31.2 C
Accra
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

NANA KWAME AMPADU I SPEAKS -MY LIFE, MY TIMES, MY LEGEND.

Must read

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Nana Kwame Ampadu 1 was born to OPANIN KWAME AMPADU, the then head of the ASONA clan of OBO KWAHU in the Eastern Region of Ghana, and madam MERCY AFUA NTIRIWAA, a stanch presbyter also of Obo Kwahu.
Nana Kwame Ampadu was born at Obo Kwahu on March 31st, 1945 and was named Kwame Ampadu after his father. Little Ampadu was enrolled into the OBO ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL from 1950-1952 where his parents took him to the village Adeemmra near Aboam in the Afframs Plains and had continuation of his schooling from class three to standard three (3), now class six and completed the junior or primary school in 1955. Ampadu developed keen interest in singing at school and had a very tantalizing and captivating voice to the admiration of his teachers who proudly choose him to give the school tunes whenever it was called for. Kwame Ampadu furthered his elementary school at OBO ANGLICAN MIDDLE BOYS SCHOOL from 1956-1959 and came out successfully as a brilliant form four leaver.

www.ghanareaders.com

SINGING IN SCHOOL

At the senior school, the Obo Anglican Middle Boys authorities including teachers took delight in the cute figure Ampadu not for his brilliance only but his artistic exuberance in singing. This made the head teacher, one Master Ouarcoe proud to robe him as a chorister and also appointed him as the only tune picker at all times. Before Amapdu finished his elementary school, he had sat and passed the West African Examination council’s common entrance in 1957 and gained admission with half scholarship to ABUAKWA STATE COLLEGE but his father expressed his financial incapacitation and thus young Ampadu had no option than to finish the Middle School after which he proceeded to Accra to join some relatives to find a job.

 

TOO CUTE AND TINY TO GET A JOB
Ampadu was so cute and tiny that people took him to be a child and would not be convinced that he was a middle school leaver who could be considered for a job. This was in 1960. After a few months of sojourn in the capital city, Accra, Kwame Ampadu or this time Patrick Kwame Ampadu was called to take a job as a messenger with the Ministry of Agriculture at Kwahu Mpraeso. His father, it was learnt has sought this job for him. Ampadu took this challenge and did remarkably well with his employers and officials of Agric Ministry. It was during this period that Patrick Ampadu saw that he had been blessed with a gift of composition. Though he was not near an instrument he was able to compose songs, which he repeatedly sang them and retentive as he was with his memory, never forgot them. Ampadu, at times sang to entertain some of his friends and admirers. Before he could see the 10th month of his employment he abandoned his post and fled to Accra again. A schoolmate, one Noah, who was a guitarist, had gone to invite young Ampadu to quit his job to come and join him in Accra where they would manage to form a band. So, he finally arrived in Accra, but upon inquiries about Noah he became disappointed, Noah has gone to Agogo and from indications, he was not coming back to stay in Accra. Ampadu, though disappointed, never lost hope. His brothers and sisters, four of them were in Accra so he settled with his immediate senior brother, Rover Amo Ampadu who incidentally became the manager of African Brothers Band International since it’s formation.

 

INTRODUCTION TO P. K. YAMOAH

One of his relatives Nana Nyarko, who was an executive member of Yamoah’s Band, introduced little Ampadu to Mr. P.K. Yamoah, the leader and founder of the band who auditioned and employed him as a treble singer. But his zeal and interest in singing for Yamoah’s band was dashed when Mr. Yamoah decided to go and stay in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital with the group and requested if he would like to go with him. The boy’s relatives would not give in to such propositions, in that he was still a small boy and they felt it was not safe for him to stay in Kumasi.
The next option was to look for some work to do. Some of the scores of applications letters he sent to various institutions and departments’ yielded results and one of them, the United Ghana Farmers Council Corporation. They employed him as a messenger and later as a canteen supervisor. Before then he had served one Mr. Ansong, the proprietor of Faith Drug Store in Okaishie, Accra in 1962. He also worked with the U.G.F.C.C from 1963-1966.

FORMATION OF AFRICAN BROTHERS BAND
He later met EDDIE DONKOR (later senior Eddie Donkor) and with the inclusion of NANA NYARKO, YAW ASANTE, YAW OWUSU, ROVER AMOH, KWAME ANIM and KOO OFORI, the formation of the AFRICAN BROTHERS BAND was effected. The inauguration of the African Brothers Band took place at the Park Cinema in Accra in 1963. During all these years, young Patrick Ampadu has not less than 50 good compositions but no producer or publisher would even give him and his group audition to access their capabilities, because they were small boys. In those days it was not common to see small boys becoming public entertainers or singers. However, they were not in the least daunted and continued to play at funerals and Hausa or Moslem weddings called “suuna”. In fact, the group was a delight to watch when they performed even though they played with worn-out musical instruments. Later around 1964, Joe Dee, an electrician and Oppong Kyekyeku joined the group as Bass player and tenor singer respectively.

