OY: “Life is like a mobile phone your unit comes, your unit goes…”

 

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Akwaaba! Welcome to the  “No Problem Saloon”, the second album from OY, (previously released under the name “Kokokyinaka” last year on Creaked Records), this time repackaged on the Belgian label, Crammed Discs and featuring some extra tracks.

OY are a Berlin-based duo composed of Swiss-Ghanaian vocalist, story-teller, musician, sound sampler Joy Frempong and mysterious drummer & producer Lleluja-Ha. This album is a refreshing, improvised breeze of African-influenced electronica based on a road trip that absorbed sounds and experiences from Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and South Africa. Tales, proverbs and folklore were gathered along the way to be retold in an experimental, kaleidoscopic style, at times dark and mercurial, other times as joyful as walking through an African market place. As OY sings: “Life is like a mobile phone your unit comes, your unit goes”…

 A charmingly beguiling, left-of-centre, musical adventure

The slam of a taxi door becomes a drum, an antiquated washing machine provides a bass sound, conversation and street noises drift in and out of songs, the lyrics naturally develope from the stories and fragments of popular African wisdom encountered along the way. It makes for a charmingly beguiling, left-of-centre, musical adventure told in Joy’s elegant, playful voice that is as ease in English and French as it is in the numerous regional dialects.

Full of observational delight

Songs about bizarre name choices “My name is Happy” and the sexual politics of afro hair Halleluja Hair” are pure poetry in motion full of observational delight, colourful local custom and Joy’s own personal fire. Her velvety speaking voice entertains us with tales of how you should never run to a funeral of the man who stumbled and died (“Don’t Run Run”) and should you ever find yourself in a village where snoring is a crime punishable by death just start singing instead (“I don’t snore”).

Compassionate observation of humanity

Unknown-2Graced with ambidextrous talents, Joy is mistress of many synths and sound machines, often distorting her voice and playing it back as haunting accompaniment or backing vocals. An impressive wall of sound is at times created between herself and partner as in “Doondari”, where dark voice effects and heavy synth rhythms clash with swirling drum beats as menacing as a locust storm. Contrast this with a playful singing voice that combines rare soothing sweetness and reassuring confidence. ‘No Problem Saloon’ exudes compassionate observation of humanity and wraps it up in multi-textured, exhuberant electronic soundscapes.

 

OY are a wonderful live experience, catch them on stage here!

OY: “No Problem Saloon” (Crammed Discs)

 

OY@Electron Festival Geneva

Oy_press2_Andi_ZantWelcome to the OY experience – another intoxicatingly, left-of-centre, musical adventure dispelling all myths that life is unexotic in Switzerland.

This highly creative duo is made up of Joy Frempong: Swiss/Ghanaian vocalist, composer, story teller, sound sampler – and Lleluja-Ha: drummer, writer, producer. Their on stage appearance already communicates that you’re in for an outlandish and unique evening. Joy is like an elegant gazelle, all height and hair, dressed in colourful childlike patterns exuding both innocence and depth; Lleluja-Ha, possibly a lost member of Sun Ra’s arkestra, is shrouded within engulfing high priest regalia and remains the enigmatic driving force behind the entire show.

Here, on the 30th of March 2013, to promote their newly-released 2nd album – Kokokyinaka – on Creaked Records, their sound is a refreshing, improvised breeze of African-influenced electronica based on a road trip that absorbed sounds and experiences from Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and South Africa. Tales, proverbs and folklore were gathered along the way to be retold in an experimental, kaleidoscopic style, at times dark and mercurial, other times as joyful as walking through an African market place.

Graced with ambidextrous talents, Joy is busy at the controls of her many synths and sound machines, often sampling her voice and playing it back as haunting accompaniment or backing vocals. An impressive wall of sound is often created between herself and partner as in ‘Chicken Beer’, where dark voice effects and heavy synth rhythms clash with swirling drum beats as menacing as a locust storm. Contrast this with a playful singing voice that combines rare soothing sweetness and reassuring confidence, (I imagined Joy singing me the last rites and how delightful it would sound). Songs about bizarre name choices ‘My name is happy’ and the sexual politics of hair ‘Halleluja Hair’ are pure poetry in motion full of observational delight and personal fire. Her seductive speaking voice entertains us with tales of how you should “never run to a funeral if you’re late” or how Ghanaians believe that “every mistake is a new style”.

If she fancied reading out the local Chinese take-away menu I think most of the audience would have happily listened. There was a lot of love in the room for this band. OY exude compassionate observation of humanity and wrap it up in multi-textured, exhuberant electronic soundscapes. The slightly drunken man standing next to me kept muttering “I’m in love with the singer, she makes me feel love, she makes me feel things I’ve never felt before”. He wasn’t wrong.

Joy Frempong – vocals, sampler, synths, sound machines. Leluja-Ha – drums, production
Oy, Kokokyinaka (Creaked Record)

Oy fait son marché

Mais qu’est-ce qui se passe? Oy, notre chanteuse helvetico-ghanéenne préférée devient funky. Ce n’est pas pour nous déplaire, bien au contraire. Après s’être intéressée – avec le succès que l’on sait – aux souvenirs d’enfance, la chanteuse à la voix de caméléon est partie à plusieurs reprises séjourner en Afrique. Elle y a enregistré les bruits les plus divers, de la machine à laver de sa mère à celui du pilon écrasant le blé. Le premier morceau, issu de ses pérégrinations lointaines, s’appelle “Market Place”. Ses signes distinctifs sont des samples de bruits de rue, des rythmes empruntés à l’Afrique ou à l’électro et un chant soul. En attendant la sortie de l’album prévue en 2013, vous pouvez écouter ce morceau sur Youtube ou le télécharger sur votre smartphone/Iphone) au moyen de l’application Creaked (le label de Oy).

Et pour avoir une idée du live, regardez le petit film réalisé sur elle dans le cadre de la série Jazzout de Mezzo.  Oy s’y montre désormais accompagnée d’une vraie batterie tenue par un mystérieux compagnon masqué. Le morceau s’appelle “Halleluja” et figurera également sur le nouvel album de Madame.

Et surtout, ne la ratez pas sur scène si elle passe près de chez vous.

SEPTEMBRE

28 Toulouse, France @ Nuits Nomades
29 Bern, Switzerland @ Schlachthaus

OCTOBRE

05 Delémont, Switzerland @ SAS
06 Cully, Switzerland @ I Ha Nüt Festival
13 Paris, France @ Factory Festival – La Cigale
17 Nancy, France @ Jazz Pulsations
27 Durbe, Latvia @ Zemlika Festival
NOVEMBRE
01 Lausanne, Switzerland @ Love and 8 – Le Bourg
23 Darmstadt, Switzerland @ Jetztmusik
DECEMBRE
07 Zurich, Switzerland @ Kilbi Im Uberall
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