Songs of Paapieye by SK Kakraba

SK Kakraba “Songs of Paapieye”

Long before Awesome Tapes From Africa, I was in Ghana as a student in 2002 where I met a lot of musicians. One musician SK Kakraba was around the university working a lot and his uncle was super famous for his gyil (wooden xylophone made of calabash gourds with spiderweb silk covers the holes for buzzing) mastery. Hailing from Lobi country in Upper West Region, Ghana, SK was a young and active member of the music community around Accra. We stayed in touch over the years, crossing paths again later when I returned to Ghana. Now he lives in LA (where I am currently based)  and we’ve been hanging out and thought it would be cool to release a record. I feel like SK is doing something truly amazing and we must share his virtuosity and brilliant craft with the world. (He also builds and sells gyils; SK pretty much lives and breathes this instrument during waking hours).

Coming out Oct 2, “Songs of Paapieye” is a collection of traditional songs and modes from SK’s hometown. Solo gyil, very intense, very beautiful. This is the first time ATFA has done a new recording as an official LP/CD/Digital/Tape release. Liner notes describe the background of each piece and there are some lovely SK photos to boot.




Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Ernie Bornheimerreply
August 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm

I love the music and the website….thanks!

September 17, 2015 at 12:07 pm


October 5, 2015 at 11:42 am

Keep listening to this on Spotify today. Will most likely keep listening tomorrow as well.

This Week In New Yorkreply
October 8, 2015 at 11:15 am

[…] really exciting last-minute addition to the night’s festivities. The Ghanaian xylophone virtuoso SK Kakraba is going to come to Bunna after his show at Bossa Nova Civic Club for an informal late night solo […]

Center for the Arts Eagle Rock: A Hidden Gem among LA’s Vast Landscape of World Music Venues | EnClave.LAreply
March 1, 2016 at 5:33 pm

[…] dubbed him “The Greatest Xylophone Player in the World”. Internationally respected musicophile Awesome Tapes From Africa released SK Kakraba’s album “Songs of Paapieye” last year and this was the first time […]

Benjamin Biriyenreply
October 1, 2016 at 10:55 pm

That’s great brother, keep the fire burning, you are making the family and the entire lobi community proud

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