 

MEETING JERRY HANSON


In 1964, young Ampadu met Mr. Jerry Hansen, leader and founder of the Ramblers Dance band and cultivated his acquaintance where Ampadu gave Jerry eight songs in all for free which the Ramblers Band recorded. Some of the songs are Ntoboase, Afutusem, Scholarship, Me Nsoromma Bepue. All these songs became hit tracks. One good turn deserves another. Mr. Jerry Hansen seeing the musical competence in Amapadu, introduced him to Phillips West Africa Ltd., a recording publishers and Ampadu was given the chance to record two single tracks for a 45 R.P.M release. The maiden recording was done at the Ghana Film Industries Corporation (G.F.I.C) on the 14th of November 1966.
The 1st track that was recorded that day was Agyanka Dabere with Suminaso Ntonko as the flip side. This single was released on 21st December 1966. The single album became an instant hit and served as a beginning of a new era in the guitar bands sector. The thought provoking nature of the lyrics in those two title tracks, made many people felt it was some old or veteran musicians who sang these songs. From this stage, promoters and producers chased the group for recording and performing engagements. It was no wonder that in early 1967 the group went to stay in Kumasi under the invitation and sponsorship of a hotelier, the proprietor of Ambassador Gardens in Asem, Amakom. At the tail end, the African Brothers Band settled with “D.K NYARKO” of OBOUBA RECORDS and HAPPY BIRD labels. Having formerly recorded for the Ambassador Records of Kumasi and the G.F.I.C in 1967 the mutual and verbal contract was signed with Mr. D.K Nyarko who provided accommodation and musical instruments as some of the pertaining contractual agreement. In 1967 alone, the group recorded 8 songs for the Ambassador records and 16 songs for G.F.I.C. Between 1968 and 1978 where Nana Ampadu requested for the abrogation of it’s contract with Mr. D.K Nyarko, the group had released not less than 400 single tracks. Year after year the African Brothers Band Int. released hits and sensational song tracks. In 1972, the government of Ghana, N.L.C organized a nationwide big and small bands competition to select the best hilife band. The final was held in at the REX CENEMA in Accra and in the end, the African Brothers Band Int. emerged as the winners and P.S.K AMPADU was crowned at the Arts Council of Ghana by the state on FEBUARY 10TH 1973 where the title of NWONTOFOHENE NANA KWAME AMPADU was conferred on him.

IMPORTANT PERSONALITIES INTERACT

Important personalities he has met include LT. General KUTU ACHEAMPONG, one time Head of State. Col BENASKO of Action Congress Party. FLT. LT. J.J. RAWLINGS, one time President of Ghana. PROF. KWASI YANKAH, MR. KWAMENA BARTELS, a minister of state. MRS. KONADU AGYEMANG RAWLINGS, President of 31st D.W.M

PUBLIC POSITIONS HELD

1993-2000 KWAHU SOUTH DISTRICT ASSEMBLY MEMBER. GOVT. APPOINTEE.
1992 GENEARAL SECRETARY MUSICIANS UNION OF GHANA
1993-2001 BOARD MEMBER-GHANA FOLKLORE BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
1991-1997 COMMITEE MEMBER-COSGA BANDROLE COMMITTEE
1984-1991 1ST VICE PRESIDENT-MUSIGA

PRIVATE LIFE

In his private life, Nana Kwame Ampadu married a wife, YAA HEHEWAH in 1968 and had two children, all boys with her. The marriage broke after ten years during when Nana Kwame has another wife CECELIA DEDE and had a daughter with her. MOM BEE, who was also a musician, was married to Ampadu and they were blessed with another boy. Nana met and married Akoua Agatha (Agatha) an Ivorian lady in 1981. But three years after, the marriage broke. As at the time of filing this profile, Nana has a wife, Nana Yaa Fosua who was married in 1992 and has two children, a boy and a girl with her in the names of OHENEBA YAW RAWLINGS AMPADU, Who was named after his Flt. excellency JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, former president of Ghana who was Nana’s spiritual friend and Davida Yaa Kesewaa. Currently Nana Ampadu 1 has eight children and their names are as follows:

KWADWO AMPADU

KWAKU AMOH SAMUEL AMPADU

MICHAEL KWAKU NYARKO AMPADU

NAOMI AMPADU

SHEILA AMPADU

KWABENA GYIMAH AMOAH ANTHONY AMPADU

OHENEBAH YAW RAWLINGS AMPADU named after Ghana’s former president, J.J.RAWLINGS, and YAA KESEWAA AMPADU.

Nana Kwame Ampadu was himself a footballer and was also once an executive member of Accra Hearts of Oak and Okwahu United. His other hobbies are indoor games such as Draught, Ludu and also Table Tennis. Nana Kwame Ampadu is a staunch Christian and presently an Evangelist of Jesus Christ and a member of Center for Christ Mission in Achimota.

