REBIRTH OF FELA: AS VILLY & THE XTREME VOLUMES DROP HUMANIMALS EP

The dominant scene of commercial music sees artists walk in and out each passing month with touted promise of longevity and consistency as it is easier to “make a hit” with technology-empowered mixing or sound mastering and internet-tweaked virtual social presence presently. This was not so a few decades ago when a legend like Richard Bona had to play several instruments for entire days and teach himself to read and write music till his breakthrough in 1989, when he began working with leading musicians; violinist Didier Lockwood and bassist Marc Ducret at the age of 22. We find a similar strain of dedication in Villy & the Xtreme Volumes; a Nigerian Afro Fusion group presently based in Ghana, as they count the results of about 7 years of getting the beam into their art.
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Over the years, African rhythms through stages of evolution have been used by performers to engage the realities of socio-political dynamics. Fela Kuti‘s timeless sway is a strong example, and it gets more interesting because Villy and his team have been compared on several platforms to markedly stand out with such momentum that reminds us that Afro protest music with substance is here to not only stay but make an impact. In a conversation, Villy, the leader of the band points out that; “the message is especially for the African mind. [It] simply questions everything about the world we live in today to achieve self realization as Africans. In this EP, I make myself an example of what I think in my own opinion the lay man should be- how to fight for his or her rights and also how to demand answers.”

Omonblanks, who works very close to the band discloses that, “it is an EP with 6 songs; Alarm, Runaway, Which Way, Humanimals, Wia My Moni and No Way.” A further breakdown by Villy was that; “they are connected as an interaction between the people and the various societies they live in-an institution of mind programming and control. So the idea is that we should understand that we are humans first before any other thing; statuses, political positions, religious leadership, rebels, terrorists, sinners, etc.” The group sounds like a construction of rhythms smearing African home-soaked vamps in cooperation with wild percussion and horns aside splendid vocals to form interlocking grooves.

The band shares their immense gratitude on their Facebook as follows: “We want to sincerely thank Kyekyeku for helping us record the EP on short notice, Kofi B-Ansah; our in-house sound engineer and collaborator, Mensa Ansah & Márton Élő for the dope sound engineering of the EP, Aimuan Ogboghodo for the cover art, Freeman Daniel Ame for vocal coaching, The Republic Bar & Grill for being our favourite test ground, Kunle for blessing us with his harmonica skills, Yetunde Orungbemi for the beautiful voice as well as Francis Kokoroko & Daniel Quist (The Grammy Voices) for their solid backup singing.
If you’re in doubt of the power of Afro jazz and fusion, let me remind you of Manu Dibango and how his Soul Makossa was sampled in Michael Jackson’s You wanna be startin’ Somethin’. It goes to say Villy & The Xtreme Volumes are actually starting something with their fresh EP full of juicy originality and guess what, it drops in a few hours from now!
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Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.

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