp.com/. Stop in, take a look around, and give us a follow for updates on new releases and special promotions.
As a special welcome gift, we’re offering a free download of the summery Highlife anthem “Me Ho Asem” from Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, out this week. Head to the release page for your free track. You can also hear an interview with Strut’s own Quinton Scott on Bandcamp Weekly podcast.
Vinyl & CDs will still be available directly via the Strut Store.
“Best thing I’ve put on the stereo in some time” – Marco Werman
The self-titled album from Ghanaian legend Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is something of a reunion, re-uniting Thomas with past collaborators that include Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen. Brimming with authentic West African highlife and afro funk, the album highlight “Me Ho Asem” is streaming below.
From the album’s liner notes:
An “Africo” crossover style typical of early 1970s Accra in the style of Osibisa and Alhaji K Frimpong. It’s one of the most funky tracks on the album and features some superb harmonic and melodic touches. Thomas’s lyrics are defiant: “This is my life, my turn. You can talk about all my problems and dance in my misery. But it’s not going to be like that forever. You can talk all you want but things will always get better for me.”
The track features a yearning trumpet solo from another Ghanaian legend, Osei Tutu. Osei was a member of Hedzolleh Sounds and also played alongside Ebo and Pat in the Sweet Beans.
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is released June 16th on Strut. Pre-orders are available on iTunes, Amazon & the Strut Store.
“I’m an afrobeat drummer but Pat Thomas is highlife. That is what he does so well.” -Tony Allen
Coming in June, we are proud to announce 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 multi-instumentalist Kwame Yeboah (Cat Stevens, Patrice) and saxophonist Ben Abarbanel-Wolff (Ebo Taylor, Poets of Rhythm).
A regular collaborator with Ebo Taylor, Thomas was mainstay of the ‘70s and ‘80s Ghanaian highlife, afrobeat and afro-pop scenes, hitting big with the Ghana Cocoa Board-sponsored Sweet Beans band. Thomas’ new album marks over 50 years making music and reunites him with old friends: Ebo Taylor provides horn arrangements, Tony Allen contributes drums to several tracks, Osei Tutu (Hedzolleh Sounds) plays a memorable trumpet solo and prolific 1970s bassist Ralph Karikari (The 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.
Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band is released June 16th 2015 on CD, LP and digital formats featuring hand-drawn artwork by Lewis Heriz and full sleeve notes. The campaign will feature remixes released in conjunction with Absolut Vodka. Pre-order now on iTunes, and watch a video on the studio sessions below.
web store, we thought we'd take the opportunity to put together something special to celebrate this release, and to make the music available once again on vinyl.
This definitive reissue features the original LP remastered and pressed on 180g triple vinyl in a gatefold sleeve. The package comes with the full 2CD edition of the album and a copy of the Nigeria 70 audio documentary, unavailable since the original CD issue (also as download as soon as the package is shipped).
Narrated by Wunmi with commentary by the late Nigerian academic "Elder" Steve Rhodes, this one-hour piece is an essential snapshot of the 1970s Lagos scene and the cultural and political context from many of the key players of the time. It includes interviews with Ginger Baker, Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey, Segun Bucknor, Joni Haastrup of Monomono and many more.
Nigeria 70 - The Definitive LP Edition on the Strut web store
Digital Download (STRUT044CDX)
Welcome To Nigeria - Introduction: Welcome to Nigeria
Nigeria 70 Documentary - Interlude
Nigeria 70 Documentary - Highlife Time
Fela Kuti, Tony Allen and Ginger Baker - Fela Kuti, Tony Allen and Ginger Baker
Voices of the People - Voices of the people: social commentary, critical statement and satire
Charlie Dark - Charlie Dark: 'Nigeria 70' poem
Orlando Julius & The Afro Sounders - Alo Mi Alo (Parts 1 & 2)
Segun Bucknor & His Revolution - La La La
Lijadu Sisters - Orere Elejigbo
Peter King - Shango
Sahara All Stars Band Jos - Enjoy Yourself
Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 - Jeun Ko Ku (Chop ‘N’ Quench)
Tunji Oyelana & The Benders - Ifa
Ofo The Black Company - Allah Wakbarr
The Funkees - Dancing Time
Monomono - Tire Loma Da Nigbehin
Bala Miller & The Great Music Pirameeds Of Afrika - Ikon Allah
Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestroes - Akuyan Ekassa
Shina Williams & His African Percussionists - Agboju Logun
Gasper Lawal - Kita Kita
Sunny Ade & His African Beats - Ja Fun Mi (Instrumental)">