 

BAND HISTORY

The African Brothers Band was formed in 1963, and was inaugurated in the same year in Accra, at the PARK CINEMA THEATER at Adabraka. As there is the root to every tree, it is inevitably important to recount the events that led to the formation of the African Brothers Band. There was a young and cute figure of a boy by name Patrick Kwame Ampadu who was always seen with his guitar hanging around his neck on the streets of Accra between the later part of 1961 and the full year of 1962. Ampadu took delight in guitar playing and one day, he met a man who introduced himself as Kwadwo Annan, a musician. Kwadwo Annan took Ampadu to his house at Adabraka, near Kwame Nkrumah Circle. It was there he told Ampadu that he was forming a band and wanted Ampadu to play guitar as a member. This offer, Ampadu obliged readily and so started rehearsal with the group, which was named HOT STARS. It was after a day’s rehearsal that a fairly taller boy with rather a big nose met Ampadu on his way home and engaged him into a dialogue after introducing himself as Eddie Donkor. Eddie Donkor confessed to Ampadu that he had watched him playing his guitar with delight and that, if Ampadu would oblige, his brother-in-law at Nima has got musical instruments and was looking for bandsmen to play. The convincing of Kwasi Donkor was irresistible to Ampadu who accepted the offer.

Senior Eddie Donkor

INSPIRED BY KWAME NKRUMAH

Meanwhile, Ampadu and his elder brother, Rover Amo Kofi Ampadu had purchased a set of locally made jazz drums set and a pair of congas were contributed by Kofi Amo, Yaw Owusu and Patrick Kwame Ampadu which was added to that of Eddie Donor’s brother-in-law’s instruments to begin the forming of a band. In choosing a name of the band, all members were opted to write a name so that the most resounding could be chosen and registered. One of the Bandsmen, one K. Ofori who was much more older wrote AFRICAN BROTHERS BAND. All unanimously accepted this name after K. Ofori defended it by acknowledging that as the then President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was pivoting the formation of the ORGANIZATION of AFRICAN UNITY “O.A.U” the name African Brothers Band could play a supportive part in Osagyefo’s aspirations as brotherliness and oneness for Africa. So the African Brothers Band was formed and K. Ampadu was chosen the leader, but because of his cute and small figure, K Ofori was asked to act for him temporarily.

Osagyefo Dr. Kwame NKrumah served as an inspiration for the African Brothers Band

Unfortunately or fortunately K. Ofori, a driver by profession then left the group. Ampadu was therefore encouraged to take the full responsibility as the bandleader. This was effected before the inauguration where Nana Nyarko, former bass singer of Yamoah’s band joined the group. He was made the patron/manager of the band and it was through his relentless efforts and great experience that the group had some Kwahu businessmen to sympathize with the group and made the inauguration ceremony a great success. Some of the Kwahu businessmen were Oheneba Nyarko, Opanin Tawia, Opanin Kwabena Wiafe, and Obuoba Yaw Dankwa. These sympathizers contributed and bought an amplify for the group to support it’s efforts. The pioneers of the African Brothers were Rover Amo Kofi Ampadu, Kwasi Donkors (Snr. Eddie Donkor) Patrick Kwame Ampadu a.k.a P.S.K Ampadu a.k.a Paa Steele, Kwame Anim, Yaw Asante and Kwadwo Ofori. Later in 1964, Joe Dee a.k.a Kwabena Appiah and Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku joined the group as a string bass player and a tenor singer respectively. All the members were teenagers at that time and so, nobody dared give them regards as to their potential abilities, because in those days only grown up men were seen and recognized as musicians. The only places the group could be engaged were in the small-spaced beer bars, and Moslem wedding engagements known as “SUNNA” and at times funeral engagements which in most cases they played for free to advertise their presence and capabilities, where they relied on the coins that funeral attendants gave them in appreciation. One unusual but significant thing about this teenagers group was that they mostly played their own compositions at their engagements to the awe and admiration of their audience; and people wondered how this unusual thing could be done, only by such “Small Boys.”

 

In 1965 and 1966, the group saw the exits of Yaw Asante, Yaw Owusu and Kwame Anim. One Agyeman was welcomed as a drummer. He was however a grown up person in his early thirties. This was after the band had recorded its maiden 45 R.P.M singles on the 14th day of November 1966 at the Ghana Film Industries Corporation in Accra under the label of Phillips West Africa Ltd. Publishers of Music. Two songs were recorded on that day: AGYANKA DABERE and SUMINASO NTONKO. After the release of this 45 R.P.M hit, the African Brothers Band became the sensation of the time. People were yearning to see those musicians, thinking they were adults like the age group of EK’S, KAKAIKU’S, ONYINA’S, K GYASI’S bands. Producers and publishers craved to sign them on but Ampadu wanted to remain with Phillips West Africa Ltd.

