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 artist Larry Achiampong’s Ghanaian heritage via records that his mum and dad once owned, in particular Highlife music created during the genre’s Golden Era - the 1960s and subsequent resurgence in the 1980s.
A heart-warming, harmonic, rhythmic sound of the sun that predates Jazz music, Highlife peaked in popularity between the 1950s and 60s in its association with 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 project represents Larry’s interest in navigating, sampling and re-presenting the musical legacy that connects his African cultural heritage.
The historical, cultural and political sentiments that surrounded Ghana are brought to life and made relevant afresh via remixed vocals taken from a speech made by the former and first Prime Minister of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. This legendary speech was delivered in 1957 whilst Nkrumah oversaw Ghana’s independence from British colonial rule.
The amalgamation of history and contemporary creates a new, fresh, dynamic sound that is both raw and catchy.
Praise for the project has so far come from the likes of Gilles Peterson via BBC Radio 1, and producer / DJ Mr Scruff.
An LP containing the EP version of MEH MOGYA, as well as a collaborative project with students from Edgware Road, London was produced on a limited vinyl run of 200, including silkscreened sleeves.
MEH MOGYA (Sample Of Me) was released on 5 September 2011, and was produced by Larry Achiampong for Look Mama Records. It launched at The Showroom in October 2011. The LP is now sold out.
MEH MOGYA (A Sample of Me) was a project delivered with The Showroom as part of the Communal Knowledge programme that set out to investigate the potential of 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 with Larry Achiampong 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 formed part of a wider research project conceived and developed by Achiampong over the course of 2011 which included seminars, interviews, talks, performances and screenings.
This project was commissioned as part of Communal Knowledge at The Showroom, supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The John Lyons Charitable Trust, and Westminster Arts. A Sample of Me was 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.
Larry Achiampong's solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. With works that examine his communal and personal heritage – in particular, the intersection between pop culture and the postcolonial position, Achiampong crate-digs the vaults of history. These investigations examine constructions of ‘the self’ by splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal entrenched socio-political contradictions in contemporary society.
Achiampong’s recent project titled ‘Relic Traveller’ is a multi-disciplinary multi-site project that builds on themes of lost testimony, fallen empire and displacement by deconstructing the architectures of colonialism. The project is currently formed of a ‘First Phase’ involving an original score, two short films and installations, an audio-visual performance and a flag project which was recently displayed atop Somerset House in London. Achiampong is a Jarman Award nominated artist (2018) and he completed a BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at University of Westminster in 2005 and an MA in Sculpture at The Slade School of Fine Art in 2008. He lives and works in Essex, and has been a tutor on the Photography MA programme at the Royal College of Art since 2016. Achiampong currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) and is represented by C Ø P P E R F I E L D.