AFRICA SANKOFA, PREKESE GHANAMEDIA CONGRATS GYADU BLAY AMBOLLEY........
4/15/2012 9:57:36 PM -
It is interesting to know when a friend is having his/her birthday but when it is for a maestro who is a celebrity in a country, the enthusiasm and excitements are boundless. Today is the birthday of the great Ghanaian Highlife musician and father of Ghana Rap, GYEDU BLAY AMBOLLEY and the PREKESE GhanaMedia Team had a conversation with him. We are very proud that we and the INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR AFRICAN CULTURE & ARTS (ICACA) as well as the CENTRE FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT & SOCIAL CHANGE, GHANA Staff is dedicating our article to him his family and his global music fans.
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, affectionately known as the "Simigwa Do Man", was born in the port city of Sekondi-Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana, West Africa. The multi-talented International Ghanaian Musician, celebrated his "Silver Jubilee" in music in 1998. This versatile, irrepressible singer, songwriter, producer and "musical-life-force" exploded on the music scene thirty something years ago with a jazzy highlife sounds called 'SIMIGWA-DO'.
Ambolley's early years of musical interest dates back to the age of eight, when he began playing with his father's flute until he was able to teach himself how to play. His formal musical training came at the age of fourteen under the apprenticeship of "Uncle Bonku" who taught him the guitar. The young music enthusiast continued to learn the rudiments of music from the late Sammy Lartey and the legendary Ebo Taylor.
Ambolley spend a great part of his day listening to records of musicians living in the United States. He contributes his free style of singing to such mentors as James Brown, Ray Charles, and 'the late' Sam Cook. During the sixties, the young aspiring musician was excitingly impressed with the music her heard on the popular radio show, "Voice of America Jazz Hour." The sixties show featured such jazz giants as Jimmy Smith, Max Roach, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Eckstine.. all became part of Ambolley's early musical experience.
Ambolley's name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single was released in 1973. Since that hit, he has led many bands including his own in 1979-80. The band leaders' talent was not limited to Ghana. Ambolley was invited to London where he performed to "standing room only" crowds. Having experienced success in his own country, as well as in London, it was time for the ambitious musician to test his musical abilities elsewhere. In 1988, Ambolley left Ghana relocated to New York (U.S.A.).
Ambolley's performance career is extensive. He has toured throughout West Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States. He has performed on the same stage with some of the worlds most celebrated artists, such as Miriam Makeeba of South Africa, the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti of Nigeria, the late George Howard,Angela Bofill, Norman Connors, Manu DeBango, Lakeside, Chikuzan Takahashi of Japan, Ricardo Estrada of Cuba, Mayuto Correa of Brazil and toured Ghana with Oscar Brashear and Michael Session. Because of his originality, his performances have left audiences raving and shouting for more, as was the case at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. He has played the House of Blues in Hollywood, was a frequent performer at the Jazz Bakery in California and has played to "standing room only" crowds in London, England.
Returning to Ghana in 1997, Ambolley was honored with a standing ovation from his former President,J.J. Rawlings and the first lady at Ghana's Music Awards Nite.
Ambolley has more than seventeen albums to his credit and has received numerous musical awards. In October of 2003 Ambolley was prestigiously recognized for his commitment to his musical craft with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by Jazz at Drew from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA. Additionally he received a Congressional,Gubernatorial Certificate of Special Recognition by Cogresswoman Juanita Millinder McDonald. Also L.A.Weekly nominated Ambolley for "Best World Beat Recombinant Artists"-2003. It has been said that "the genre on Ambolley's music in entertainingly elevating and spiritually inescapable, such that its uniqueness transcends all musical categories.. Checkout his live recording "JaaZZ meets Hi-Life" "ONE WORLD, ONE PEOPLE, ONE DESTINY and of course his most recent collaboration with SWAY.......
His most recent addition to his resume is his lecture in Spain: Which the Entertainment in Ghana newsite captured as follows:
"Rapper, singer and saxist Gyedu Blay Ambolley, leaves Accra next Monday, November 14 for Madrid, Spain to give a lecture at this year's Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA).
The RBMA is an annual international music event where up and coming producers, singers, arrangers, DJs and musicians get the opportunity to learn from top industry professionals. Ambolley will deliver his lecture on the connections between African music and its links with European and American popular music on Wednesday, November 16.
Sponsored by energy boosting beverage manufacturer Red Bull, RBMA was started in 1998 and has been held each year in a different location. Cities that have hosted RBMA over the years include Berlin, Dublin, London, Cape Town, Rome and Toronto.
Some past lectures include American saxist Gary Bartz, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and British disc jockey/ music producer Jazzie B.
'I'm happy to share my experience and knowledge with people from other cultures. That's what makes music such a beautiful international commodity,' the Simigwa man said."
Well, Papa Kwaggees, Happy Birthday to you. We Love You.