Rass Kwame Administrator
Musician Rass Kwame (Kwame Wood of Accra, Ghana), in an act of faith, brought his unique brand of storytelling to America 27 years ago. He is a man of Jah, a man of Africa, a loving father, and, above all, a lover of life. His African style of Roots Reggae is his doorway to a world in which Jah sees our suffering, but Ananse, the spider-trickster-storyteller-god, tells the story of who we are, how we got here, and how we can reconnect to Jah. For his debut CD, "Ancestors" (1996; Mystic Illusion Music), liner notes author Kojo Okai Davis describes Wood’s music: “Kwame Wood pays homage not only to the relevance of history and the way it affects the present, but asserts that life is an activity, not a receptivity; a doing of things spontaneous to the social instinct of humans. Through his lustrous, sultry, and charming voice, the title track crisscrosses from ragtime to avant-garde in an arrangement superbly orchestrated and mastered beautifully. With a sure command of roulades, an almost perfect trill, and dicey intonations replete with sustaining percussions, Kwame has lifted African-style reggae to a higher height.” In Ananse Stories (2010; Tiyggi Studios), his second compilation, he continues his pilgrim’s progress in his adopted home, America, with jubilation as well as skepticism. In the end, though, it all comes down to Jah, “who will forgive us, who will save us, who will redeem us,” confused and messed up mortals though we may be. The rhythms of his music, his drumming, are pure Africa. His sentiment, longing, and redemption in the love of his family are evident of the resources he has drawn with him across the water and found in astonishing ways in his new land. Rass Kwame believes in miracles; his music will engender that belief in you. Kwame came of age immersed in the music of his native Ghana. He began singing at age nine in his neighborhood of Tesano and, by the time he reached 13, was performing original music in his own band. During the Anansekrom music contest in 1977 (which his band Muri Sundiata won), Kwame picked up the drumsticks when the band’s drummer didn’t show, and began his journey as a powerful drummer as well as an inspiring and engaging singer. He has played with internationally known musicians, including Osibisa’s Mark Tontoh, Liberian songstress Miatta Fahnbulleh, Kiki Gyan, the late Kwasi Yobo, Nat Fredua of Black Note Studios, Chief Kwame, Kojo and Kwaff Offei, Highlife fusion pioneer George Darko, the late Jazz artist Stanley Turrentine, and many more. On tour with C.K. Mann, the Highlife King of Ghana, he came to North America in 1990. Kwame eventually settled in New York, playing with world beat group Nkossi. As bandleader of Culture Shock, in Washington D.C., he helped make Bukom Cafe a local hot spot. In 1997 Kwame relocated to Minneapolis and formed the Ananse Band. He has opened for Lucky Dube, Burning Spear, The Wailers, Culture, and many more. Rass Kwame is currently working in the studio on a new project, tentatively titled “True Experience." Be sure to look for it on CD Baby and iTunes.