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The ‘Simigwa Do Man’; Gyedu-Blay Ambolley

The Simigwa Do Man

The Legendary Gyedu-Blay Ambolley has 30 albums to his credit with the last being released in May 2017 by Agogo Records to wonderful reviews.

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Ambolley, affectionately known as the Simigwa Do Man, was born in the port city of Sekondi-Takoradi.

The multi-talented, International, Ghanaian Musician celebrated his “Silver Jubilee” in music in 1998.

The 'Simigwa Do Man'; Gyedu Blay Ambolley
Gyedu Blay Ambolley album covet

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.

This versatile, irrepressible singer, songwriter, producer and “musical-life-force” exploded on the music scene since 1973 with a jazzy highlife sounds called ‘SIMIGWA-DO’.

Ambolley’s name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single was released in 1973 and that was the first-ever recorded rap music commercially in the world before the Sugar Hill Gang in America.

Ambolley spent a great part of his day listening to records of musicians living in the United States. He contributes his freestyle of singing to such mentors as James Brown, Ray Charles, and ‘the late’ Sam Cook.

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During the sixties, the young aspiring musician was excitingly impressed with the music he 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. He has toured throughout West Afrika, Europe, Canada, and the United States.

The 'Simigwa Do Man'; Gyedu Blay Ambolley
Gyedu Blay Ambolley at Globatica

Ambolley has received numerous prestigious accolades/awards. In 2006, Gubernatorial Recognition Award from the Governor of California as well as an award from the Mayor of California, Board of Supervisors and the City Council of the State of California.

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“.

Returning to Ghana in 1997, Ambolley was honoured with a standing ovation from his former President, J.J. Rawlings and the first lady at Ghana’s Music Awards Nite.

The 'Simigwa Do Man'; Gyedu Blay Ambolley
A citation being read for Gyedu-Blay Ambolley. Photo Credit: gyedublayambolley.com

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