Isaac Birituro and The Rail Abandon – Kalba (Wah Wah 45s, 2019)
Kalba brings together Ghanaian gyil (xylophone) maestro Isaac Birituro and British producer, sound engineer and singer-songwriter The Rail Abandon (Sonny Johns). The remarkable collaboration highlights the mesmerizing, resonating sound of the gyil and the warm, soft vocals of Sonny Johns.
The album is a beautifully-constructed set of songs that masterfully interweave Ghanaian music, jazz, world music, and English folk. The finely-crafted arrangements include African and Afro-Cuban drums, captivating flutes, a jazz horn section, tasteful synthesizer; and virtuosic chamber strings.
The lineup includes Isaac Birituro on gyil and vocals; Sonny Johns on vocals, guitar, bass and drum machine; David Sorrah on congas; Godfred Sernyor on congas; Sebastian Rochford on drum set; Casablanca on gome and maracas; Kasim Kada on palago; Vincent Lapitey on gongas; Aminu Amadou on talking drums; Liran Donin on electric bass; Elliot Galvin on synthesizers; Raph Clarkson on trombone; Laura Jurd on trumpet; Mark Lockheart on tenor sax; Josienne Clarke on tenor saxophone; Leafcutter John on overtone flute; Dela Botri on flutes; Garance Lewis on accordion; Zosia Jagodcinska on cello; Sophie Cameron on violin; Alison D’Souza on viola; Queen Aisha, lead vocals on “So Ma”; Helen Dompkier, lead vocals on “La Cocina”; and the Kaiba Birifore Choir.