Kobi Onyame

Solas Festival, Errol Park, Perthshire, June 21 to 23

Gold, Kobi Onyame's current album, begins with the clunk-click of a cassette being inserted into a stereo.

Recorded entirely on tape, the following tracks are so fresh and engaging, listening is a thrill, like hearing snatches from the

street of a great-sounding band striking hot during a practice session.

That's not to say the record, nominated for the Scottish Album Of The Year in 2018, is amateurish or unformed.

Set to the traditional rhythms of Onyame's Ghanian homeland, its fusion of grime, old school hip hop and Gospel is deftly

executed and has you joining his call-and-response vocals within moments.

That Gold lost out to Cocoa Sugar by two-times SAY Award winners Young Fathers last year is nothing to be sore about.

Like the enigmatic Edinburgh trio, Glasgow-based Onyame has a sound entirely his own – though it took him a while to recognise it.

He first came to attention with Travelling Man, a modest radio hit back in 2005. It came from One/Ansa, the mixtape that would lead

to him opening for Kayne West in Edinburgh a couple of years later.

Three albums followed, but only with Gold did Onyame shift focus from west coast hip hop towards the Afrobeat and highlife his

parents enjoyed when he was a child growing up between London and Ghana.

“Traditional Ghanian music was always playing,” Onyame says. "It's always been something I've experimented with and dabbled in but Gold was the first time I fully embraced that sound and took it to a complete project.”

He adds: “I guess before I wasn't confident enough, or didn't think that people would gladly accept it. I think it took me a while to

have that confidence that I had a sound I could fully bring to the table.”

Featuring stars of the Ghanian scene such as M.Anifest, M3NSA and the multi-talented Wanlov The Kubolor – all personal friends from Onyame's undergraduate days there – Gold was a risk.

The nomination was "definitely a booster", says Onyame, recently announced on the bill for SAY's Live At The Longlist event at

Edinburgh's Queen's Hall next month.

“Gold was a completely new direction musically for me,” he says. “The nomination felt like testament to being on the right track and

to keep moving in the right direction.”

Responsible for the raw, analogue feel of Gold, Onyame would like to move into producing other artists, as well as working on his own music.

A new record is in the early stages, and he's “always up for collaborations”, he says, noting how he would be keen to work again with Heir Of The Cursed aka Beldina Odenyo Onassis, the Glasgow-based Kenyan musician whose captivating voice is the perfect foil to his on the uneasy, compelling Wedadi.

“I definitely have a vision for where the new record is going,” Onyame says, gently laughing. "Gold was me just coming to the surface and I definitely want to delve in more to that sound. I think the new record will challenge people's palettes.”

Gold's follow-up will feature more brass, a key part of Onyame's live set-up, which often features Onassis on vocals.

Speaking ahead of a headline appearance at Solas and sets in early July as part of the Kelburn Garden Party and TRNSMT, he says he enjoys the festival experience.

“They are my favourite way to play,” he says. “With festivals, people come with a desire to experience different genres of music and

they're up for having a good time. I love songs, partly because I love things people can sing back to you, become part of it with