Making positive connections is what music is all about for multi-instrumentalist and Afro-fusion pioneer Kweku Sackey, AKA K.O.G (Kweku of Ghana). As one of two frontmen for the eight-piece K.O.G and the Zongo Brigade, alongside Jamaican rapper Franz Von, Kweku brings music styles from Africa together with influences from rock and soul – and brings people together to get very sweaty dancing to it at unforgettable gigs in Sheffield, Glastonbury festival, and across Europe.
Having moved from Ghana to Sheffield to study in 2008, Kweku founded the genre-bending, thoroughly original Zongo Brigade in 2012. They released their debut album Wahala Wahala in March 2019, proudly "linking Yorkshire to the rest of the world". You may also have come across Kweku collaborating with future jazz collective Nubiyan Twist or with his friend (and Nubiyan Twist member) Tom Excell as the electronic Afro-disco duo ONIPA. And for BBC Music Day 2019, he for a special performance in Sheffield –
We spoke to Kweku about what inspires his music and what he loves about Sheffield, ahead of his special performance at BBC Music Day 2019 when he formed a supergroup of sorts with Jon McClure from Reverend and the Makers.
UPDATE: Since we ran this interview, Kweku's band ONIPA have released their brilliant debut LP, We No Be Machine – buy it as a digital album, vinyl or CD via Bandcamp.
How would you describe your work?
I would describe my sound as Afro-fusion, Afro-futurism. I try to blend traditional African art and culture into future sounds that connect with different people globally. I take a very broad brush approach to my art – I create through all means; music, art, film, visuals, storytelling.
How do you choose the themes you work with?
I use elements of nature, energy, stories of my roots, family, love, creation, spirituality, symbolism.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on my new project, Spirits of Agege, capturing the stories and sounds of my youthful times spent on the shores in Agege, Ghana.
What do you love about Sheffield?
I love the calmness in this city. It's a great place to raise my children. Sheffield has been welcoming to me. It's very scenic – the views create a great mindspace for artists like me. Sheffield has a vibrant artistic community and is now second home to me.
What would you change about the city?
I think Sheffield deserves more national credit for the city's contribution to the development of art and culture.