Before Ampadu could be given the recognition to record his debut songs, one dance band musician, JERRY HANSEN, founder and leader of the RAMBLERS DANCE BAND played a mediating and instrumental role. Ampadu had cultivated the acquaintance with Jerry Hansen when he (Ampadu) was working with the United Ghana Farmers Council Corporation in 1964 and had released eight (8) of his composition to the Ramblers Band for free between 1964 and 1966. There is the adage that one

good turn deserves another.

 

INTRODUCTION TO LEGENDARY JOE EYISON

Joe Eyison

So Jerry Hansen introduced young Ampadu to one JOE EYISON, a veteran composer and also the technical producer of Phillips West Africa Ltd. as a prolific gifted composer. Joe Eyison and the Phillips West Africa representative, one MR. BRIGGS, a Nigerian, auditioned Ampadu and his group at the HARLEM CAFÉ at Nima. Two of the numerous songs they played were selected for the recordings. In 1967, Phillips West Africa recorded six songs with the African Brothers Band. Because the company was convinced that the Band was potentially good for recordings as their maiden recording caught on well with the public. In the same year, the director of the Ambassador records Manufacturing Company, Mr. A.K. BADU contracted with the group and recorded eight (8) songs with them. In the same year when the band was based in Kumasi, the G.F.I.C also contracted the group to record sixteen (16) songs. All these while Ampadu did not take delight in entering into any perpetual contract with any company or individual. The African Brothers had the songs and were ready to record for any company or individual who was interested. It was in 1967 that the band gained accelerating popularity as they had released some sensational catchy songs like OKWADUO, EBI TE YIE, NKRAN ABRABO, KAE WO WUDAMU, and MANOMAA NUA etc.

Producers tried to entice the group with set of musical instruments and the luckiest of them all was D.K. NYARKO, of OBUABA LABELS who later opened more labels, HAPPY BIRD, ADWANA and D.K.N.

In Kumasi, the group stayed at the Ambassador Gardens at Asem, Amakom where the owner willingly gave 4 rooms free of charge to the group to stay.

The only deal he had with the group was that, they played at the hotel every other forth night on a Saturday. It was a very God sent and flexible deal indeed.

 

The groups sojourn in Kumasi ended in 1967. In 1968, D.K. Nyarko secured a flat for the Band at Kokomlemle, near the king’s college and also bought some instruments to beef up what the group was using.

From 1968, the African Brothers became the “BEETLES” of Ghana. They were so popular that people formed cues to buy their records at the shops. At concert theaters and dance halls too, the crowd was so thick that confusion broke many times to disrupt performances.

Between 1968 and 1970 Ampadu had recorded not less than thirty (30) 45 R.P.M singles, a fact that was not equaled by any band at that time.

 

CHART TOPPING TRACKS

Some of the charts topping tracks in those days were: ANKOMA BOAFO, OFIE NWANSENA, OWUO YI, YEBEWU NTI YENNA, ID WO KUNU NI, SEANTIE, MMARA NSEM DU, MENE WO NNANTE BIO, EMELIA, OTUMFUO OSEI AGYEMAN PREMPEH ABUSUA NNYE ASAFO, SEFA WO SUBAN, ANIBUE ABA.

The African Brothers broke the myth that was surrounding the duration of recordings, which was pegged between 2:50mins. and 2:55mins. and recorded it’s 1st five (5) minutes plus songs; MENE WO NNANTE BIO in 1969. The band also introduced what was not known before as PART 1, and PART 2 with a song, EBI TE YIE in 1967.

In 1968, the Band attached a drama troupe to the band proper, and started touring the who country where they were mobbed everywhere.

 

TOUR OF GREAT BRITAIN

In 1970, the group had the privilege to tour Great Britain under the sponsorship of the Ghanaian Citizens Community Association of Great Britain of which AKOSUA AMPADU, who was incidentally the sister of P.S.K Ampadu and Rover Amo.

Akosua Ampadu was delegated to come down to arrange with the band in Accra in February 1970. It was during this maiden tour that the group recorded its debut LP album at PYE STUDIOS in London. A total of ten (10) tracks were recorded on this maiden album (LP). Some of the tracks being remixed ones. The tour itself was a success as patronage was very high. The group stayed at Collingham Gardens, a house Dr. Nkrumah purchased for use as a hostel for Ghanaian tourist, students, musicians, etc. The group became more popular after this tour, in that, in those times, it wasn’t common

at all for a group to travel abroad for performances of that nature. The group’s numbers of songs increase as almost in every two (2) months recording were done.

Between 1970 and 1973 before the group toured Great Britain for the second time, more than 150 songs had been recorded. Some of which were; KOFI NKRABEA, AWARE BONE, EYE A NA ME MU, KWAME MENSAH, ADWOA, YAA YAA, OKUN PA, AKU SIKA, GYAE SU, AKWANTUOMU NSEM, EBI ADI KAN, ME NYA NKWA A EFIRI WO, YAW BERKO, SOMU GYE WAKRANTEE, ONIPA NSE HWEE and many more.

