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BORTIER OKOE Wicked Kingdom gets 8/10


Bortier Okoe

Wicked Kingdom
Independent

8/10

Bortier Okoe is a musician’s musician, of that there is no doubt. The multi-instrumentalist has performed all over the world, spreading his sound of cheer and positivity to the masses in need of it. Hailing originally from Ghana, he’s held in high esteem both there and in the larger continent of Africa.

Back home, his single Mama Africa led to him receiving the honour of being invited to perform at the African Cup Of Nations last year. After moving to Australia in 2009, with the aim to bring the music of his people to this country, he’s been succeeding in his endeavour: Okoe has performed at some of Australia’s most prestigious festivals, including WOMADelaide and the National Folk Festival. A large reason for this is the electrifying live environment Okoe creates, with high energetic dancing and masterful musicianship.

His new album Wicked Kingdom was released back in March and it contains everything that defines Okoe’s music – his reason for being is to bring love to everyone and you can hear that emanate from the songs. It’s music that expands itself beyond borders and boundaries – Okoe is a wonderful ambassador for world music and its enduring benefits. In a genre that has often struggled for prominence beyond world-pop crossover artists, particularly in the UK and USA where it’s seen as esoteric and pretentious, Okoe’s wondrous music is wholly deserving of a much wider audience.

The music is endlessly energetic, one huge celebration of music and its power. The rhythms and percussion are infinitely groovy, the horn lines and grooves drawing the listener into Okoe’s world. The vocals are equally as defined, powerfully and warmly espousing his thoughts and views on the world and what it needs. Every song spreads messages of peace, tolerance, and the need for humanity to connect.

The album is always exhilarating and dynamic and one need look no further than the opening song to understand the entire ethos of Okoe: on Love To The World, he sings about just that, positively enthusing about the need for people to be kinder to one another and understand each other better. It’s fully infectious and impossible not to be moved by.

CONOR LOCHRIE

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