Onipa ‘The Monday Is OK’ Mixtape
A free-flow improvised mix drawing on Onipa’s influences, including music from Mali, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Martinique, Guadeloupe, The Congo, UK, France and beyond.
“Onipa,” meaning “human” in Akan are led by Tom Excell (Nubiyan Twist) and Kweku Sackey (K.O.G. & the Zongo Brigade). Originating from London originally and now based up in Sheffield, Onipa combine traditional African rhythms, electronic and modern funk, drawing influences from all over this globe, whilst maintaining strong African foundations.
Guests on their latest album out include Moonchild Sanelly, David Walters, Dele Sosimi and Theon Cross.
With all that in mind and to celebrate the fact they have a new album out on Real World on 6th Oct, they step up for this week’s mixtape for a Monday…
Listen and read the interview below…let’s go:
Please introduce yourself…
Who are you:
I’m Tom Excell, producer, guitarist, percussionist, graphic designer.
I’m one half of Onipa, alongside K.O.G. (Kweku of Ghana) .We also play live alongside the incredible Finn Booth, Wonky Logic and Owen Burns.
Where are you:
What are you:
Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us.
I jumped on the decks and did a free flow improvised mix drawing on Onipa’s influences, including music from Mali, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Martinique, Guadeloupe, The Congo, UK, France and beyond.
If it were to be drawn what would it look like?
An abstract biro drawing in a note book done late at night.
If it were a food what would it be?
An amalgamation of flavours that you can’t recreate twice.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Anywhere and everywhere! It’s music that resonates with Onipa’s musical values, designed to tap into higher vibrations and musical healing.
What should we be wearing?
Where was it recorded?
In our studio in Sheffield.
How do you feel about Mondays in general, excited…or?
As a musician it’s oftern a day of recovery after the weekend’s gigs. Or a travel day. I don’t have much of a regular routine so I’m slightly indifferent about mondays.
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
My dad’s record collection started me off, followed by the free party scene in East Anglia.
Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?
So many it’s hard to say but some that spring to mind are Tony Allen, Oumou Sangare & Pat Thomas. Their ability to keep releasing fresh music, redefining their sounds and bringing joy to so many people is deeply inspiring.
What were your original aspirations as musicians and how do you think you’re shaping up?
We wanted to create a project that focuses on concepts, storytelling, multimedia & multisensory art. The live shows are a huge part of it and K.O.G’s recent explorations into teaching workshops & sound/movement healing are focusing those original aspirations into a beautifully interactive experience.
Some self help questions for a Monday:
Am I excited to dive into the challenges that I have lined up for the week?
Yes, we are rehearsing this week for our upcoming tour!
Am I looking forward to engaging with the people I am meeting or working with?
Yes, it’s always a joy to be together with our bandmates.
Am I going to my dream job?
Every day, as a musician and a father
Am I being compensated fairly for the value i bring to my job?
I’m humbly grateful to be doing music and that it supports me and my family.
Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?
With a hyperactive 1 year old and an album release and tour on the go it’s hard to feel energised, rested and confident but the support and love we receive for our music helps to get a little closer to those things!
If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you eat them?
Erm, i’d have to choose my partner… and we’re both vegetarian.
Your doctor says you need more exercise….what do you take up for exercise?
Dancing, Swimming & martial arts,
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
My childhood was soundtracked by my Dad’s record collection, it was a continuous flow of amazing music that made me feel great.
How does your brain work when making music? How does it work when you aren’t?
Making music is a deeply focused, devotional state of mind. Outside of that, I’m scatty at best!
What were the first and last records you bought?
M People was my first CD I bought when I was 10 years old.
Noname’s Sundial was my latest purchase.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Noname’s new album.
What’s your answer to everything?