An unusual combination of Ghanaian “Jama”, (Afropop) Caribbean tunes and American Punk Rock is putting Ghanaian born musician, Osekre , based in the US on the musical map.

With a young musical career, it is impressive what he’s already accomplished with rave reviews for his work. Osekre speaks to about his Ghanaian roots influencing his music, his amazing band members and festivals they have performed at.

Q. How do you describe your music?

A. It’s an uneven blend of Afropop(Jama), with elements of afrobeat, ska, highlife and punrock.

I think the guys at CMJ describe it best: Osekre’s upbeat and ambient blend of Afro Punk serves as a culmination of influences that he picked up through absorbing the soundtracks of his two homes, Ghana and New York. Everything from K’naan to the Strokes, Fela Kuti to the Ramones, even Bob Marley to the Stones can be heard in Osekre’s sound. With the mentality of a Caribbean beach party and the intensity of a Bushwick loft party, Osekre and the Lucky Bastards are always sure to be an interesting time.

They come to the stage with a style of world music thoroughly updated and curated for New York City in 2014, and despite how strange it might sound; it really succeeds in its goals. The quintet’s mission is clear form the first note of the set—these boys want every single member of their crowd up and dancing the night away, and they will stop at nothing to make that happen.

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Q. Does your Ghanaian background influence the music you do?

A. Yes, especially “Jama” and Highlife! Ghanaian legends, Osibisa are also a huge influence on the tastes and sensibilities I developed for how I wanted the band to sound.

Q. Any specific Ghanaian artistes who influence you with regards to music?

A. Osibisa, E.T Mensah, Wulomei, and these days I have been working on Koo Nimo’s finger picking techniques, and all the “jama” we sang before soccer games at El-Wak and obviously praise and worship at Church.

Q. Do you have an album? Title?

A. I have an EP. “Why Are You Here?” You can find that on the bancamp page. There is also an old EP my friend Jonah Rank produced about 4years ago that was just about saving some of my earlier work and us trying our hands on some of the recordings. It is fun, old stuff that I decided to put up to provide a map of my maturity as an artist and the evolution of my sound through the years which is often echoed by my environment and life experiences.

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Q. Why did you name your band ‘Osekre and The Lucky Bastards’?

A. Haha, really long story. The premise is that I have been an incredibly lucky kid and it’s something I choose to acknowledge as a reminder of how else things could or would have been in my life had I not been blessed in the ways that I have been.

The element of luck in the name of the band is more about me being lucky in life than my band members being lucky to play with me

Q. How many people make up the band and how did you guys meet?

A. It oscillates between 6 and 7 depending on the occasion but it’s often a 6 piece band. Trumpet is optional in the horn session for now.
I met Michael Benham, bass, during the McKibbin days in like 2010/11 at the potion open-mics that were held then on Monday nights. He had an incredible knowledge of African music at the time and was really into the tunes I played at the open mic.

I met Andre, guitar, at a jam session way back at Columbia University. It was an event held by the student government for artist’s to mix. He was really into the blues at the time and played really well. We connected and that was it.

Osekre & The Lucky Bastards, “Rise” @CrestFest from on Vimeo.

Ramsey also subs on guitar, and does vocals when he plays. We met through mutual friends that I made at the McKibbin lofts during the potion open mic days.

Jesse, drums, and I communicated through email before we met in person. I was looking for a drummer replacement at the time and he was looking to hop on a few gigs after coming from working abroad. We met through mutual friends at Columbia University.

I met Richard, Tenor, through a mutual friend in Boston when I needed a last minute sub there last year and he brought Michael, Trombone along.

Q. Which events/music festivals have you performed at?

A. Quite a few:
We’ve performed at the: Dumbo Music and Arts Festival, Evolve Fest (Philly), Crest Fest, CMJ, Northside Festival, Joe’s Pub/Public Theater Bloc Party, Silver Room Bloc Party (Chicago), MPAACT Summer Jam (Chicago), MIT Cultural Showcase (Boston), Yale Cultural Showcase (CT), Ghana Annual Parade and Festival of Joyous Rebellion.

Q. Which websites/magazines have profiled you/your band?

A. We’ve been lucky to be profiled in: MTV Iggy,, CMJ, The New Yorker, New York Metro, Detroit Metro, Timeout, Afropunk, Okay Africa, Afropop Worldwide, Afripop, Columbia Spectator, The Bushwick Daily, The Deli Magazine and a bunch more I can’t remember off my head.

Do you plan on introducing your music to Ghanaian audience?
Yes, most definitely!

Our next show is on September 5. We are playing with two incredible artists:

Saul Williams and Patrice Bart-Williams. Details here:

By Gameli Hamelo/

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