Jembaa Groove — „Susuma“ (March 18, 2022)
♦ Jembaa Groove is a Berlin based Afro~Soul group founded in late 2020 by Yannick Nolting (Bass, Composer, Producer) and Eric Owusu (vocals, percussion, songwriter). They first met fortuitously at a playground in Berlin early 2020 whilst collecting their young sons from kindergarden and soon after realised they were onto something special. Speaking the same musical language, the two musical nomads quickly realized the fruitful outcome of their musical encounter. Digging deep into both their backgrounds and musical identities, they came up with a new and yet authentic vibe ready to be spread across the world. After seeking for the right companions for the upcoming journey and stumbling on a few of Berlin’s finest musicians, they finally formed Jembaa Groove, a 7~piece band that combines jazzy sounds from Berlin’s uprising underground music scene with traditional West~African sounds from Ghana and Mali, such as Highlife, Adowa and Wassoulou.
♦ The music of Jembaa Groove is as much influenced by the soulful rhythms and baritone chords of 70’s black America and contemporary artists like Lee Fields and Ikebe Shakedown, as it is by highlife artists such as Ebo Taylor and Pat Thomas, with whom Eric has been touring and recording for many years.
♦ Garnering a smattering of support from the media world like KEXP, KCRW, Worldwide FM, Rinse FM,WDR Cosmo and enough stations round the world off the back of their „Bassa Bassa“ track, Jembaa Groove are causing a storm with their hybrid West African meets US soul & jazz sound.Location: Ghana, Israel, Benin, Portugal ~ Berlin, Germany
Album release: March 18, 2022
Record Label: Agogo Records
1. Aawoya 4:56
2. Suban 3:23
3. Adesane 3:53
4. Adesane (Part Two) 2:20
5. Mokole 4:53
6. Bassa Bassa 5:02
7. Amale 4:57
8. K33 Momi 5:36
9. Yafo Nu 3:57
♦ Eric Owusu (Ghana) — Vocals/Percussion
♦ Yannick Nolting (Germany) — Bass/Bandleader
♦ Moses Yoofee Vester (Germany/Ghana) — Keys
♦ Babatunde Agonglo (Benin) — Guitar
♦ Nir Sabag (Israel) — Drums
♦ Merav Goldman (Isreal) — Horn
♦ Goncalo Mortagua (Portugal) — Sax
Author: Liam Izod. Score: ★★★★ Top of the World
⇑ Susuma harnesses the groove engine of West African highlife and hitches it to the sensitive stylings of 1970s soul. The resulting ‘Afro~soul’ concoction is compelling, the taut interplay of bass and guitar pleasantly re~contextualised when paired with Eric Owusu’s plaintive vocals and lush French horn of Merav Goldman.
⇑ This Berlin~based group reflect their city’s diversity with members hailing from at least three continents. They blend beautifully on a parade of chilled and catchy tracks. Bassist Yannick Nolting’s arrangements are spot on, while leaving room for adventurousness, such as the stuttering almost Reich~like horn motif that begins and ends ‘Adesane’. The quality of the recording and mixing merits mention, with the crisp patter of percussion sitting precisely alongside the purposeful guitar lines, contrasting the more languid horns and keys. The album would make any audiophile’s sound system sing, but also creates a vibe you could happily blast from a phone in the corner of the kitchen. The tunes are laid back, the band are locked~in, and the album is well worth checking out.