LIVE: Paa Kow Afro-Fusion Orchestra @ The Linda, 06/19/2021

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ALBANY — Good news for Nippertown concert goers. The Linda has transitioned from strictly online concerts with the “Back in Business” concert series.

I can’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate the end of our isolation than to stage a concert of world music.

Paa Kow was certainly a fitting choice. Upon entering the once frequented auditorium, I was struck by Paa Kow’s drum kit staged front center of the stage. It was a hybrid trap drum set with the bass kick drum and tom-toms made of carved African teak; a preview of the aural experience to come.

Afrobeat’s origins are from the collision of traditional West African music/Western rock/pop music. James Brown’s tour of the continent had a tremendous effect on musicians. A post-Cream Ginger Baker established a recording studio and worked with Fela Kuti and other African musicians, Steve Winwood used African musicians in later versions of Traffic and other collaborations.

Paa Kow is originally from Ghana but is now based in New York City. He has absorbed the many musical threads the city has and more. The octet he leads is from all over the country and West Africa. You can clearly hear rock leads interchanged with high-life African guitar. The horn section of saxophone and trombone clearly had R&B influences. The three-person percussion section of djembe(talking drum), trap drum and congas/shakers were decidedly African. Paa played his drum set with both a drum stick and a djembe stick.

Paa Kow was a happy performer, his contagious smile and his enthusiasm made for a truly entertaining and enjoyable evening. Hopefully, we can see him and his band again.

Photo Gallery by Rudy Lu

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