Optimo Draw Scotland, Belize & Ghana Together On New Collaborative Lp


As a rule we never repost PR verbatim; there's only so many times the words 'legend', 'classic' and 'seminal' can appear on any one site. Still, what are rules there for but the breaking? So today we're going to go right ahead and repost pretty much the full info we've just been sent on the new project coming out through Optimo Music because a) it's long and very detailed, and b) it isn't full of shameless hyperbolic madness. Here we go:

"Youth Stand Up! is a collaborative recording project between Glasgow’s Green Door Studio, Lebeha Drumming Center in Hopkins, Belize, and the Tafi Cultural Institute based in Tafi Atome, Ghana… 

The aim of the project was to see what would happen if young musicians from opposite sides of the world were given the opportunity to cook up a musical melting pot of West African, Caribbean, and contemporary Glaswegian music. When Green Door Studio’s Emily MacLaren approached JD Twitch from Optimo Music/Autonomous Africa with the idea of an international album project involving musicians spread across three different continents he said he would happily release the results. 

The studio recruited a total of 11 young musicians from Glasgow bands such as Golden Teacher, Whilst, Psychic Soviets and Froth to work with 7 young Ghanaian musicians making Hiplife and Borborbor music and 5 young Belizian musicians from Tuteme Band, who played traditional Garifuna music at Lebeha Drumming Center. The Glaswegian musicians came from a variety of musical backgrounds including electronic music, post punk, and free jazz, while youngest were still studying music at school. 

While Ghana’s rich history of Highlife music is well documented, the traditional Borborbor music of the Volta region, where Tafi Atome is situated, has not been given much exposure. And in Belize, the traditional rhythms of the Garifuna Afro Caribbean community fuse ancestral West African roots with Latin American energy. The Ghanaian and Belizean musicians, whilst practicing traditional BorBorBor and Garifuna rhythms, also shared a strong passion for Jamaican Dancehall and international Hip Hop.

In September 2014, The Green Door Studio, Golden Teacher, Whilst, Ghana Soundz and JD Twitch organized a fundraiser to purchase recording and electronic music equipment to donate to both youth groups at Lebeha and Tafi Atome—raising funds to buy each group a synthesizer, drum machine, multitrack recorder and monitors; supplemented by microphones, headphones and video equipment donated by a number of musicians from Glasgow.

In October 2014, the Glasgow-based musicians began laying down drum patterns and sketching out skeletal songs to be sent to their collaborators in Belize. 

In November 2014, Green Door engineers Stuart Evans and Emily MacLaren, together with mentors Laurence Pitt and Oliver Pitt (of Golden Teacher), traveled to Belize to donate the equipment, deliver 2 weeks of music recording workshops, and conduct recording sessions with the Tuteme band, who accompanied the recordings started by their collaborators in Glasgow. Highlights included the vocal stylings of 11-year-old Leandra Ramos, who can be heard on ‘Laguada’ and ‘Come with Me’. 


Then in January 2015, Stuart, Emily and Laurence were joined by Cassie Oji (also of Golden Teacher) for their trip to Tafi Atome, Ghana to deliver equipment, workshops and recording sessions, including the title track, Youth Stand Up!, written and performed by 18-year-old Edem Dokuma. 

Upon return to Glasgow, the Glasgow-based musicians finished off the recordings by adding bass lines, synths, and even some backing vocals in Ewe (!); and then all 10 songs were mixed at The Green Door Studio and mastered by James Savage Mastering. 

During Green Door’s visit to Tafi Atome in January 2015, plans were forged for a formal partnership between The Green Door Studio and Tafi Cultural Institute to establish a recording studio and cultural centre in the village which will employ and record local musicians as well as hosting study tours and music residencies for international musicians. So far, they have organized 2 study tours that are bringing 24 Glasgow-based musicians to Ghana to learn about the music of the Volta Region in November 2015 and January 2016, and have raised 70% of the funds needed to build the center.

On November 27th, 2015, Autonomous Africa will hold a fundraiser at The Vic Bar in Glasgow, featuring sets by JD Twitch, Golden Teacher, Sacred Paws and Ghana Soundz, with the hopes of raising more money for the centre. 

All proceeds from the Youth Stand Up! album sales will be split between Tuteme Band, Belize and Tafi Cultural Institute’s fund to build their recording studio and cultural centre.

Youth Stand Up! Track listing (full credits attached):

1.    Youth Stand Up
2.    Ava Wo Nane
3.    Come With Me
4.    Crawling By Me
5.    Beat The Drum
6.    Set Upon The River
7.    Lagueda
8.    Tsorna
9.    Tuteme vs Tafi Atome at the Green Door 
10.    Digital bonus – ‘Akpe Lo’

Youth Stand Up is released on October 9th via Optimo Music