Songs of Lake Volta
SONGS OF LAKE VOLTA
SONGS OF LAKE VOLTA, Joe Sheehan’s debut, finds the composer and pianist fusing his passion for the music of West Africa, particularly that of Ghana, with his background in both classical chamber music and contemporary jazz. SONGS OF LAKE VOLTA features nine traditional Ghanian songs surrounded by original music composed by Sheehan, performed by two critically acclaimed groups: Kinetic and Kassia Ensemble.
Sheehan returned to Ghana several times after a life-changing trip in 2008, between 2013 and 2017, to further explore the country and its music. The intensity of these studies, which included many unforgettable late nights drumming and dancing, continued to inspire him, resulting in Kinetic’s 2014 recording, World of Wonder, and now in SONGS OF LAKE VOLTA.
To promote the values of open, critical cross-cultural dialogue, this genre-bending album challenges the persistent notion of drumming being the sole outstanding feature of traditional African music. Kinetic, which Sheehan founded, is comprised of five versatile musicians who believe in breaking down barriers between traditional music genres and audiences. The newly-formed Kassia Ensemble is equally focused on breaking down barriers – the all-woman group came together to supersede the gender barrier that is prevalent in classical music.
SONGS OF LAKE VOLTA features vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield singing in various indigenous languages and styles representative of Ghana’s ethnic diversity. The amalgamation of the Kassia Ensemble’s and Kinetic’s musicians represents an equally diverse spirit, incorporating whose work outside these groups extends to contemporary classical, R&B, and hip-hop.
SONGS OF LAKE VOLTA expresses Sheehan’s joy and admiration for Ghanian music in an honest and respectful way, sharing wisdom that unites the three music traditions from which it draws influence: West African, classical, and jazz.