Go To Fly

by Who Is John Smith

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Who Is John Smith is Yaw Amponsah and James Whetzel. They play new West African palm wine music on guitar, vox, high hat, and rumba box.

Palm wine music is the original acoustic music that is the roots of highlife music, which is in turn the roots of afro-beat.

About the Artists:

To see Yaw Amponsah play drums is to see a master at work. He's at home in the world of rhythm and makes difficult ones seem easy. The son of the legendary Ghanaian artist Koo Nimo (AKA Daniel Amponsah), Yaw is a specialist in the multi-part drumming styles of the Asante (Ashanti) region such as Adowa, Akom, Aprede, Kete, and Fontomfrom. He’s likewise proficient in drumming styles from Mali and Guinea, as well as Agbacha, Highlife, Kpanlogo, Odonson, and Congolese popular styles. He is the bandleader of the Ghanaian traditional group Anokye Agofomma.

James Whetzel is a musical human. A composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer, he is known for his 51 piece soundtrack to the film “Man With a Movie Camera” by Dziga Vertov, and for bold new interpretations of South Asian classical and folk music on sarod. He produces electronic music and DJs as DJ Baba James. He is also a gifted throat singer, and is part of the groups Das Dhoom and Mean Deep. He studied palm wine guitar music with Koo Nimo in the USA and Ghana. He also learned palm wine guitar music from the late great Nigerian artist I.K. Dairo MBE. He is currently working on an album of ambient music called “Slow Waves,” which includes surprising remixes of palm wine music. For more about James’s music visit jameswhetzel.com

About the Music:

Several of the songs on “Go to Fly” are based on traditional palm wine songs by Koo Nimo. The guitar part of “Stage and Story/No, No, No" is based on Koo Nimo’s “Amponsah Unlimited.” Likewise, the guitar part of “After the Big Bang” is based on Koo Nimo’s song “Akomfo Nokye” as “Go to Fly” is based on Koo Nimo’s song “Otuo Akyampong.” All of these songs have new lyrics and new vocal melodies by James Whetzel. Both “After the Big Bang” and “Go to Fly” also have additional guitar parts created by James Whetzel.

"It Takes So Much Energy to Hate/ “Buy When Death Sells” and "Aguado" are new instrumental arrangements of these three Koo Nimo songs.

"BTW," "Sun Clouds," "Tree Life" and "Happy Birthday" are new original palm wine songs created by James Whetzel.

All songs are arranged by Who Is John Smith.


released November 12, 2014

Yaw Amponsah on rumba box and high hat. James Whetzel on voice and guitar. Lyrics by James Whetzel. Music composed and produced by Who Is John Smith?

Recorded live November 1st at Egg Studios in Seattle, Conrad Uno, Engineer. Mixed by Conrad Uno eggstudios.net

Mastered by Emch at Subatomic Sound in NYC subatomicsound.com

Artwork by Hothead Unlimited

Koo Nimo: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koo_Nimo

I.K. Dairo: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I._K._Dairo

An OPL Funketabla production.



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Who Is John Smith Seattle, Washington

Who Is John Smith is a live palmwine band based in Seattle, WA. Yaw Amponsah plays rumba box and high hat, James Whetzel sings and plays guitar.

Who Is John Smith makes new music inspired by the vital richness of the music of the legendary Ghanaian artist Koo Nimo, who is Yaw Amponsah's father.
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Track Name: After the Big Bang
After the Big Bang
The universe took a break

Wondered did I
make the biggest mistake…

After the Big Bang
The universe chilled out

Existence is
And of this
There can be

This is
You Are
Through air travels
The sound of all stars

And they said
It couldn’t be done

Nothing is nothing!
And of it
Something will never come!

And they said
Having time is wrong!
I replied
If you have no time
You’ll have no song!

This is
You Are
Through air travels
The sound of all stars
Track Name: Aguado
Track Name: Tree Life
What is waiting?
An end beginning

What is waiting?
A dream reckoning

Don't wait for the world
You might wait forever
Put roots down deep

Reach for the stratosphere

What is waiting?
A lonely Alien

What is waiting?
A sage Sapiens

Sometimes I feel nihilistic
Obsessed with mistakes and failure
But I keep on breathing

And I feel better