 

In 1973 the band recorded 3 LP albums: YAA AMANUA, YAA AMPONSAH and ODO PAA. The group returned to introduce TINAWELE dance, and then introduced also the AFROHILI beat where such songs like YAW ASANTE, ANKWANOMA, MEYE AGYANKA, ESTHER, ODO DESEEFO, YEN BA PA KWADWO were recorded with the beat. During these years, the African Brothers topped the music charts because every track they released counted among the top hits, and even their songs competed themselves on the charts. Songs like OBIBA BROKE, YAW BERKO, KOFI NKRABEA, MAAME ADWOA and SOMU GYE WAKRANTEE competed themselves in the eyes of the public. Also, the story lines like, AKU SIKA, NKRABEA, OKUNPA, SIKA ANIBERE, YEEWE NSA, ARTICLE 204 and ANOMAA A WOKO YI also did compete with themselves. The sensational songs at that time were: SENSAM, OKUNPA, AKU SIKA BRIBI BETUMI YEN.

And in 1976, the group was hired to tour the United States of America and Canada. The first Black African Band to tour Canada was the African Brothers Band Int.

The group recorded two LP albums in the U.S at New York City down town. This tour which included LORD BOB COLE was resoundingly successful in terms of performance, audience patronage and promoters arrangements. Some of the sensational tracks in the U.S recording were YEKA MENU A BROFO BAAKO, EMMAA BEKU MMARIMA and AMMA AMMA.

 

 

BREAKAWAYS…

 

Some of the regular members of the band broke away to form their own groups between 1972 and 1976, but it did not tell on the group because Nana Ampadu always had the foresight and anticipated such moves so he enrolled new musician into this musical institution.

The first to break away was SAM DERCHIE, who left to lead the SAINTS BANDS in 1971-72. Then after the group’s second tour of Great Britain in 1973, TEACHER BOATENG and S.K OFORI left to form the OGYA TANAA and later AFRICANA which was led by Teacher Boateng whiles S.K Ofori led the Ogya Tanaa Band. In 1975 EDDIE DONKOR, serving for nine (9) broke away to form the ASIKO INTERNATIONALS.

 

LAWYER BOATENG, OPPONG KYEKYEKU and P.K ASARE all broke away and finally settled with the AFRICANA after Oppong Kyekyeku failed to lead the YOUNG AFRICANS into stardom. JOE DEE went on solo and spread his wings to London. He came back to form his own group having left the band in late 1974. APENTEN also left the group to lead the TATA BREWERY BAND as a guitarist. ANTHONY SCORPION too broke away to form the BEACH SCORPIONS.

Other prominent musicians who one time passed the corridors of the African Brothers Band were: OSEI VASCO, who led the ASHANTI BROTHERS after the UNITY STARS CONCERT GROUP, which was staging for the African Brothers Band broke away in 1992. Then KOFI SAMMY and WATERPROOF also came into the scene and were staging for the band with their OKUKUSEKU CONCERT PARTY. S.K OPPONG and his group also staged for the band and it was through AKU SIKA, a concert play they staged on G.T.V that paved the way for the formation of OSOFO DADZIE. OSOFO DAAZIE, SUPER O.D, KWADWO KWAKYE and FRED ADDAI. All were with S.K Oppong at that time.

 

Captain Newman was also schooled in the African Brothers Institution from 1969 to 1972. The first concert party group that staged for the African Brothers Band was the, LUCKY DIAMONDS led by Kwabena Nyarko of City Boys fame. Smart Nkansah was one time a guitarist with the African Brothers Concert Party between 1982 and 1994. The following “students” passed out on their own. PRINCE OSEI KOFI, KWAME SETH, PATRICK ATOMU. YAW AMOAKO a.k.a NANABA AMOAKO left the group in 1976 to form his own band and also Kwaku Poku left in 1991 to seek greener pastures in the Netherlands. ALEX OBENG of Maryland U.S.A also exited as early as 1977. So to sum up, the following musicians were those who broke away from the African Brothers Band to form their own group or least came out with recordings

 

SAM DERCHIE

TEACHER BOATENG

S.K OFORI

S.K OFORI

S.K APENTENG

JOE DEE

SNR. EDDIE DONKOR

P.K ASARE

ANTHONY SCORPION

CAPTAIN NEWMAN

NANABA AMOAKO

PRINCE OSEI KOFI

KWAME SETH

PAA ALEX OBENG

HAYFORD GYABAA

KWAME ASAMOAH

PATRICK ATOMU

The longest serving member was KWABENA OSAE affectionately called AGYA OSAE. He served the Band between 1972 and 1994 and rose to the status of assistant bandleader after three (3) years of his employment.

