17 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the Berlin-based duo OY, Swiss-Ghanian vocalist Joy Frempong and drummer/producer Lleluja-Ha create soundscapes that take African musical traditions into unexpected places. The pair’s sophomore album, No Problem Saloon, draws on the stories and sounds Frempong collected during travels in Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and South Africa. The result is a fascinating series of sonic postcards from exotic locales that creatively blend live percussion with electronica textures and samples. Frempong elegantly slides between singing and narration as she tells folk tales (“Doondari,” “No, I Don’t Snore”), celebrates Afros and dreadlocks (“Hallelujah! Hair!"), recreates a Johannesburg traffic jam (“Tortoise and Hunter”), and embraces life’s rich possibilities (“My Name Is Happy”). The album’s music is subtle, evocative, and frequently ingenious, veering from the techno-tribal beat of “Akwaaba” and the jazzy simmer of “Funny I” to the moody Middle Eastern ambiance of “Millionaire in Beggar’s Wear” and the primal chant rhythms of “Don’t Run Run.” The songs have compelling political and spiritual overtones, all framed within a personal travelogue that’s both intimate and expansive.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the Berlin-based duo OY, Swiss-Ghanian vocalist Joy Frempong and drummer/producer Lleluja-Ha create soundscapes that take African musical traditions into unexpected places. The pair’s sophomore album, No Problem Saloon, draws on the stories and sounds Frempong collected during travels in Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and South Africa. The result is a fascinating series of sonic postcards from exotic locales that creatively blend live percussion with electronica textures and samples. Frempong elegantly slides between singing and narration as she tells folk tales (“Doondari,” “No, I Don’t Snore”), celebrates Afros and dreadlocks (“Hallelujah! Hair!"), recreates a Johannesburg traffic jam (“Tortoise and Hunter”), and embraces life’s rich possibilities (“My Name Is Happy”). The album’s music is subtle, evocative, and frequently ingenious, veering from the techno-tribal beat of “Akwaaba” and the jazzy simmer of “Funny I” to the moody Middle Eastern ambiance of “Millionaire in Beggar’s Wear” and the primal chant rhythms of “Don’t Run Run.” The songs have compelling political and spiritual overtones, all framed within a personal travelogue that’s both intimate and expansive.

TITLE TIME
1:34
3:12
2:48
3:45
3:21
0:35
3:11
3:44
3:46
4:06
2:40
0:49
4:11
4:46
2:21
3:12
2:57

About Oy

OY are a Berlin-based duo consisting of Swiss-Ghanaian vocalist/musician Joy Frempong and drummer/producer Lleluja-Ha. Frempong describes her music as experimental soul-glitch-jazz-avant-hip-pop. It's a fair categorization given her sound. She got her first major exposure in combination with the Swiss electronica collective Filewile, providing guest vocals on their 2007 Nassau Massage release. Working her way up to full member by 2009's Blueskywell, Frempong began branching out into a solo career under the OY moniker. OY's debut album, First Box, Then Walk, was released on the Creaked Records label in 2010. Four years in the making, the ambitious full-length incorporated a sort of dark jazz into light electronica while featuring her deeper vocal abilities. The album met with critical success due to her compositional abilities as well as the mix of childhood stories and dark tinges in her vocals. In 2011, Berlin-based composer and drummer Lleluja-Ha (Marcel Blatti) joined OY, giving the project a more danceable (yet still avant-garde) sound. A remix EP titled Look at Me appeared in 2012, followed by the full-length Kokokyinaka in 2013. The duo then signed to Belgian label Crammed Discs, which released an updated version of Kokokyinaka, retitled No Problem Saloon, in 2014. OY's third album, Space Diaspora, appeared in 2016. ~ Adam Greenberg

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