A true icon of Ghanaian music, Nana Ampadu was the leader of the African Brothers Band for almost half a century. They wrote some of the most important pages of high-life music and modern music from Ghana. They released over sixty LPs and hundreds of singles, with several of them hailed as true classics. Over the last five decades, Ampadu and his band have forged a unique path across Ghana’s popular musical landscape.
Nana Ampadu started his career as a guitar player and a singer in the early 1960’s, and came from the fertile tradition of guitar bands from the Kumasi region. His songs are about the rapid evolution and changes of Ghanaian society, after the demise of Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. In 1979, the African Brothers Band recorded this masterpiece as a tribute to their late producer who had just passed away. Owner of the Obuoba Record Store, Daniel Kwesi Nyarko was among the first to believe in Ampadu’s talents, and invested in some better instruments so that the young band could turn professional in 1967.
The minor keys of these four songs perfectly fit the melancholy of Nana’s eerie guitar playing, in contrast to his soulful singing, in some odonson mode, a Ghanaian style made popular by CK Mann. “The rhythm we were playing was a typical odonson rhythm, traditional form of guitar. It means ‘let’s get together and fraternize’. We went deep into our roots for this record,” explains Nana Ampadu, fondly remembering this album at his Accra home. This sincerity and depth of feeling characterize both ‘Kyeremirekuku’ and ‘Ma Me Nsu Wa Wo’ on side A.
Supported by some weightless guitar, ‘D.K. Nyarko’ is still a moving tribute to the great producer. Utterly mellow, in reserved celebration of the late Nyarko, these songs went much further than to mourn one of the band’s greatest supporters. They reflected some troubled times, both politically and economically, as the once mighty Ghana record industry slowly recessed. This record still stands as a genuine masterpiece of 1970’s Ghana and beyond, as many of these mournful songs convey some universal appeal. In the 1980’s, the African Brothers’s releases slowed down considerably, as the band slowly stepped down from the forefront of Ghanaian music. However, this record stands today as an ongoing testimony of Nana Ampadu’s brilliant musical vision.
(added: 2012-10-18 14:13:31 )