 

The most hard working and dedicated bandsmen were, KWAME OFFEI, PRINCE OSEI KOFI, KOO BAAH, AGYA OSAE and RAY SAM starting from 1971 to 1994. These names do not include the pioneers.

From 1973, the group was internationally matured so the name “INTERNATIONAL” was added to the African Brother Band thus sounding it “AFRICAN BROTHERS BAND INT.” The African Brothers Band was the 1st band to record the longest single track, YAA AMANUA (16 mins: 30sec.), and also the longest medley album YEEWE NSA (49 mins: 12 sec.) in 1973.

 

AWARDS

Receiving the Life Time Award at the Vodafon Music Awards, April, 2015, at Alisa Hotel

From 1972 to 1994 the African Brothers won many awards including LEGON HALL AWARD in 1981, REX IMAGE AWARDS, ECRAG AWARDS, ACRAG AWARD, NATIONAL COMMISSION on CULTURE AWARD.

The greatest national award was the one conferred on the leader P.SK. Ampadu as “NNWONTOFOHENE NANA KWAME AMPADU 1” in 1973, February 10th and the Grand Medal of the Volta Civil Division Award in 1997 on Ghana’s 40th Independence anniversary by the President, his excellency Flt. JJ Rawlings.

 

From 1977 to 1983, the band never traveled abroad till 1984, 1990 and 1991 where they traveled to Europe, including Great Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. In 1984 Third Eye Film CO. made a short film about them for Channel 4 TV of London. There were also video films on them during tours of Canada/U.S.A, France and Germany in 1987 and 1990 respectively. Talking about recordings, the African Brothers Band never yielded and continued to release LP albums and collected to their archives 67 long Play albums and extended play 45 R.P.M’s, 6 and uncountable 45 R.P.M singles. The statistics begins from 1966 to 1994 when the band was partly defunct and only did few recordings at a time.

 

 

AFRICAN BROTHERS DRAMA TROUPE

The African Brothers Band formed their own drama troupe where some of the main members (Music Section) took part in acting. Popular among the actors, comedians, and actresses were:

 

KWAME ALHAJI

BLUE BOI

“BOB 77” ARMAA

WATO NKYENE

BOB SANTO

KOO NIMO

“JUDAS” ABUSUA PANIN

RAMATU

AKUA ATAA

ZARIATU-“ABAAWA MARY”

UNCLE AWOTWE

KWAME AWUDOME

TOFFEE TOFFEE

PAUL ARTHUR

YANKEY

BOB OKALA

NANA KWAME AMPADU who is currently a film scriptwriter wrote all plays staged by the African Brothers Drama troupe. Some of the popular plays the African Brothers Drama troupe staged were:

 

ABORTION

ABUSUUA

KWAATA

OKUNPAAKU SIKA

DES ONYAME AHYIRA NO

AWAREGYAE BI YE MMUSUO

NTWATOSO-ABAAWA MARY

KOFI ASANTE-NTWATOSO 1

ONYAME NKOAA NE HENE

The African Brothers band was the first to commercialize stage play onto audiocassette in 1988 and sold over 200,000 copies by the year 2001. “Ntwatoso” pt. 1&2, followed by “DeS Onyame Ahyira No” and Awaregyae Bi Ye Mmusuo”

 

MUM BEA

 

In 1976, the leader met a songstress who expressed her interest to sing with the African Brothers Band. She was engaged and sang about 16 songs under the African Brothers name. This lady rose to fame between 1977 and 1980 when she had been married to the leader, Nana Kwame Ampadu. Nana Ampadu 1 however composed all her songs. Some of her popular songs were:

 

ASANTROFIE

EHURU A EBEDWO

YI ME FIRI MU

AKWASI

MEKAE ME NYAME

GYE YENN YAA WO

 

ENGLISH SONGS

 

The African Brothers Band has some English songs to their repertoire. The first English songs were recorded in 1967 of these tittles AUNTIE ESI and HALELUIA. Other English songs that followed includes: “DON’T FORGET”, “KATAKUMBE”, “I’WILL PRAY”, “VIRTUE”, “STRANGERS”, “NONE BUT YOU”, “DON’T PRETEND YOU KNOW ME NOT” and many more. Some of these English songs were back by Mum Bii, the first female lead vocalist of the band.

 

 

MISS AFRICAN BROTHERS BAND

 

Since 1969, the African Brothers Band organized a yearly “MISS AFRICAN BROTHERS BAND INT” which was very highly patronized. The criteria for the competition was not so stringent but was limited to females who were not above 25 years only. Any contestant who won was crowned Miss African Brothers Band for that year won cash prize and records of the band, and also privileged to attend any of the band commercials or private functions free of charge. The 1st and 2nd runner-ups were also given befitting prizes.

The contestants prepared themselves well, especially with hairdo; make-ups and dresses where some were proudly sponsored by designers. The competition was carried on for 9 years from 1969-1978.

