OY aka Joy Frempong, the half Ghanaian and half Swiss multi versed vocalist is definitely one of a rare breed - at home in the left-of-center sound but gifted with a penchant for writing sticky unforgettable melodies.
Three years after her vivacious debut First Box Then Walk, which effortlessly sold out the first pressing and commenced a demanding touring schedule, OY is back with another rich offering -a new LP cryptically entitled Kokokyinaka. The result is a genre bending, generously seasoned stew of African inflected Electronica, garnished with lavish, colorful stories and proverbs - the whole effort packaged into an infectious, melody driven concept record designed to play like a road trip juggernaut of a soundtrack.
Kokokyinaka is a highly immersive experience and a joyful celebration of a culture, intense like a stroll through an African market at high noon.
Joy's voice remains mutable throughout, changing color palettes, textures, styles, and even accents with playful chameleon-like ease, not unlike the stories being told which segue between overheard dialogues, proverbs, and folk tales, often in one breath.
The wildly vibrant sample base includes a parachute, fufu pounding, fireworks, and a shoe. Along with all of the animated stories it was mostly collected on trips to Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and during a residency in South Africa.
The actual writing and the production for the record took place at studios located in Berlin under the guidance of talented drummer, producer, and co-writer Lleluja-Ha. His textural drumming and feel for well fleshed out arrangements is present throughout. If anything, Kokokyinaka is a mature work which thoroughly exhibits Joy Frempong's versatility as composer, vocalist, and storyteller, but most of all it's a testament to her unique take on Electronica -mercurial, downright experimental, yet flushed with soulful melodies.