ISAAC ASOORE, Kologo KO from Bolgatanga

Over the past ten years there has been a simmering interest in the Frafra music of Northern Ghana, with releases by Captain Yaba, Atongo Zimba, King Ayisoba, and Stevo Atambire getting international attention.  All of these artists are from the relaxed city of Bolgatanga.  Back in early 2014 I took a quick trip down to Bolgatanga with Pieter Remes, the man who makes sure that the Sea is Never Dry.  We unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to enjoy any live music but we did have time to chase down some Kologo recordings.

According to Sahelsounds, who released the compilation Kologo Power in the US of A, there are 85 Kologo players active in Bolgatanga.  For a town as small as Bolgatanga that is a deep bench of musical talent.  In the short time we were in town we found recordings from a dozen artists, all of them pretty great.

One of my favorites is Isaac Asoore.  As a general rule I tire quickly of the 'traditional instrument with drum machine' aesthetic, preferring the intimacy of unadorned recordings.  I don't, however, feel this way about Kologo music.  I tend to get bored with unaccompanied Kologo and prefer the groove and arrangements that Isaac throws down.  I don't know much about Isaac.  According to unconfirmed Youtube comments he is from Bolgatanga and was a student of Sambo Adabire Aburiya.  I have two cassettes by Isaac.  Here is the earlier and, to my ears, better of the two.  I don't know when this was recorded or released.   


Here is a very nice 2015 video of Isaac playing solo in King Ayisoba's bar in Bolgatanga.

I also really enjoy this older music video.  What i particularly like about this video is that you get a sense of what this music does in Bolgatanga.  Isaac is playing music to rock the hometown dancefloor, not for festival crowds looking for roots.  I love the transition from the first sequence to the rest of the video. 


  1. Fantastic stuff - thank you very much for this tape :)

  2. Hi gurokami. Thanks for the feedback. I am glad you enjoyed. I love Isaac's voice.


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