Sunday, 5 May 2013

Music: Atongo Zimba to play AFRICA OYE 2013 in Liverpool, UK from 22nd -23rd June 2013…..


Paulina Opoku-Gyimah says: Ghana Rising fave, Atongo-Zimba is set to play Africa Oye 2013 at Sefton Park, Liverpool, from 22nd -23rd June 2013 alongside other Ghanaian greats including:  Osibisa (Ghana), Black Prophet (Ghana) and Yaaba Funk (UK/Ghana) -and Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra (Nigeria) / Mokoomba (Zimbabwe) / Son Yambu (Cuba) and Zong Zing Allstars (DR Congo). Its free entry for all, –so I look forward to seeing you there. For more info about Africa Oyé visit their official FB page via:

For more info about the ever charismatic Atongo Zimba visit his official website at:

More Info: Biography
Atongo Zimba comes from the north of Ghana. He was very young when his grandfather taught him to play and make the koliko (or molo), a two stringed lute, which is used throughout the savannahs and deserts of West Africa.

His time as a child was divided between the family farm and the regional capital of Bolgatanga. During holidays and weekends he would run the family cattle through farmland and forest, with other boys, looking for feed and water for the cows. There was a strong musical tradition amongst the cowboys and they would play instruments such as flutes and percussion, as well as using their voices to make different sounds, many of which mimicked birds and animals.

He learnt traditional songs and started to compose his own and to use the koliko for more complex melodies than the usual strumming. The instrument is used for many traditional events and to motivate farm workers, but Atongo was interested in using it for more general entertainment and decided to travel in order to explore the possibilities of music making as a career. He found the compound of Fela Kuti in Lagos, where he stayed for two years in his late adolescence, opening the weekend shows with his solo performances

He returned to Ghana, this time to Accra where he joined a very active and creative music scene in the 1980's and 90's, playing with Osibisa and the Pan African Orchestra amongst others. At the same time, he continued to develop his own solo style, picking up ideas from highlife, jazz and funk. Music is part of everyday activity in Ghana and he travelled the country as part of a concert party with Senior Eddy Donkoh.

He has released four albums in Ghana. During these years he made two visits to Europe, one in the middle 1990's with Swiss drummer Gabriel Schiltnecht. Their band was called Allah Mungode. The second was with the cultural group, Adisa.

Atongo has been based in the UK since 2003 and has developed European collaborations in addition to keeping a strong link with his home country and its musicians.

He has released two albums internationally since then under Hippo Records. The first was Savannah Breeze (2005) for which Atongo put together a band of Dutch based Ghanaian and Caribbean musicians for this Afro-funk sound. It was produced by Dave Youell, who had produced earlier famed koliko player, Captain Yaba. The second was Barefoot in the Sand (2007), which was a collaboration with Niels Brouwer, well known Dutch guitarist (who also produced the album) and Monica Akihary, vocals. This album is more jazz influenced and gently funky.

Atongo has been playing numerous festivals in Europe as well as in Africa and Latin America. He has recently been playing around the UK with a trio.

Other activities have included providing the music for Kwame Kwei Armah's play, "Elmina's Kitchen" with Juldeh Camara. This ran in the National Theatre, the west end of London and a national tour.

Atongo composes and sings in his native Fra Fra, Hausa, Ga, English and Twi. The themes of his songs include power and respect in inter-personal and inter-ethnic relationships, issues of everyday life and development for Ghana and Africa generally as well as romantic love and spirituality.

His most recent venture is with Ghana based musicians, in a band called Sankune, building on the sounds of his boyhood, using traditional instruments.

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