Being hailed as Africa’s answer to Stevie Wonder is a heavy burden to carry but Kiki Gyan attempted it in the 70s as a plucky teenager. Starting out as the keyboardist for highlife band Osibisa at the age of 15, Kiki took the band’s style of music literally and found himself partying with the music elite.
Going solo was an inevitable outcome and as the sun began to set on disco’s heyday, Kiki tried his hand at a solo career. He recorded for albums between 1977 and 1983 but “24 Hours in A Disco 1978 – 82” focusses on seven tracks, including the the hit title track “24 Hours in a Disco”. From start to finish, you being to question whether it’s an compilation of cuts from the last ten years such is the timeless style in rhythm, percussion and melody. Kiki knew how talented he was and set a goal to take his ambitions out of the stratosphere.
Every track retains an African aesthetic, particularly on the opener Disco Dancer and the sonically rich Loving You. Unfortunately, sustained stardom never came for Kiki and drugs took control for the majority of his life. Kiki Gyan died alone in a church bathroom in Ghana from AIDS and drugs-related illnesses in 2004.
But we still have his music and that lives on, no longer in the obscurity of decades gone. What would you do with 24 hours in a disco?