A Significant Adventure
Wah Wah 45s are very proud to present a collaboration between Ghanaian xylophone master Isaac Birituro and Leeds-based producer and singer-songwriter Sonny Johns aka The Rail Abandon.
Their spontaneous collaboration was a thing of serendipity that started over a couple of ‘Nica Libres’ shared by Sonny and––at that specific time, recently befriended––Tim and Svenja, of Rüt’n’Rock Festivals. Fuelled by Sonny’s love for West African music and years of experience with the sounds and culture of the area, he decided to embark on what proved to be a highly significant adventure.
Just one year later, guitar in hand and not really knowing what to expect, Sonny found himself in Kalba, North Ghana, building a mobile recording studio and making music with Isaac and local musicians in a church (the only place that had reliable electricity). Three days in and the album, Kalba, is born; quite an intense and special experience for everyone involved.
Beauty Of The Xylophone
Isaac’s love for the xylophone is in his blood, passed down to him by his father and uncle (Kakraba Lobi) as he heartwarmingly expresses: “My father has travelled across the world entertaining people with his music and he builds xylophones too. I’ve followed in his footsteps. So I absolutely loved making this album and I’m grateful for the opportunity to play for people and demonstrate the beauty of the xylophone–– it means everything to me.”
Sonny Johns is a producer/engineer/musician who has been involved in multiple Grammy, MOBO and Mercury Award nominated projects with West African legends including Ali Farka Touré, Oumou Sangaré, Tony Allen, Cheihk Lô and Fatoumata Diawara.
Along with working on the album with Isaac Birituro, Sonny is currently producing a second solo album under The Rail Abandon, as well as in the process of writing and recording the debut album from latest Rough Trade signing PicaPica, with whom he plays bass and other noise.
This is Kalba: Building a New School
The collaboration between Isaac Birituro and The Rail Abandon was never going to be a run-of-the-mill one. With Rüt’n’Rock involved in the meeting of these two songwriters, Sonny’s history as a primary school teacher, and the album being recorded in the town Isaac went to school, it seemed only right that the profits from this collaboration go towards building a school.
So far, through the crowdfunding project This Is Kalba, Sonny’s work with record label Wah Wah 45s, and tours in both the UK and Germany in 2019, the project has raised €8,000 out of the €15,000 need to build a school. This means the brick-making and foundation works have started, supported by the infrastructure of Rut’n’Rock’s work in Kalba. The aim is to finish the school by the start of the next academic year.
But we’re only halfway there.
In 2020, Isaac and The Rail Abandon would like to complete the school by raising the remaining €7,000 through more UK and Germany touring, album sales, new releases and contributions from supporters.
You can read more about the project’ progress and how you can contribute at thisiskalba.com