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Audio: Y’akoto “Baby Blues” & “Tamba”

Listen to "Tamba" and "Baby Blues" by soul singer Y’akoto. The half Ghanaian/German singer's smokey timbre is reminiscent of Billie Holiday.


Like many gifted artists, Y’akoto is a bit of a transient. This half Ghanaian, half German soul singer spent the majority of her life shuttling between Western and Central Africa and Western Europe, and it’s clear that there is some cross cultural harmony in her music. The West African rhythms are apparent in a few of her songs, but the major element I hear is the brusque femininity of an American jazz singer like Billie Holiday. Sensuous is probably the only word that can accurately describe Y’akoto’s voice. She has a smoky timbre that stands out most prominently on the title track of her new album, Baby Blues. The song is just the type of bare bones, morose fare you’d expect on song about lost love. A piano, a distant grumbling drumb, and Y’akoto’s sultry voice are all you’re going to get on this one... of course if you’re like me, you’ll get that and a few dour memories of your past relationships.

If you aren’t keen on tearing up over failed romances, feel free to take a listen to “Tamba.” It’s just as beautifully moody as “Baby Blues,” only it will make you want to yell at a politician...you know, instead of an ex-lover. For more, visit Y'akoto's website.

"Baby Blues"

[audio:http://www.okayafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/Baby-Blues.mp3|titles=Baby Blues by Y'akoto]

"Tamba"

[audio:http://www.okayafrica.com/wp-content/uploads/Tamba.mp3|titles=Tamba by Y'akoto]

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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