Sycophantic Friends (CD)
MR 21 ● CD ● 2017
Some people who have money, they think they can speak nonsense. Some people say they no go die, but they lie.
Atamina, or actually we should say Dr. Professor Atamina, is one of the protagonists of the new wave of Kologo Power, a music scene that hails from Ghana’s North East Region, that spread all over Ghana after King Ayisoba’s number one kologo hit song “I Want To See You My Father”, and is now conquering the whole world. Atamina is the smart guy, with tongue-in-cheek social-critical lyrics, pulling away the carpet under the feet of West Africa’s new developing bourgeoisies. There is a strong link to the Delta blues with its story-telling but Atamina might as well be called the Sleaford Mods of West Africa with his stripped beats and obnoxious rants.
Listen to the song “When Two Elephants Fight”; Atamina is moving from one leg to the other, playing circles around his listeners, and the djembe drum is following in perfect tread. It makes Atamina sound like he is dancing with an elephant that took footwork lessons from Mohammed Ali. Then listen to “No One Wants To Die”, a song that pulls you inside with its hypnotic rhythm and riff and then boxes you on the ears with its message. This is Atamina at whole-length; the doctor is coming to treat you, but he sure isn’t a gentle healer.
Atamina is part of the scene around King Ayisoba, often warming up the audience when King Ayisoba is on tour in Ghana, and working a great job doing so. On the This Is Kologo Power! compilation (MR 16) he featured with King Ayisoba, but on Sycophantic Friends he is mastering the job on his own. He is one of the big stars in the Bolgatanga area and growing fast in the big cities down south since he has no problem bringing his message across in English. And that gives this release an extra boost for the rest of the world. Atamina has something to say and wants people to act. A few countries in Africa started banning plastic bags, Atamina is forcing Ghana, and the rest of the world in its slipstream, to ban plastic, since it is ruining our bodies and environment (Rubber Song). Addressing the problem and providing the solution, joyfully obstinate, with a wink and a nudge; that’s the kologo doctor and may the whole world experience his treatment.
Agong Atamina lives in Bongo, a small village near the border of Burkino Faso. He is 35 years old and studied as a doctor but became a musician because that was in his blood. He did not learn to play kologo;
Kologo is a spirit from every family or clan. Nobody can teach somebody how to play kologo. If you are not born with it, you are not born with it. When the spirit chooses you, then you can play kologo. My grandfather played kologo and his kologo is the God of our family now.
Atamina started when he was ten years old, he played other people’s songs, traditional songs, songs from Sambo, Sule, Guy One, King Ayisoba.
The time I started making my own songs was when King Ayisoba burned Ghana. But those days people did not listen to kologo and only listened to imitated music. But King Ayisoba changed it all. So now we walk with lifted head. The way we play now fits the modern society. Some songs are fast, some are slow, they also have to please the different groups of people and the different dances.