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Awesome Tapes From Africa Tracked Down Ata Kak For The 'Obaa Sima' Reissue

ATFA is readying the reissue of Ata Kak's brilliant, left-of-field 90s Ghanaian highlife-disco 'Obaa Sina.'


In 2002 Awesome Tapes From Africa founder Brian Shimkovitz happened upon a cassette copy of Obaa Sima at a roadside stall in Cape Coast, Ghana. In 2006, Shimkovist showcased this cassette gem on his first ever blog post and the internet subsequently went wild over the release, especially its infectious & ecstatic dance anthem "Daa Nyinaa." By 2011, ATFA had transformed into a full-fledged label focusing on re-releasing obscure tapes from all over the African continent and the music of Ata Kak quickly became a cult classic amongst DJs and underground tastemakers.

Despite all the internet buzz, no one was quite sure who it was exactly that produced the astonishing Obaa Sima. Thus, Shimkovist began his search for the elusive Ata Kak, which ended up being a quite arduous and expensive endeavor. After spending a considerable amount time traveling, making phone calls and searching endlessly on Google, Shimkowitz finally tracked down the Ghanian musician, whose real name is Yaw Atta-Owusu. It was discovered that Atta-Owusu had recorded Obaa Sima in 1994 in Toronto before returning to Ghana in 2006. The restoration of the original tape proved to be difficult challenge. Only about 50 copies of the original tape were produced, and Atta-Owusu's master DAT had disintegrated, so the second-hand copy purchased by Shimkovitz was used as the source for the reissue.

In a recent post, ATFA reported Atta-Owusu's excitement from all the positive attention shown towards his music. The musician's given his blessing for Obaa Sima's reissue which will include archival photos and biographical info. Obaa Sima will be available as an LP, CD, Mp3 and limited edition cassette tape on March 3. Vinyl and digital pre-orders are available now. Listen to album track ‘Bome Nnwom’ below.

Obaa Sima

A1 Obaa Sima

A2 Moma Yendodo

A3 Adagya

A4 Medofo

B1 Daa Nyinaa

B2 Yemmpa Aba

B3 Bome Nnwom

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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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