Legendary Highlife musician and self acclaimed pioneer of rap music in Ghana, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, literally got the audience wanting more after his performance had ended during the 2019 Sommerfest event in Stuttgart.
He delivered a showstopping performance together with his Sekondi band and hundreds of the predominantly German audience caged him on stage till organizers of the event had to add an extra 15 minutes of performing time to his slot.
This goes a long way to enforce the love for the authenticity of indigenous Ghanaian music on a global scale.
Tipped to be the first musician from Ghana to formally incorporate rap forms into local highlife rhythms, Ambolley created the musical genre Simigwa.
In June 2015, Ambolley received a citation in the USA from the City Council of Philadelphia, read by Council woman; Honorable Jannie Blackwell and Hon. Stanley J. Staughter in recognition of the musician’s contributions to Ghanaian music in the USA.
He was rather unknown outside of West Africa until Soundway Records included his seminal Simigwa-Do, which Ambolley released in 1973, on their first anthology, Ghana Soundz.
Ambolley’s sound has led many to label him the godfather of hiplife – the fusion of the hip hop and highlife idioms. Ambolley stood aside AL Threats at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
His song Simigua-do is considered the first rap in the world released in 1973.
Ambolley, Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor are the few musicians who envisioned a future for high-life music in the late 60s and early 70s and helped transform the genre, fusing high-life, funk and jazz music.
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