Simply put, Kwabena Adjepong aka KWABS can sang.
The Ghanaian-British singer/songwriter began turning heads with his killer windpipes last year as a contestant on the BBC Two reality TV Show, Goldie’s Band. The popular show preps emerging UK artists for the big stage. One show performance at the Buckingham Palace produced gasps, head shakes and tears from audience members unprepared for the bigness of Kwabs’ sound.
First off, how bold + beautiful is it that Kwabs chose the old Negro spiritual, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” (circa 1870) to sing in the Buckingham Palace.
The hymn of the enslaved – filled with the crippling sorrow of being ripped from home and brutally made to work in a strange land, of being split again from family and sold off to different plantations – carries the memories of stinging loss through the vehicle of the throat. His almost-indictment of colonial empire and the grave debt owed to the Gold Coast and its diaspora is absolutely chilling.
Kwabs sings an original tune, “Lay Back”:
Kwabs’ voice is bright and deep…like a moon river, wide in big-belly girth, cold like melting stone. Melancholy drips through glitches of hope. Endurance peaks and spills over into tomorrow. His voice is all bass yet pulse steady – daring you and drawing you in at the same time – as if to say, THE FIRE THIS TIME.
If you are as hooked as we are, check out Kwabs’ cover of “The Wilhelm Scream” by James Blake.
And peep his musings on returning to Ghana to visit family for the first time after leaving the country as a kid at kwabsmusic.tumblr.com