"This is special…itches identity, family and culture via a raw, Madlibbed, fucked-up re-jigging of classic, scratchy Ghanaian highlife, lit up by sampled fighting talk from the great Kwame Nkrumah..."
- Honest Jon’s
As part of The Showroom’s Communal Knowledge programme Larry Achiampong worked with students from the Fresh Start course at City of Westminster College.
The group undertook research and practice that deconstructed sound-based information from the participants’ histories, contemporary surroundings and that of The Showroom’s neighborhood. This archive of sounds and recordings were then remixed to generate new audios.
This project formed part of Achiampong’s existing research that sets out to investigate the audible potentials of personal and non-personal expression through sampling and sound recording devices and processes. Exploring perceptions and concepts of identity with regard to his Ghanaian and British heritage Achiampong has been working with Highlife, a music genre that predates Jazz originating from Ghana in the 1900s. Groups such as E.T. Mensah and his 12-piece band The Tempos represent the charismatic archetype of the Highlife dance band and travelled on state visits with the 1st President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, who encouraged music as a cultural identifier and saw Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule in 1957.
Highlife’s peak and magnitude is highlighted between the 1950’s and the early 1980’s with musicians such as Alhaji K. Frimpong, City Boys International Band, African Brothers International Band, Ebo Taylor and even Fela Ransome Kuti. Unfortunately a military coup in 1979 dealt lethal blows to Ghana’s music industry. Former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings’ curfews and import tax on musical instruments affectively drove the live sound of Highlife out of the streets.
The outcome of the project was launched at The Showroom in a limited edition of 200 vinyl records, each including a silk-screen printed cover (SOLD OUT).
For the event Achiampong presented an audio-based performance that included a communal listening and participatory event, discussing his own history in connection with the legacy of Highlife music by combining and mixing audio from additional vinyl records that relate to the subject matter. The audience was also invited to participate in this event by presenting samples of themselves via self-presentation and submission of their own audio, preferably on vinyl.
The project was also presented in Riga, (Latvia) at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art for the international exhibition Survival Kit. Achiampong created a site-specific installation and also presented the project in a DJ-based performance.
Communal Knowledge is supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The John Lyons Charitable Trust, Westminster Arts and The Showroom Supporters Scheme, Sample of Me has been carried out within the framework of ‘Survival Kit. Art linking society, knowledge and activism’ and with the support of the Culture 2007–2013 programme of the European Union.
Workshop sessions - The Showroom
Record Launch - The Showroom
Installation - Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Performance - Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
MEH MOGYA (SAMPLE OF ME) Vinyl Cover (back)
SAMPLE OF ME CD Cover (front)
SAMPLE OF ME CD Cover (Back)
© Larry Achiampong