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Max le Daron and Stevo Atambire: united by the kologo

The Belgian producer and DJ has unveiled “Mama Kollo” – the second single from his forthcoming debut album – via colorful visuals shot in Accra with long-time friend, kologo player Stevo Atambire.

After the track “Freedom” produced with Azizaa, Joey le Soldat and Gan Gah, Max le Daron continues his collaboration with local artists by featuring Ghanaian musician Stevo Atambire on a track built on the sounds of the famous kologo, a two-stringed instrument from the traditional music of the Frara people in northern Ghana.  

“Mama Kollo” is the result of a friendly jam session recorded in an Accra studio. Using an Afro-house drum loop programmed by Max, they built the piece on Stevo’s kologo riffs and on his skill as a storyteller, which stems from the art of the griots in his region. In this case, stories that tell the daily life of a young Ghanaian who works in the city in order to send money to his parents’ village. Stevo sings both in his native Frafra and in pidgin, as in the chorus: “Stay with me we’ll fight small / Don’t kill me and make mama kollo.” In the context of the song, this means: don’t kill the person you’re angry at, even though spending time together makes people argue. Stay calm, because the one you want to kill is the breadwinner, and you’ll drive his mother crazy.

Stevo’s words are always full of teaching and they bring peace and unity to his community. He handles his traditional instrument in a totally innovative way with tone slides, bends, dead notes and syncopation, revolutionising the way kologo is played. It is an ingenious art of resourcefulness that shows the abundant contemporary creativity of Ghanaian artists, which Max le Daron supports as a producer. For years, this globetrotter has been cultivating strong links with the local scene in Accra, by transmitting a global music that takes into account the local context of young artists with whom he collaborates. A progressive and egalitarian approach to music, which we look forward to discovering in greater depth.

Look out for an interview with Max le Daron, soon to be released in conjunction with his debut album Unless Tomorrow, out on 4 December.

Listen to « Mama Kollo » in our Songs of the Week playlist on Spotify and Deezer.

The track « Mama Kollo » is availabe via Bandcamp.