Kologo Music has been widely loved and appreciated by world music lovers across the world. Today, legends like Atongo Zimba, King Ayisoba and Stevo Atambire are making Ghana and Africa Proud with their unique musical sound. Kologo is a two-stringed musical instrument made with animal leather, a calabash and two strings. The indigenous musical instrument is a traditional musical instrument for the Frafra People from Bolgatanga and its surroundings in Northern-Eastern Part of Ghana. It has been used by the frafra people since time immemorial but was made popular in the late nineteenth century onwards by some great artistes. One person that seen to be forgotten and praised the least is the late Captain Yaba (Nyaaba).
Captain Yaba (real name: Azongo Nyaaba) was one of the first Frafra kologo players to bring the instrument down from Bolgatanga into the mainstream of Ghanaian music.
He was four or five years old when he started playing the koliko (also known as the molo), an ancestor of the banjo. Mac Tontoh of the internationally famous band Osibisa brought Nyaaba to the Ghanaian capital, Accra, and there he began performing with various groups and as a soloist under the name Captain Yaba. In the late 1980’s, he joined several Accra jazz groups, playing for years at some of the finest hotels in the city.
He recorded his first album in 1989 with Ghanaian-Lebanese producer Feisal Helwani and followed it up with another one a year later. This would begin his departure from the Ghanaian music scene, as he toured the world, tapping into the World Music Boom of the decade
In 1994 he recorded his second album of traditional Fra Fra songs, this one with a modern funk band called Ninkribi, and that raised sufficient interest abroad for Captain Yaba & Ninkribi to tour Europe. After returning to Ghana, Captain Yaba continued to perform on his own and in groups, but in 2001 he died at barely past the age of 30.
Two years later RetroAfric reissued the Captain Yaba-Ninkribi album, duplicating five of the tracks in their rough and even funkier mixes.
In his short musical career Captain Yaba captivated listeners with his two-string gourd guitar grooves, and especially with the track Yaba Funk. He makes his instrument, the koliko (aka molo or xalam) sound like the root of all funk.
Captain Yaba was a Fra Fra from the northern Ghana town of Bolgatanga where the country and the culture have more in common with Sahelian neighbours than the central and coastal regions where highlife rules.
Yaba Funk Roots is a reissue of his 1996 album Tinanure, produced by Francis Fuster, the celebrated Sierra Leonean percussionist. Unfortunately, Yaba died soon after that CD’s release.
With his short career, Captain Yaba pupularize kologo music as he took it from Bolgatanga to the Accra. He paved way for Kologo Artistes such as Atongo Zimba and King Ayisoba and many others who had their breakthrough in muisic and have explored the world with their unique sound.