Austrian-Ghanaian singer Anbuley talks about her musical and cultural influences

Photo by Isabella Meus

Electronic dance music these days has become largely synonymous with dubstep, glo-fi and DJs in mouse hats, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find artists mining unexpected influences. The Austrian singer Anbuley, for example, blends electronic sounds with the traditional music of her ancestral home, Ghana, on her recent EP “Oleee,” produced by Florian Richling (known as Tipanic). “It was always very important for my dad that we don’t lose touch with our roots and our origin, so we  grew up with a lot of African and Ghanaian music,” Anbuley tells Listen, Dammit. Here are three more facts we learned about Anbuley:

1. She grew up balanced between two cultures. “I was born in Vienna because my dad had a scholarship from the Ghanaian state,” she says. “At home, me and my sister were brought up as Ghanian, also because my dad had planed that we would  go back to Ghana and live there, after his studies.” Returning to Ghana wasn’t the triumph the family had hoped for, however. “We went back, but it didn’t work out, because my dad lost his job and we started to struggle to make a living, so after a couple of years my parents decided came to Vienna, because my mom had a job offer.”

2. Hers is a melting pot of influences. Anbuley is inspired by the electronic music scene, but that’s not all she draws from. She sings in Ga, one of Ghana’s native languages, and her music incorporates elements of Angolan Kuduro and South African Kwaito. Then there’s a more prosaic inspiration: “During my childhood time in Ghana I was in the school choir, which also deeply influenced me,” she says.

3. Music for Anbuley is foremost a form of self-expression. But she’d love it if people relate to what she’s doing. “I must do what my soul tells me to do but off course I hope that some people enjoy that with me,” Anbuley says. “It doesn’t matter where they come from! Music connects!”

— Eric R. Danton

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