Youthful Accra based highlife band, Santrofi has given music enthusiast worldwide a feel of what to expect from their debut album with the release of the first single “Alewa”. The debut album is set to drop on April 24, 2020, on Outhere Records.
Santrofi’s members are deeply rooted in vintage Ghanaian highlife music in all its forms. The influences range from the riveting fast-paced pulse of 70s dance-guitar highlife or the other-worldly sound of Highlife funk to the polyrhythmic beats and melodies that took Afrobeat across the globe. The members have toured the world with legends like Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas, Gyedu Blay Ambolley, Osibisa, George Darko and many, many others. They have also backed numerous artists in Ghana, from Azonto sensation Sarkodie to Nigerian superstar 2Face Idibia.
According to Ofori it is high time to bring back the glory days of Highlife, not only to the world but also to Ghana, where the young generation has forgotten all about this genre of music.
“Back in the days in the 60s and 70s, we had so many bands in Ghana, if you go to a pub to have a drink or something there isn’t a DJ, no, there is a band playing and they are playing their music. Ghana is one of the richest places when it comes to music. Hugh Masekela, Fela Kuti, Orlando Julius or Richard Bona, they all came to Ghana to learn so much. But we lost it all, so we want to bring it back. And wherever we play we are starting to see our friends rethinking their attitude towards highlife and trying to bring out their inner highlife voice. But we also love to throw in some of the trending dances like Shaku shaku or Gwara gwara to keep the music fresh” he said.
Even without the release of the album, Santrofi has already been making waves all over Europe during their 2019 summer festival tour which included Roskilde (Denmark), FMM Sines (Portugal), WOMAD (UK), Fusion (Germany) and WOMEX (Finland). This young all-star band from Ghana brims with energy on stage. (2020 UK shows to be announced soon.)
Santrofi was founded by bassist and producer Emmanuel Ofori who rose from playing with Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band. The band’s debut album ‘Alewa’ features a new wave of fresh highlife rooted in the past with knowledge of the future directly from the streets of Accra.
Santrofi in Akan mythology is a rare and precious bird, identified by its bright colours and four wings. It is so unique, it was forbidden to be hunted. Attempting to catch and lock up the bird will bring you bad luck. If spotted and left to fly away, great luck and fortune can be expected.
‘Alewa’ is a metaphor for a popularly known local black and white striped sweet. It symbolizes the need to recognize, accept, tolerate and embrace racial diversity to build a world with love and unity. This spirit also shows in their D.I.Y. band approach. The album was composed arranged, produced and recorded in Ghana in a joint effort by Santrofi. On stage Santrofi breaks down hierarchies, the musicians alternate their roles each growing on the other’s talent while harmonizing as a whole.