K.O.G & The Zongo Brigade: Akwaaba Live EP

Fronted by energetic vocalist K.O.G, this nine-piece band fuse together west African rhythms and a combination of funk, soul, hip-hop and reggae, to inject Sheffield’s music scene with a fun, fresh, party sound. Originally formed in January 2014, K.O.G & The Zongo Brigade self-release debut EP, ‘Akwaaba’ (an Akan, Ashanti Tribe word meaning ‘welcome’) this month. Talk about new year’s resolutions!

As soon as you hear the rapid bongo drums and tropical-sounding guitar on first track, ‘Jabulani’, you can’t help but feel positive. Its a party track with an uplifting brass chorus and K.O.G’s high-pitched yells, which stretch out and pull you onto the dancefloor. Imagine a more tasteful, way cooler version of The Merryman’s ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot’ and you’ll get what I mean.

Second track, ‘Moses’ is a change of pace with its lazy reggae beat and trumpets. ‘Baajo’ gets back on the party track with its playful brass and danceable drum beat, before mellow, melancholy trumpets open, ‘Heroes’ to reveal K.O.G’s calmer vocals and reluctant lyrics, “Where have the heroes gone?”

‘Let Me Love You’ has a 60s, rock’n’roll feel, owing to catchy guitar riffs and organs. Combined with bluesy brass and a hint of Latino, this song, like the EP is delightfully difficult to define. The song progresses into faster guitars, bursts of brass and K.O.G’s frenzied shouts. Last track, ‘Franz Von Song’ has a fitting name because it gives MC Franz Von the room to shine and fill soulful verses with his impressively quick rapping, before the EP draws to a close with one last burst of brass.

‘Akwaaba’ has a live and natural sound, enough to make you wish you were watching K.O.G and the band live. This is an EP guranteed to lift spirits and raise the temperature during the dull, winter months with its mix of energetic afro-beat and laid back reggae tracks.