Ghanaian artists, especially musicians, have had a long history of sojourn in foreign lands. Among the young musicians who found their way to Germany in the late 1970s was Charles Amoah who started his Germany campaign with a German pop band called Kamela in 1979.
Generally for those Ghanaian musicians who found themselves in Germany in those days there was the need to vary their highlife music to satisfy the international or the western market.
What they succeeded in coming out with is what has come to be known as burger highlife, the Ghanaian highlife that has been given a touch of funk.
Charles Amoah's maiden album, Sweet Vibration, which he recorded after he had met his music producer friend Milos Vuscovic in 1984, set him off on the burger highlife crusade.
“Out of the Sweet Vibration album, two singles, Shake Your Body To The Beat and Scratch My Back produced by Ben Leibrand became very popular in Europe and also made me fairly popular”, Charles told Showbiz.
He followed this up in 1985 with Fre Me and Me Ne Wo Begoro. These became instant hits and very popular in Ghana and among members of the Ghanaian communities in Europe and America.
Before the release of these songs Charles had moved from the Kamela band to join Black Earth which was led by Sir Roberto in 1983. He stayed with this group until 1989.
“My popularity as a musician kept increasing and I was regularly invited to participate in many concerts all around Europe and America. The biggest event of these was when I played alongside Ice House, Boney M and a host of other popular European bands at a music gala night in 1987 in Dusseldorf, Germany.”
The last band Charles played with in Germany was led by Abdul Kohl a Malian who specialised in Malian/Senegalese rhythms. The band was called Saraba.
Soon he established his own record label, Cage, which became operational and through which he has been able to produce many Ghanaian musicians including Azigiza, Nana Tufour and Nana Acheampong.
According to Charles Amoah he has many fond memories of his days in Ghana before he went to Germany. He started his career in 1974 with Alex Konadu's band where he combined drumming with singing. He also played Sparrows and ended up with The Precious Jewels of Tip Toe Gardens.
Charles has currently concluded arrangements with Peter Krick, founder of Skyline Studios in Dusseldorf to manage and produce Ghanaian musicians. It would also involve a web site which would be engaged in the mixing and mastering of songs.
Story by E A Andam