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My Life In Music: K.O.G

This month, Sheffield-based Afro-fusion innovator and guaranteed partystarter Kweku Sackey (AKA K.O.G) takes us through his life in music… 

The first record I ever bought…
Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I got it in the early to mid-90s. My grandma took me to church back then, where I’d sing in an acapella group, and the closest thing to that kind of acapella I could find was the South African group Black Mambazo. I loved their harmonies – no instruments, just voices. I’m a big melody person.

My first gig…
Around 2002 at Akuma Village in Ghana. It’s a beach strip that allows young people to come and play on the bandstand. I was in uni at the time, and that was like my very first proper reggae show. It was like my first step, playing my own original music with my own band called Iration Crew. That was the beginning of trying to hone my craft.

The first song I performed…
The first song I performed was at that gig as well: ‘Soraya’. It was the first original song I ever performed properly; it was really, really, nice. The song is about a girl. It was a long, long, time ago.

A song i wish i’d written…
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon. I do Afro-fusion, so Simon and Garfunkel and the whole fusion of Western sounds – of folk and funk with African traditional music – is my thing. I love people who experiment with African cadence and melodies. That album, they came to Africa to make; I like every song, but that particular song starts with acapella and a really wicked African bassline. In my head, it’s the perfect song.

I first fell in love with music when…
When my grandma first took me to church. I’ve always been attracted to sound. I’ve always been musical, so the very first time I went to my grandmother’s church, they had a lot of percussion. It wasn’t a rich church with pianos, so they only had traditional percussion. And it was the women that played instruments, like my grandma. There was something beautiful about it. That was my projection into music, into a more spiritual kind of space. I fell in love with music there.

One song that I can’t get out of my head at the minute…
Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen. I was watching the film Watchmen and there was a song by Sigrid that I loved. I found the original and it’s been stuck in my head for nearly a year.

A record that reminds me of a specific time and place…
Graceland by Paul Simon. This album reminds me of my time back in Africa and the understanding and evolution of my music. Music is a global language; it’s not a linguistic language, but more of a sonic language.

KOG’s latest album Zone 6, Agege is out now and available on all streaming platforms 




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