Kologo-led grooves both ancient and modern

“We were lost in the street,” says Stevo Atambire, “the forgotten people.” Stevo did indeed spend a good few years living on the streets of Accra before he made the acquaintance of celebrated Ghanian-Romanian musician Wanlov the Kubolor. It was Stevo’s mastery on the kologo, the two-stringed lute of the Frafra people of northern Ghana, that turned his ears; in Stevo’s hands, the instrument (his favoured one has been fashioned from what looks like an old oil can and a broom handle) is endowed with oodles of groove. It’s also the essence of Stevo’s group The Alostmen, a quartet that fuses the folk traditions of the country’s northern reaches with the pulsing heartbeat of the capital, thanks to the Wanlov-produced debut album that featured cameo appearances from musical elders and young rappers alike. It also helped secure them the Best Newcomer gong at the Songlines Music Awards. Steve Atambire was lost. Our ears are blessed that he and his music were found.