Adjiri Odametey: Ekonklo

June 8, 2021

The Mellow Side

Listening Post 306. Adjiri Odametey has a touch of the philosophy professor who presents life’s central questions in the classroom, or around the campfire, with such gentle and infectious enthusiasm that we don’t so much think it over as drink it in. Ekonklo (The Other Side), the singer-songwriter’s sixth album, is brimming with disparate elements that fit together only by grace of a virtuoso. Odametey was born and raised in Ghana, where he studied traditional music and began his career; for the past 25 years he has lived in Germany and performed around the world. Though his songs grow from his West African roots—he makes regular homeland runs for inspiration—the album title expresses his embrace of the flip side of things: Understanding different cultures, intermingling guitars with African instruments (kora, ngoni, balafon, mbira, kalimba), and dipping his traditional sound in the waters of folk, blues and rock. Above all, he uses his super mellow vocals, mostly in Ga (the main language in and around Accra, the Ghanaian capital) and occasional English, to explore themes of equality and determination, hope and faith, love’s blessings and challenges. Idyllic and perfectly titled, Ghana Groove describes a pre-coffee morning joy: “Waking to your thousand smiles makes my day/I can’t imagine my life without you” (video 1). Kootse (King of the Forest, video 2) invokes a leonine proverb to tap inner strength. Simple and sage, Oyaa He (A Place Where We Belong, video 3) is an anthem of equal dignity for all. And there’s a classic rock vibe—a sub-Saharan echo of “Money can’t buy me love”—to Mitsui (My Heart, video 4). Navigating between different shores, the album’s title track, a sublime kora instrumental, exudes a transcending sense of unity (video 5). Through the rich experience of his music, Odametey teaches us how to take every side and make them rhyme. (Africmelo Records)

Adjiri Odametey: Ekonklo
Adjiri Odametey: Vocals, guitar, kora, mbira, kalimba
Emmanuel Okai: Bass guitar
Kwesi Asare: Drums
Nii Odai Mensah: Percussions
Sosu Kante: Balafon, ngoni


Ghana Groove
Lyrics & music: Adjiri Odametey

(From the Ga lyrics)
So much joy in my heart when you come my way
Waking to your thousand smiles makes my day
I can’t imagine my life without you
So much joy in my soul when I hear your voice

So will you tell me more stories, my dear?
No one touches my heart like you
There is no happiness like seeing you again, my love
Your love has stolen my heart

So please never go away
There is no happiness like seeing you again and again, my love.


Kootse / King of the Forest
Lyrics & music: Adjiri Odametey

How can I cross the river?
I have no canoe, no paddle
How can I reach the mountaintop?
The mountain is high, the sky is grey, the valley is deep
And I have no strength to continue this journey

But I remember the old saying:
“Lions never grow old with their claws”
Then I know I will reach my destination
In all the  journeys of my life


Oyaa He / A Place Where We Belong
Lyrics & music: Adjiri Odametey

A place where we belong/Yes there is a place where we belong
To you, I might look different/But that doesn’t mean we are not the same
To you, I might look different/But that doesn’t mean my life is worth less than yours

We don’t choose to be born/We don’t choose who we are
We enter the world with empty hands/And we leave it with empty hands
Every life is precious/So when you know your worth, no one can make you feel worthless

A place where we belong


Mitsui / My Heart
Lyrics & music: Adjiri Odametey

Do you know you are my heart, my soul and my inspiration?
Do you to know it is just the beginning, not the end?
Life can’t stand still, it changes, shaped by our hands
Money can’t buy love and happiness
These come from our hearts
However we may quarrel, I know my future is with you
My heart is with you


Ekonklo / The Other Side
Music: Adjiri Odametey



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