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Hardly a generic Putumayo-style multiculti sampler of stars, Electric Highlife: Sessions From the Bokoor Studios is instead a part-Folkways, part-Nuggets, part-Flex Your Head memento of lesser-knowns from one country, Ghana. Though the liner notes don’t explain how the cuts were chosen, they were recorded largely in the ’80s at one of the only two music studios in the country at the time: Bokoor, a non-air-conditioned mud-block farm shed. With a military-imposed curfew limiting gigging, one John Collins opened the studio to create an outlet for free expression. Collins’ own Bokoor Highlife Guitar Band contributes an irresistibly rocked-up take on the Liberian folk ditty “Yaka Duru,” but it’s Collins’ former housemate Francis Kenya who kicks off the disc. The translated lyrical summary of his “Ensuah Nzema Kotoko (The Nezema Kotoko Family)” suggests a bluesy tale of woe, but the rumbaesque instrumentation and joyfully chanted vocals don’t let on. Like the rest of Electric Highlife, this is dance music, but of a type unique to West Africa. It’s the high-pitched buzzing of guitars and the lilt of the singers, not a thumping drum-and-bass-driven bottom end, that keeps things moving: Kenya’s plea for the impoverished roller-coasters through the scales against a syncopated backing on “Memia (I Am Too Broke),” and onetime hotel-lounge singer Eddie Ansah’s folk-pop croon nicely complements some minor-chord strumming on “Mewu Mo Dzi (I’m Looking on High).” But it’s the Happy Boys’ “Sosu Sei Me (Limit the Way You Spoil Me)” that really gets the party started: The string work is as scintillating as a classical Indian raga’s, but the buoyant, celebratory vox makes it clear that this isn’t a serious piece of ritual. Like the other 12 tracks here, “Sosu” doesn’t rawk out in an American sense, but it does capture a universal sense of abandon. It makes perfect sense that it was recorded in a place whose name means “the spirit of coolness.” —Steve Kiviat