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Osibisa’s Sol Amarfio passes on at 84!

Sol Amarfio. Master drummer, songwriter, composer

Known to be one of the founding members of Ghana’s legendary globally renowned band, Osibisa, Sol Amarfio who doubled as the bands’ drummer has passed on.

The news was confirmed on social media on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 by sport journalist, Yaw Ofosu.

“Sol Amarfio. Master drummer, songwriter, composer and a member of the legendary Osibisa band! Rest in peace,” he tweeted.

Born at Asere in Accra in 1938, Amarfio was part of the Rhythm Aces, Star Gazers and Comets bands in Ghana before going to England in 1961 via Liberia, Spain and France.

There, he teamed up with other London-based Ghanaian musicians such as George Lee and Willie Cheetham for gigs across Europe and North Africa before Osibisa was formed in 1969.

In 2004, Kiki Gyan, a member of the Osibisa band who once held the title of the world’s greatest keyboard player died from a long battle with drug addiction, per reports.

Mac Tonto another founding member, also died in 2010 after battling an intense stroke, according to family reports at that time.

Osibisa is a Ghanaian Afro-Rock band, founded in London in 1969 by four expatriate African and three Caribbean musicians. Their music is a fusion of African, Caribbean, jazz, funk, rock, Latin, R&B, and highlife and it also played a central role in developing an awareness of African music among European and North American audiences in the 70s.

The Ghanaian founding members of Osibisa; Teddy Osei, Sol Amarfio (drums), and Mac Tontoh, Teddy’s brother, were seasoned members of the Accra highlife scene before they moved to London to launch their attack on the world stage.

Osibisa was the most successful and longest-lived of the African-heritage bands in London, alongside such contemporaries as Assagai, Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, Demon Fuzz, and Noir, and were largely responsible for the establishment of world music as a marketable genre.

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Emmanuel Ghansah, Ghana Music

Singer, Songwriter, scriptwriter, blogger, lover of the creative arts, brands and communications expert.

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