Larry Achiampong: A Sample of Me

A Sample of Me is a project that set out to investigate the audible potentials of personal and non-personal expression using sampling and sound recording devices and processes.

Students from the Fresh Start course at City of Westminster College participated in a sequence of workshops to gather, scrutinise, deconstruct and fuse sound-based information. This archive of sounds and recordings generated audible collages using the participants’ histories and contemporary surroundings and that of The Showroom’s neighbourhood for research.

These workshops form part of Achiampong’s wider research project that will include seminars, interviews, talks, performances and screenings over the course of 2011.

The resulting record, MEH MOGYA (Sample Of Me), was launched at The Showroom in October 2011.

MEH MOGYA or MY BLOOD (when translated from Twi, a Ghanaian language, to English) is a beat tape like no other; it’s rich palette traces the sounds of Larry’s Ghanaian heritage via records that his mum and dad once owned, in particularly Highlife music created during the genre’s Golden Era (the 1960s and the 1980s).

A heart-warming, harmonic, rhythmic sound of the sun that predates Jazz music, the Highlife sound peaked in popularity between the 50s and 60s in its association of musical legends such as Alhaji K. Frimpong, African Brothers International, Ebo Taylor as well as Fela Ransome Kuti who pioneered the Afrobeat sound by merging Highlife and Jazz.

This exciting, funky, fresh project represents Larry’s interest in navigating, sampling and re-presenting the musical legacy that connects his African origins.

The historical, cultural and political sentiments that surrounded Ghana are brought to life and made relevant today via remixed vocals taken from a speech made by former and the first Prime Minister of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah. In 1957 Nkrumah oversaw Ghana’s independence from British Colonial rule and made the legendary speech.

The amalgamation of History and contemporary flavour creates a new, fresh, dynamic sound that is both raw and catchy.

Overwhelming championing of the project has so far come in from the likes of Gilles Peterson via BBC Radio 1 and respected producer and DJ Mr Scruff.

An LP containing the EP version of MEH MOGYA (as well as a collaboration project with students from Edgware Road, London) on a limited vinyl run of 200 including silkscreened sleeves has sold out.

Released September 5, 2011 

Produced by Larry Achiampong for Look Mama Records

This project was commissioned as part of Communal Knowledge which is supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The John Lyons Charitable Trust, and Westminster Arts. Sample of Me has been carried out within the framework of ‘Survival Kit. Art linking society, knowledge and activism’ and with the support of the Culture 2007–2013 programme of the European Union.


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