Adventures in Afro-futurism
If We Be No Machine, the title of Onipa’s debut album for the ever-excellent Strut label, hinted at the humanity underpinning their work, the origin of their name confirms it. Onipa means ‘human’ in the ancient language of Akan, as spoken by Ghana’s Ashanti people. It’s a project that’s all about connections and collaborations, the fruits of a partnership between KOG (aka Kweku Sackey of KOG and the Zongo Brigade) and Tom Excell, one of the lynchpins of Afro-jazzers Nubiyan Twist. Now expanded to a four-piece, Onipa draw from myriad influences, knitting them together to create an enthralling vision of Afro-futurism. But in gazing ahead, they don’t neglect what’s gone before, as evidenced by the shimmering soukous guitar that often embroiders their sound. As Tom says, “our music is about losing yourself and connecting with something bigger, drawing from the past and looking to the future”.