Over the last few days I’ve been incessantly spinning this little cassette of C.K. Mann’s Ghanaian highlife hits from the 1970s, and frankly I’m starting to get a bit delirious. It could just be the heat, but I swear there’s something positively surreal about the way that corny roller-rink organ slides so smoothly over the incessantly loping bass lines. Mann’s music has a good beat and you can dance to it, but it’s also historically significant–Mann has been credited with having kept Ghana’s homegrown highlife style alive in the African pop world at a time when it was threatened by an inundation of other sounds, including disco. Mann recently moved to the U.S. and is reportedly working toward a fusion of highlife and salsa; this weekend hell be performing with a lineup of Ghanaian and Chicago-based musicians, and judging from a tape I heard of a similar show he did here last year, the results should be intriguing, to say the least Saturday, International Longshoremen’s Association Hall, 1307 S. Michigan; 925-3559, 471-3315, 434-6797, or 708-957-4948.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rana Segal.