Bokoor (cool) Studio was opened by John Collins in 1982 at his father’s farm at Ofankor on the Kumasi road eight miles from Accra. Collins had been running a Ghanaian guitar band of that name in the 1970s, and as a result of his recording experience in Ghana and Nigeria with that and other bands he decided to create an open air, mud built, low budget studio for both established and up and coming artists – rather than an expensive air-conditioned one.
Up to 1985 Bokoor studio was one of only two studios operating inGhana (the other was Ghana Films) and since it opened it has made over 300 demo and professional recordings. The studio released nine records in the mid ‘80s including the Guitar and Gun I and II compilations for the British Cherry Red Africagram label – and over 60 commercial cassettes.
In November 1986, together with Ghana films and Sammy Helwani, Bokoor studio recorded/mixed the 12 hour governments sponsored REVOFEST at the Accra sports stadium many of the countries top musicians and bands played ( Onupa Nua, Alhadzi K Frempong, Professor Abraham, African Brothers, Blay Amulley, Papa Yankson, Kumapim Royals, Wulomei, etc). Many of these artists featured on the American public radio AFRO POP program (No. 20) that dealt exclusively with this festival.
Although Bokoor studio has recorded a number of Ghanaian Western-type pop and reggae bands (including in 1983 the classic vibes with Kwadwo Antwi and in 1985 Alpha Blondy with Yao Ansah) its main output has been local popular and traditional music. These include the following categories of music with some of the many bands and artists listed.
1.ANALYTICAL RECORDINGS OF TRADITIONAL DRUMMING.
Two recordings of the Ghana Legon Dance Ensemble group for Professor J.H.K. Nketia and for Dr Willie Anku. Analytical recordings of the Ewe master drummer Michael Kojo Ganyoh
2.HIGHLIFE GUITAR AND CONCERT PARTY BANDS.
F. Kenya, Kwesi Menu, Yaa Nom and master drummer Okyremma Asante, Eric Agyeman, Mangwana Stars, Happy Boys, Eddie Ansah (one record) , Mokpolawo group (compilation album), Guyayo, Yao Ansah ,George Adu, Abebe and the Bantus, etc. Also includes the country’s first ‘dialogue’ cassette of concert party (comic opera) groups by comedians Waterproof, Super O.D., Ruby Darling and Nkomode.
3.HIGHLIFE DANCE BANDS
King Bruce and the Black Beats, Wofa Rockson (one record), Sunsum, Prison Band and Teddy Owusu.
Genesis Singers (two records), Baptist Disciple Singers (two records), Compassion Inspiration with Ray Ellis on keyboards, Reverand Damuah’s Africanium Church Choir, Jonathon Javes and the Legon Catholic Charismatic Renewal Band (cassette sold 70,000 copies), the Unipra Church Choir( one record album), Advent Heralds, Saint Michaels Choir, Kuntum 13 (compilation album), etc.
5.CULTURAL GROUPS. (ie. traditional music and traditional/western mix)
The folk guitarist Koo Nimo and Kwaa Mensah, Nii Tetteh’s gome group, Salaam’s Cultural Imani group, the Guna Efee Noko Ga cultural troupe, the Ewe Tegbe Dodovee drumming group.
6.FUSION MUSIC (Afrobeat, Afro rock, Afro jazz).
Lash Laryea and Amartey Hedzolleh, Mau Mau Musiki, Saka Saka, Kojo Dadson’s Talents, Nokoko, Nana Danso and the Pan African Orchestra.
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As more and more recording studios began to appear in Accra Bokoor studio went increasingly mobile and began concentrating on live format (cf. over-dubbed) recordings. In 1987 Bokoor studio recorded Koo Nimos’s Adabam ‘palmwine’ guitar intimacy for the background music of John Powel‘s UNICEF financed film on intermediate technology called ‘The Secret of Wealth’.
In 1994 and the invitation of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) branch in the Ghana’s eastern Volta Region where there are no recording studios, Bokoor Studio began making mobile recordings of Ewe borborbor recreational music , akpalu funeral songs and agbadza drumming groups – as well acappella vernacular church choral groups. In 1996 the mobile unit made two recordings of the famous Ga master-drummer Mustapha Tettey Addy, in 1997 it recorded the traditional seprewa harp-lute and xylophone player Aaron Bebe Sukura of Hewolleh Sounds and the Local Dimension Band, and in1998 the mobile studio recorded the unplugged highlife music of Aaron Bebe Sukura and T.O. Jazz.
Bokoor Studio recording sessions have appeared on two international films: ‘Repercussions’ featuring Sloopy Mike Gyamfi (Third Eye/BBC Channel 4 production,. 1983) and ‘Brass Unbound’ featuring E.T. Mensah’s trumpeter son Edmund (Dutch IDTV production in 1992).