“How do I take West African rhythms I’ve been learning about and merge it with LA beats – and make it feel like Peckham?”
It’s questions like this that drive Ahnansé’s Finding the Spirit, not quite an album or EP, but an experimental body of work based on sounding out spontaneity, nature and reconnecting the African diaspora via shared pre-colonial roots.
Musicians Wayne Francis, Mansur Brown, Lula, Shango Hicks, Sheila M. Maurice-Grey, Shirley Tetteh took the ICA on an incredible sonic journey, giving us electrifying pure improvisation and a selection of pieces from Finding the Spirit that had the entire room on their feet dancing.
Skin Deep’s Erica McKoy spoke to Wayne about why he played music, technical innovations in sonic storytelling, how he is connecting West African traditions and Yoruba deities to his Caribbean heritage, and the ways gender balance affects the way jazz is played and the sound produced.
If you want to hear more of Ahnansé (and you definitely should), check out the Facebook page to see where they’ll be appearing next. There are also a few videos on Skin Deep’s fb that give just a little flavour of the vitalising vibrations we experienced at the first ever Skin Deep Sonic Transmissions.
Number 2 is just around the corner, so keep an eye out for Sonic Transmissions presents: Nérija.
Big thank you to Jordan Matyka who captured the vibes of the night on camera.