By John Owoo
Polyversal Souls, a Berlin based band last week made manifest the power and attractiveness of cross-cultural collaborations with a compelling performance at the Goethe-Institut in Accra.
Performing to a near capacity audience alongside Bolgatanga based kologo virtuoso Guy One and high pitch singers; they managed to turn the venue into a music groove with diverse rhythms and songs full of tremendous emotional power.
With a distinct blend of instrumentation that appeared flawless – the group put together saxophones, trombones, keyboards and drum sets alongside kologo, which they dramatically blended into a greater whole.
As sharp, stimulating and stirring voices from Florence Adooni and Jonas Alo-Ohotoho as well as brisk rhythms from the Germans and Guy One, the audience was coolly transferred to the savannah highlands of Northern Ghana together with the kologo rhythms.
Fascinated by the wild rhythms from the Kologo, a two-stringed lute that can produce great tempos and delightful sound effects, the audience appeared to be at the edge of their seats as flutes, baritone / tenor saxophones and trombones equally blasted sweet sounds in to the cool night air.
A fusion of several musical cultures, the concert was truly tight, intricately woven and quietly intense. It provided a platform for fruitful collaboration that ensured a dramatic fusion of soul, rock and jazz with indigenous beats, sounds and voices from the Upper East region.
An apostle of collaborations, Weissenfeldt, who is the leader, has toured Europe and various parts of Africa well as South Eastern Asia, where he studied classical Burmese Saing Waing music. He later decided to start a label and formed Polyversal Souls in order to play and record with local Ghanaian talent.
Organized by the Goethe-Institut, the group is scheduled to perform in Nigeria, Benin, Togo and La Côte d’Ivoire. Further performances and recording sessions will take place in Germany later this year.