 

 

DEATHS

 

The African Brothers, unlike their other counterparts did not suffer deaths. The one and only death of a member was in the person of YAW MENSAH, affectionately called MAJOR MENSAH, which occurred in 1981. Major Mensah hailed from Agona Bobikumah. However, other members who died after breaking away were Oppong Kyekyeku, Lawyer Boateng, Koo Baah, Aboagye Sogya, Snr. Eddie Donkor and Slim Donkor.

 

 

SET BACKS

 

In every life there are difficult and regrettable situations, failures and setbacks. The most regrettable setbacks the band encountered or experienced were in 1965 at ASIEDU BAR at Zongo-Junction in Accra when and where the band played to an audience of a single couple who paid to attend the dance. On that day, members had to walk from Asiedu Bar to Asylum Down where they reside. The second stage or performance disaster was in 1980, when the band toured NIGERIA and at one venue played to a crowd of three (3) people that occurred on December 24th where the band would have played to an audience of about 2,000 in Accra. The humiliating setback was attributed to the shabby and poor arrangements the promoter carried.

 

 

SENSATIONAL SONGS CHART

 

EBI TE TIE

ARTICLE 204

SOMU GYE WAKRANTE

KWAATA

OKWADUO

GYAMA WO FERE

NEA MOYE YI MAHU

AKU SIKA

OKUNPA

MMARANSEM DU

AGATHA

OBIARA BA NNYE

KUKRUKUKRU

GETTY

OMAN BO ADWO

 

PHILOSOPHIC THOUGHT PROVOKING SONGS

 

OBRA

YEN BA PA KWADWO

KOFI NKRABEA

OBIBA BROKE

YAW BERKO

MENE WO NNANTE BIO

YAA AMANUA

OPANIN A OWO FIE

EMMAA YI DOOSO

ASIANE BI YE NKRABEA(NKRABEA)

WOYOOWOYO

DRIVERS

AGYA KYEE M’ADE

AGYANKA DABERE

SOMU GYE WAKRANTEE

OKUNPA

KUKRUKUKRU

 

AMONG THE 1ST 20 TOP SONGS

 

OMAN BO ADWO

AGATHA

AKU SIKA

OBIARA BA NNYE

KWAATA

EBI TE YIE

MOTHER

DRIVERS

WOYOOWOYO

OBRA

KOFI NKRABEA

YAW BERKO

OBIBA BROKE

AGYANKA DABERE

YAA AMANUA

ODO ME NSEE

GETTY

OKUN PA

SOMU GYE WAKRANTEE

SAN BRA

 

TEN EVERGREEN POPULAR SONGS

OBRA

MOTHER

AKU SIKA pt.1 & pt.2

OMAN BO ADWO

AGATHA

A’SE YE DO WO

KOFI NKRABEA

 

LEADING SONGS FOR FUNERALS

 

MOTHER

GYAE SU

ADE AYE ME

MA ME NSU MMA WO

OSAMAN BI

YEN MPANIN ASA

OFIE NWANSENA

OWUO AYE ME BI

AKOMAA

HAPPY MOMENTS POPULAR HITS

AGATHA

GETTY

EMELIA

SAN BRA

GYE MANI

ODO ME NSEE

MENTUMI NGYAA WO

YI ME FIRI MU

OBI DOBA

ADU TWUMWAA

MENE WO BETENA

GOSPEL ORIENTED SONGS

ME NYAME WOPE NYE HO

ADOM WO WIM

I WILL PRAY

ONYAME NKOAA NE HENE

AKU SIKA

ME NYAME MESU FRE WO

STRANGER

HALELUIA

YAA AMNUA

KYEREMAA

ANIBERE

KWAATA

 

Albums

ALBUMS

​OMAN BO ADWO
OBIARA BA NNYE
MENTUMI NGYAA WO
AGATHA
KUKRUKUKRU
YAA AMPONSAH
YAA AMANUA
ODO PAA
SPACE REGGAE VOL. 1
SPACE REGGAE VOL. 2
MASE GYE WO BA
GETTY/ME POMA
WOYOO WOYO
ABUSA BESI WO KONKO
SI NO
OSAMAN BI
WONKA MMA WO NTE
ODO ME NSEE
AMPADU BOATENG
MA ME NSU MMA WO
NSAASAAWA
MEDO WIASE
YEKA MIENUA BROFO BAAKO
YEEWE NSA

 

 

