After producing Ebo Taylor’s seminal albums ‘Love and Death’ and ‘Appia Kwa Bridge’ for Strut Records, in 2014 Ben Abarbanel-Wolff approached Kwame Yeboah, Ghana’s top contemporary instrumentalist and bandleader, to work on a new project: “We initially wanted to invite Pat back into the studio with Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen to recreate and expand on some of the vibes they had recorded together during a lost session in 1977,” Ben explains. Recorded in Accra, the result was the critically acclaimed self-titled debut album ‘Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’ in 2015.
Pat and the Kwashibu Area Band (named after Kwame’s neighbourhood in Accra) hit the road in October 2015. After a memorable performance at WOMEX in Budapest, they never looked back. The next two years took them around the world to play at major venues and festivals including Glastonbury, Roskilde, WOMAD, Sakifo, WOMADelaide, Sines and many more. “We could see there was something for everyone in our music. People of all ages, colours and trends were dancing together!’ explains Kwame, the mastermind behind the band’s unbelievable precision and killer live show.
The new album is called ‘Obiaa!’ which means ‘Everybody!’. Tracks include the modern parables ‘Onfa Nkosi Hwee’ warning against arrogance and ‘Odo Ankasa’ about the value of real love and trust as well as a great new cover of Thomas’ Afro-disco favourite ‘Yamona’. “Playing highlife around the world taught us what we had to do to move our sound forward,” continues Ben. While simultaneously looking back towards the classic days of highlife and forward to a fresh revival of the guitar band sound, this album cements Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band’s position at the pinnacle of modern African music.