Throughout his career, British Ghanaian musician and multi-instrumentalist Juls has established himself as one of the most inventive record producers of the contemporary age. He’s helped to create a nexus between the sounds of the motherland and music from across the Black diaspora, while paying homage to the rhythmic signatures of his Ghanaian heritage.
Juls’ 2021 album, Sounds of My World—sprinkled with contributions from a star-studded cast that includes Wizkid, Sauti Sol, Fireboy DML and King Promise—is a colourful blockbuster worthy of an Afropop royal whose work has heavily influenced the full breadth of the genre. PALMWINE DIARIES, VOL. 1 is imagined as a love letter to a sound and era of Ghanaian music that’s not as prominent as it once was.
On it, Juls returns to the madcap experimentation of his Banku era, putting a contemporary spin on the wavy percussion and beguiling guitar riffs of palm-wine music. Juls’ six-song dispatch carries the weight of history, capturing the pulse and frequencies of a sound that’s over five centuries old. Juls taps into the stories of Ghanaian fishing communities along the coast of Accra and pays homage to the work of folk greats like Koo Nimo and Super Combo, especially on the instrumental “Palmwine Riddim”.
But PALMWINE DIARIES, VOL. 1 is not defined by nostalgia. Black Thought brings a distinctly diasporic perspective to “Focus” over the warm melodies of Worlasi in tandem with Kofi Mole, while “Wossop” is a chest-thumping, roof-lifting jam enlivened by the presence of KWW and Quamina Mp.