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A Magazine for Sheffield

Alostmen Kologo

New Ghanaian quartet Alostmen blend rap and spoken word on a confident debut filled with special guests.

Released: 29 January 2021

Four-piece Alostmen are a band at the forefront of kologo music in Ghana. The namesake of their aptly-named debut album Kologo is a stringed lute, which the band explores using the traditions of the Frafra (a semi-nomadic ethnic group from northern Ghana). The band says it found inspiration for their name because the band members “were lost in the street, the forgotten people”. Musically, however, they are far from lost with their confident debut incorporating elements of Frafra, blues, rock, rap, reggae and funk. This confidence is no surprise – among the band's members are well-established heavyweights from the Ghanaian scene including Wanlov the Kubolor and Stevo Atambire.

At 14 tracks, including collaborations with high-profile Ghanaian artists, the album is no small feat. The band began recording it while on the road during one of their last tours to Uganda, using a mobile studio unit and recording in hotel rooms, closets and anywhere else they could find a good sound.

As well as showcasing string instruments such as the kologo and goje (a two-stringed fiddle), percussion sits centre-stage giving the album its infectious rhythm, with a gome box (large frame drum from West Africa), Djembe and conga drums. Horns make an appearance on some of the more funky Afrobeat-inspired tracks, particularly ‘Minus Me’ featuring Ghanaian funk legend Ambolley. Stevo, the band’s kologo player, subverts tradition by playing “almost Hendrix-style!” at the shortest end of the bridge.

The band sing in a combination of Frafra and English, and quickly switch between melodic vocals and harmonies to rap elements or spoken word (see ‘Fauziah’, featuring rapper Yaa Pono). In Wanlov’s own words: “I talk of this region, how they used to live and what they experience today. I try to bring development, peace and unity to the community, to give them hope to achieve.”