Afreeka was recorded live, half in Fine’s Tel Aviv studio and half in Ghana, at the homes of kora player Soma Iddrisu and co-producer Prince Nana Dadzie, from Ex-Centric Sound System. Fine went to Ghana with a Zoom recorder and a small video camera, to capture the music in its natural habitat. “Soma can’t sing unless he’s playing the kora,” Fine says, “so the arrangements were done on the fly. Soma would play a song for us, then we’d all play it together. It’s honest music, with all the rough edges of a live performance.”
Fine had Iddrisu play his kora through a small guitar amp, to give the acoustic sound an immediate energy. “Five minutes after I met Soma, we recorded ‘Yambibe,’” Fine says. “Prince Nana plays percussion on a conga-like drum he built himself; everybody claps and sings along.” Iddrisu’s kora lays down a galloping rhythm accented by sparkling, single note runs and his spirited vocals. Fine’s harmonic bass line and a funky drum loop give the track an extra boost. “I added the bass and drum parts the same night we made the live recording,” Fine says.