Prince Buju (real name Aduko Saabo) is a Kologo musician from the north of Ghana. He has a rough and direct voice which he uses to sing emotionally charged songs. These deal with loss and disaster, war and hatred, and with people who should realize that, if they want to have a happier life, they should change their ways. With only two strings and one grinding voice he cuts through borders and languages and reaches out to the rest of the world. Many of the songs on We Are In War were previously released on casette in Ghana. Though Prince Buju is a dedicated rastafarian, his music -as a style- has little to do with roots reggae. If you enjoyed the Makkum release of King Ayisoba, you’ll love this one too!

CD version released in February 2015, LP to followed 6th of April.


Psychemusic writes about this release: Prince Buju (aka Bongo Sa’Abodana) is an African songwriter who has Rastafa roots but definitely has an African voice. Coming from a war zone, his voice and songs the expressions of trying to be a louder voice trying to drown the war noises and mentality. On the gathering/festival song, “Afashee” is like an almost punkish shouting mourning and complaint sort of singing, accompanied by a simple hypnotic rhythm by this 2-string rhythm African guitar called the kologo. It gets here almost calming responses from a second voice on a normal level of a singing voice, as if calming down as soon as the ears of the response are attending and one can be heard, with it, a different mentality. “We are in the war” is one of the two songs or few words in English. Also here, simple chord rhythms on the guitar are played. The rhythms fit the songs and often create a hypnotic effect. They say, once on stage, Prince Buju is unstoppable. Most of the songs show a shouting anger, on the 6th track he must be louder as a voice than firearms, making almost like fire weapon of his voice, with fast rhythms and hypnotic urge. “I am accused”, the fourth song was the most sad song, a bit with a different tension in his voice. The anger mixed with the guitar rhythm is effective, but on the last 5 tracks he remains in this similar mode that this also becomes a bit too much, too often, not overcoming with music the fact that the detailed messages in lyrics we do not understand enough, despite some explanation written on the digipack.

Wire comments (May 2015): Hardscrabble sufferers’ music from Prince Buju, the Rastafarian compadre of breakthrough Ghanaian kologo star King Ayisoba. This selection is largely taken from one of Buju’s local tape releases, and polished it is not. Unaccompanied on kologo, a two string lute, Buju declaims rough-hewn songs of downpression and exclusion, his voice borne along precipitately on the raw percussive momentum of his instrument. The centrepiece here is ‘In the War’, a despondent picture of life as an insoluble, one-sided battle, no matter one’s social class: ‘If you’re living, you are in the war… how to survive is a war’. Buju’s music is tougher than leather, but the austerity of both means and end make for a bleak vision.

Reviewed in Trust 172 (June/July 2015): Auf Arnold de Boers (The Ex) Label erscheinen immer wieder interessante Dinge. Nicht Punk (as in Punk Rock), aber immer widerborstig, schräg, oft aus der Peripherie. Wie dieses Album hier, ein Mann und seine (sein?) Kologo, aus dem Umfeld von King Ayisoba, musikalisch noch heruntergestripter als jener, aber mit dem gleichen rauen, unbezähmbaren Drive. Ein wenig unangenehm mag die Huldigung an König Haile Selassie aufstossen. Wobei der natürlich nach allgemein durchgesetzter Anschauung nicht wenig zur Entkolonialisierung Afrikas beitrug und Äthiopien ins 20. Jahrhundert führte. So oder so ist ‘We are in the war’ ein schönes Stück Musik, sehr eigen und angenehm störrisch. (stone)

Reviewed in ROCKDELUX ULIO-AGOSTO 2015 RDL 341: Música Kologo – Ya hablamos en Rockdelux de la música kologo ori- ginaria de Ghana; primero fue el tro- vador Bola Anafo, descubierto por Awesome Tapes From Africa, y lue- go llegó King Ayisoba, en su caso apadrinado por Arnold de Boer (The Ex). Su mismo sello Makkum, a me- dias con Red Wig, presenta ahora a su heredero Prince Buju, otro can- tautor ghanés que se expresa con el kologo, laúd de dos cuerdas que da nombre a la música y que acom- paña a los griots de los pueblos fra- fra del norte rural de Ghana.
Aduko Saabo, alias Prince Buju, editó las canciones de este disco en una casete titulada muy oportu- namente “Roots And Culture Mu- sic” (2011). Solo el tema que sirve para titular la actual reedición, “In The War”, fue grabada con poste- rioridad, también en Accra, en 2014. Según explica, empezó con el kolo- go desde muy joven y era tanta su obsesión con el instrumento que su madre terminó por rompérselo pa- ra que fuera a la escuela. Ahora que ya ha fallecido le dedica el tema “Abiire bongo akambo-se”.
A diferencia de su mentor King Ayisoba, Prince Buju no moderniza la música kologo, sino que perma- nece fiel a las raíces utilizando so- lo el rústico instrumento para acom- pañar sus melopeas, situadas en al- gún lugar entre la canción protesta y el trance. Así, en “Lawona foo (te- ba tola de la-ra)” habla de los que quieren verlo estrangulado, y “Poo- re tolege” de la gente que no está feliz con él. Otros temas como “As- sala bo-lon” hacen referencia a sus creencias y a encontrar el paraíso en el cielo. No en vano agradece la inspiración al “Almighty Jah Rasta- fari Haile Selassie I King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. RAMON SÚRIO

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