By Alfred Tamakloe
In Copenhagen – Denmark
With her saxophone firmly stuck under her arm, Danish saxophone player and composer Katrine Suwalski arrived in Ghana in 1994 looking for new inspiration in her musical life.
Twenty years on, Suwalski returns to Ghana with her fabulous Danish/Ghanaian Jazz quartet – “Another World”. Originally named “Ghanaian Inspiration”, she formed the band after her trip to the West African country.
“I was introduced to the rich tradition of Ghanaian polyrhythms by Odomankoma Kyerema Pra, leader of Twedeampon Traditionals, a traditional music and dance group based in the Ghanaian coastal town of Cape Coast”, says Suwalski.
“This meeting has strongly influenced my musical life and my playing. Over the years, Okyerema Pra has worked with us several times in Denmark and other countries. Now I really look forward to play our music in Ghana for the first time”, she continues.
From March 29 to April 9, Suwalski and “Another World”, featuring Denmark-based Ghanaian percussionist, Ayi Solomon of “Classic Vibes” fame, will serve Ghanaians with her brand of jazz, which is heavily influenced by Ghanaian polyrhythms.
These include performances and workshops in Cape Coast, Akosombo and Accra, which will also feature Ghanaian Afro jazz singer and songwriter, Tina Mensah (Elivava, the African Gold) and Okyerema Pra with Twerammpon Traditionals.
“I’m very happy to be travelling to Ghana this time around with my long time friend and musical colleague, Ayi Solomon, with whom I’ve been playing for the last twenty years. I’m looking forward to share the culture with my musicians as well as re-unite with my old and new Ghanaian friends and share my music with the Ghanaian audience”.
Critic Torben Holleufer of the Danish magazine, Jazz Special, describes Suwalski’s music as “sensitivity, presence, vigour … the flood of tones and the polyrhythmic elements rush forth from every single gesture alongside an addition of naked Nordic tones and a sense for a good tune”.
In another review, Peter Krog of Djembe Magazine wrote, “This is a case of a colourful, open, and comprehensive musical universe…. In every way, an elevating and promising piece of music that speaks to the heart.”
Katrine Suwalski is a musician and a composer of considerable scope and imagination. She has created her own distinctive fusion of Jazz with West African Influences. It’s an exuberant music with a personal touch that is unusual, extroverted and atmospheric, played by some of the best musicians from the Danish Jazz and World Music scene.
The band features Katrine Suwalski’s own compositions. In her musical writing she is inspired by great composers such as Camerounian sax player Manu Dibango and South African keyboardist Abdullah Ibrahim.