Greatest Compilations

GREATEST HITS

EBI TE YIE – 1967

OKWADUO – 1967

NKRAN ABRABO – 1967

AGYANKA DABERE – 1966

SUMINASO NTONKO – 1966

OWUO YI – 1968

SEANTIE – 1968

OFIE NWANSENA – 1968

MMARANSEM DU – 1968

MENE WO NNANTE BIO – 1968

ENA EYE A MANE ME – 1969

ARTICLE 204 – 1971

OTUMFUO OSEI AGYAMAN

PREMPEH DAMMIRIFUA PT.1&2 – 1970

KOFI NKRABEA – 1970

OKUN PA PT. 1&2 – 1970

AKU SIKA PT. 1&2 – 1970

KWAME MENSAH – 1969

MMOBROWA – 1969

ABUSUA NNYE ASAFO – 1969

ONIPA NNSE HWEE – 1969

MOTHER – 1980

MENNYE OSANSANI – 1980

GYAE SU – 1980

ADES AYS ME – 1969

WOBEKA WO HO ASEM – 1971

ANOMAA A WOKO – 1971

GYAMA WO FERE – 1971

YAW ASANTE – 1971

ANKWANOMA – 1971

ODO PAA NI – 1971

AGATHA – 1980

KWAATA – 1980

ADUTWUMWAA – 1980

MA ME NSU MMA WO – 1979

WOFA KWASI MMA – 1982

OBI DOBA – 1985

WOYOO WOYO – 1985

ASE YEDO WO – 1985

DRIVERS – 1983

MMAA YI DOOSO – 1983

OBIARA BA NNYE – 1986

OMAN BO ADWO – 1987

ASAASE ABAN – 1987

GETTY – 1983

ME POMA – 1983

ODO ME NSEE – 1988

WONNKA MMA WO NNTE – 1988

KUKRUKUKRU – 1990

YENBA PA KWADWO – 1974

 

 

NNWONTOFOHEHE

Nana Kwame Amapadu has received countless awards; he won the ever-1st National Dance Band Competition in 1972 (S.M.C GOVT.) in Accra. Crowned NNWONTOFOHEHE by the Arts Council of Ghana in 1973 with the National stool name of “Nnwontofohene Nana Kwame Ampadu 1”. Received several awards between 1981 and 1998 at Legon Hall, University of Ghana; Rex Image Associates, ECRAG, COSGA & ACRAG. All in respect of the tremendous role and contribution for the upliftment of our cultural heritage through music. Awarded State Grand Medal Award in 1997 by the President of Ghana, his Excellency FLT. LT. J.J. RAWLINGS. Composed the signature and theme song for Operation Feed Yourself in 1974(N.L.C). Some of the indelible achievements of Nana Kwame Ampadu 1 & his African Brothers Band are that, in 1973, the group stopped playing copyright music and concentrated on their own. In the same year, Nana Ampadu introduced the AFRO HILIFE BEAT. They were also the first band to record on 45 R.P.M with a duration that exceeded the maximum 2.55 minutes in those times. They were also the first to introduce title track that consisted of, Part 1 & Part 2. Nana Ampadu was the youngest to have leadership in a band at the age of nineteen in 1963. So far it is believed the African Brothers Band has recorded the largest number of title tracks totaling about 700 at the time I did this interview with Nana Ampadu. African Brothers has trained many musicians into stardom than any other band in Ghanaian history; some of the artists are as follows:

SNR EDDIE DONKOR (DECEASED)

SAM DERCHIE (AUSTRIALIA)

ANTHONY SCORPION (THE BEACH SCORPION)

APENTEN (He later led the pilsners band)

JOE DEE

OPPONG KYEKYEKU (YOUNG AFRICANS)

TEACHER BOATENG (AFRICANA)

ANCIENT AWUA- (MUSICLOGIST IN SWITZERLAND)

FRANK HIANGO- (ASST. PROFFESSOR OF MUSIC-USA)

KWAME SETH- (VIRGINIA USA)

PAA ALEX 111- (MARYLAND USA)

AGYA OSAE- (HE IS THE LONGEST SERVING BANDSMMAN FORM 1972-1994)

NANABA AMOAKO

PRINCE OSEI KOFI (AFRICAN HEROES)

MOM BEE (EHURU A EBEDWO)

AKOSUA AGYAPONG

KWASI BEKOE

ABENAA NYANTEH

AKOSUA AMOAM

STELLA TACKIE

Copyright © 2016 Mickeymike Productions.

Ampadu

VODAFON MUSIC AWARDS LIFE TIME AWARD

In April 2015, Nana Kwame Ampadu receives Life Time Achievement Award at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.

The Industry Awards night for 16th edition of the prestigious Vodafone Ghana Music Awards was held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra Monday night.

The Industry Awards night, which precedes to the main awards night, honours distinguished personalities in the music industry who have excelled over the past year.

Unlike the main awards, the Industry Awards categories are not voted for by the general public. In all 10 personalities received awards on the night.

The event witnessed some exciting performances from Emelia Arthur, Efya, Ras Kuuku, Raquel and Nana Kwame Ampadu, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for that year.

(You can follow stories in the Daily Searchlight on www.thedailysearchlight.com or Daily Searchlight on our Facebook home page. Write to us on searchlightnews@yahoo.co.uk).

 

- Advertisement -

More articles

Latest article