"Gbangbaode" by TwoManTingReview
I last reviewed TwoManTing for this magazine in a live context back last November & I trust you'll recollect my sense of enjoyment of that evening, not least because I had not seen them for quite some time.
Their fame & popularity outside our area contributed to that & other factors have conspired to ensure that I've not been able to see them since. However, some compensation can be had with telling you about their pre-lockdown single "Gbangbaode" (which I am advised means "in the open").
It's an intriguing one for sure, both consistent with their general body of work yet different from anything else I've heard by them. While Jon Lewis plays a delicate picked guitar line which sits somewhere between their customary African style & classical English folk, percussionist Jah-man Aggrey delivers a recitative style lyric, (occasionally echoed/harmonised by Jon) which gives guidance, advice & other sundry wisdom (some of it allusional in form) and questions us sternly if compassionately. It (like much of their work) has an apparent simplicity which conceals more complex elements: the tune itself is uplifting and melodic (no bad thing especially now) but the vocal tone more grave (befitting the times). Clearly composed before COVID-19 the words do not directly address it, yet they resonate with the times, catching something of the mood, or to be precise those aspects of the collective mood which expressed community solidarity & responsibility towards others: an awareness that we are part of something bigger in terms both of the world & history.
The single comes with an additional track in the form of Peter Tosh's "Can't Blame The Youth".
Since live performances & studio recordings are not currently possible, the next release from TwoManTing will be a live album of a gig in Cornwall made with the help of Cornish Underground which sounds something to anticipate with pleasure.