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Atongo Zimba; the master musician – Ghana Music

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Atongo Zimba is a master musician, singer and a griot from the north of Ghana whose time as a child was divided between the family farm and the regional capital of Bolgatanga.

He was very young when his grandfather taught him to play and build the Kologo, a two stringed lute which has its variations throughout the savannahs and deserts of West Africa.

A talented singer and performer that creates music as easily as one breathes.
Matthew Forss – Inside World Music

During holidays and weekends Atongo would run the cows through farmland and forests with the other boys, looking for feed and water for the cows.

There was a strong musical tradition amongst the cowboys and they would play instruments such as flutes and percussion, as well as using their voices to make different sounds, many of which mimicked birds and animals.

Atongo learnt traditional songs and started to compose his own where he would use the kologo for more complex melodies than the usual strumming.

Indispensable, perhaps legendary, a top 10 definite.”
The Beat, USA, reviewing Barefoot in the Sand

Settling in the UK by 2003, Atongo’s next project was Savannah Breeze (Hippo Records, 2005 ) with a band he put together of Dutch based Ghanaian and Caribbean musicians for the Afro-Funk sound.

It was produced by Dave Youeli who was also responsible for the production of kologo legend Captain Yaba.

Keeping strong links to his own country throughout this time abroad, his recording of “No Beer in Heaven” was a major hit in Ghana in 2004. Atongo’s third collaboration was a jazz influenced Barefoot In The Sand (Hippo Records, 2007) which went on to be awarded “African CD of the Year” in Holland.

This lead to tours across Europe, South America and Africa, including a benefit for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, at the Alliance Française in Accra.

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