World music fans around the globe, old enough to remember the showbiz scene of the late 1970s and the early 1980s in Ghana, will not fail to remember Edikanfo. The band was the last group, out of a range of bands formed by Faisal Helwani, who was based at the legendary night club Napoleon Club at Osu, a suburb in Ghana’s capital Accra. Edikanfo rose to fame after releasing their album The Pace Setters in 1981. The album was produced by Brian Eno who started discovering African music at the time and decided to travel of to Ghana to work with Edikanfo.
Mick Fleetwood, drummer and band leader of the famous rock group, Fleetwood Mac, followed up to Ghana to collaborate with the band, performing and shooting his music film, ‘The Visitor’, with Edikanfo in the early 80’s.
Just when the sky was the limit for Edikanfo, the coup d’état of the last day of 1981 (31st December 1981) put the brakes on the band’s fortune. For years Ghana had to endure night curfews which restricted the band from making moves. This ultimately resulted in the band being forced to leave the country. The band members were soon spread out all over the globe and that seemed the end for Edikanfo.
Meanwhile in Ghana, Edikanfo’s music lived on. The song Nka Bom, meaning togetherness became the rallying anthem of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government. This found place in its attempt to instill patriotism and rally the Ghanaian people to rebuild their country.
Now, almost four decades later Edikanfo returns. With its surviving members gearing up to reissue The Pace Setters and tour with the 1981 classic the band is more alive than ever. “Apart from the re-issue, we’ve been in the studio for the past two-three years recording fresh material,” says bassist, songwriter and founding member Gilbert Amartey Amar, popularly known as Chi-kin-chee from his base in Amsterdam.
The Pace Setters will be released as a reissue in the spring of 2020.