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Historic Bokoor Studio Needs Your Help to Rebuild

One of just two recording studios in Ghana in the mid-1980s, Bokoor released nine records and 60 cassettes, providing a crucial record of Ghanaian popular music.Earlier this year I wrote a review of the CD ELECTRIC HIGHLIFE–SESSIONS FROM THE BOKOOR STUDIOS. After reading (on the Naxos website at www.naxosworld.com) about its collapse due to flooding, I contacted John Collins, the manager of Bokoor, and received the appeal below.

--Scott

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Here's an update received 31 December 2002:

RESPONSES SO FAR TO APPEAL FOR REBUILDING OF BOKOOR HOUSE, BOKOOR SOUND STUDIO AND THE BAPMAF AFRICAN POPULAR MUSIC ARCHIVES

So far the equivalent of 1,500 euros (in dollars, euros, pounds sterling and Ghanaian cedis) has been donated so far - which has enabled me, since last September, to clear rubble, fix fence walls and begin building a foundation for the new premises
Those friends, colleagues and supporters of BAPMAF and Bokoor who have contributed so far (mainly in a private capacity) are as follows.

1) Professor Merrick Posnansky. Ex Head of the Legon Archaeology Dept and the African Studies Dept of the Univiversity of California and Los Angeles.
2) Professor Kenichi Tsukada Ethnomusicologist at Department of Music, Miyazaki University, Japan.
3) Stuart Sutton-Jones. Radio and TV journalist
4) Peter Drury. The UK Ministry of Health
5) Petra Raimond. Director of the Goethe Institute ,Accra.
6) Prof. Phillip Peake. Anthropology Department , Drew University Madison, USA
7) Pascal Ott. French Embassy , Accra
8) Didier Martin. Ex director of Alliance Francais in Accra, currently Director in Uganda
9) Niek Lemens Dutch Highlife music fan
10) Serious Music, London via Ope Igbinyemi (Finance Officer)
An offer of assistance in January 2003 has also come from then Museum der Kulturen in Basel, Switzerland
Yours sincerely John Collins

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Here's the original appeal:

APPEAL FOR REBUILDING OF BOKOOR HOUSE,BOKOOR SOUND STUDIO AND THE BAPMAF AFRICAN POPULAR MUSIC ARCHIVES

Bokoor House (at Mile 8 on the Accra-Kumasi Road) was originally built in the 1970’s by my late father, Edmund Collins,. with the retirement money he got from the University of Ghana Philosophy Department. He was doing extensive farming in the area and so knew the natural drainage of the area well and consequently he made sure his retirement home was situated in a place that was never flooded. I lived in the house from the 1980’s and located Bokoor Recording Studio there and later the offices, archives and photo exhibition room of the Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation (BAPMAF). The recording studio has given a helping hand to literally hundreds of Ghanaian musicians over the years and since the mid 1990’s many Ghanaian and foreign visitors, tourists and students came to the BAPMAF library and highlife photo exhibition. Both Bokoor Recording Studio and BAPMAF are officially registered companies or NGO’s that are recognized by official Ghanaian cultural institutions and whose music and research output has appeared in both the local and foreign media.

Up to May 2001 we never had inch of flood water ever entering the Bokoor premises. But when a neighbour built his house in a river down-stream of Bokoor House and filled the government-built flood-gutter with an inadequate culverts and gravels Bokoor House has been flooded to a depth of 3 feet on six occasions, the first time I lost 3000$ worth of audio equipment. Then in July 2002 this constant flooding finally undermined the foundations of the Bokoor premises so that it collapsed. In the meantime I was given emergency housing by the University of Ghana where I teach music.

I would very much like to rebuild Bokoor House and its attached library – as well as Bokoor Recording Studio and the BAPMAF exhibition-room and office. Inspite of assurances from the GDA city council that my neighbours gravels and obstacles will be removed I would like to build these on a foundation at least 3 feet off the ground.

I am therefore appealing to any persons,. institutions, organizations, to come to my assistance with the 22,000 dollars (or equivalent cedis) needed to do this.

BREAKDOWN OF COSTS
1) BOKOOR HOUSE + attached library, reception-room/guestroom/washroom……..8,000$
2) BOKOOR STUDIO (and BAPMAF audio-room) ……………… …3,000$
3) BAPMAF LECTURE/EXHIBITION ROOM ………….……… … 3,500$
4) BAPMAF OFFICE …………………………………..…………… 2,000$
5) BOKOOR GROUNDS (fence wall, car-part gravel, etc)…...… .…... 500$
6) BAPMAF OFFICE AND AUDIO EQUIPMENT (data-base computer,
Overhead/ slide projectors, video deck/projector , CD/cassette player,
small mixing desk, furniture, website, small generator, air conditioner ……….. ….....................................................................5,000$
TOTAL 22,000$

Some local organizations/people and some diplomatic people here in Ghana are already offering to help. Even though the total amount for the whole project is considerable the combining of a number of small donations is very welcome as these will together produce enough money for me to start the re-building immediately. Donations can be sent to my London Natwest or my Ghanaian Barclay’s bank account - or if in local Ghanaian currency (cedis) directly to the BAPMAF Standard Bank account in Accra BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS WILL BE SUPPLIED ON REQUESTDETAILS ON BOKOOR SOUNDS RECORDING STUDIO

The studio is an extension of Bokoor Soundz, a registered Ghanaian commercial business organisation (registration no. 70,581, 27/7/1977) established by John Collins in 1977 to run his Bokoor highlife band. In 1982 the business was expanded to include music publishing and recording. Since then the studio has recorded over three hundred local bands (including live performances), has released 10 records and over sixty commercial cassettes and has supplied background music for three films. Bokoor Studio is now the longest continuously running recording studio in Ghana. It operated amongst gunfire at the height of the Revolution in 1982 (therefore the 'Gun and Guitar' compilation albums) and for a time in the mid-eighties was the only studio operating in the country. Throughout, Bokoor Studio has consistently produced low-budget quality works and enhanced the careers of many local musicians. (eg Sloopy Mike Gyamfi, Lady Talata, Kente Band, Felix Bell, Carlos Sekyi and Kwadwo Antwi) Bokoor Studio has kept the master tapes of over one hundred creative local highlife and Afro-pop bands it has recorded since 1982 and is currently releasing three CD’s on the World Music market.

PLEASE SEND THIS APPEAL TO COLLEAGUES AND ORGANISATIONS YOU THINK MIGHT ASSIST IN ANY WAY: SMALL OR LARGE.

CONTACT P.O.BOX 391 Achimota. Accra , GHANA.

Email: jcollins@ug.edu.gh



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