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African Brothers Band International of Ghana | Enyimba Di N'aba (Ghana 1983)

34 Views· 03/01/23
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“Perhaps half a dozen times a year, Nana [Ampadu] and his [African Brothers] band will hold a dance, sometimes at a small hotel in a residential section of Accra like Kaneshie or Asylum Down, sometimes at a major nightclub like Apollo Theatre or Tiptoe Gardens. It is always necessary to fight the crowd in order to see him. Once one is past the crush at the door, there is often no place to sit. The dance floor is shoulder to shoulder with fans dancing non-stop ...

“Most dancers are involved in projecting themselves into the music, and they dance coolly, perhaps singing the songs to themselves and thinking about the lyrics. Their facial expressions are almost inward-looking, though they are always ready to look up, smile and greet each other...”

“When the African Brothers play live, they really wind it up. When performing at a dance, they stretch out in the instrumental sections of their songs, laying down a solid groove and taking long solos. Nana is a small man, extremely handsome; the expression on his face when he plays looks simultaneously like that of a wise old man and a playful child. He has especially good rapport with his audiences, and when he plays his guitar, he watches his dancers just as a master drummer would, fulfilling all the interlocutor roles of a traditional African musician. When he says something, the audience roars.”

-John Miller Chernoff

Nana Kwame Ampadu is the quintessential songwriter, philosopher and storyteller of Ghanaian highlife music.

Born in 1945 in Adiemmra, Ampadu was known for his storytelling prowess from a young age. He combined those skills with highlife-style guitar, which he learned with the help of P.K. Yamoah.

Ampadu would become the “single most important folk commentator in Ghana’s contemporary history,” according to Kwesi Yankah, forming the African Brothers Band with rhythm guitarist Eddie Donkor in 1963.

Using proverbs, witticisms and idioms, Ampadu’s songs often delivered moral lessons and social or political critiques. That was the case with the African Brothers Band’s breakout hit, 1967’s “Ebi Tie Ye” (“some live well”). Yankah described the song’s story this way:

“Once there was a meeting of all the animals to discuss the concerns of the animal world. All the animals were present, including Leopard and the orphan Antelope. It so happened that Leopard took a seat directly behind orphan Antelope and started mistreating him. He clawed Antelope's tail to the ground, making it impossible for him to actively participate in the discussion. No sooner would orphan Antelope begin to speak than Leopard would silence him, with a warning that the meeting was not meant for skinny creatures. The mistreatment went on until orphan Antelope could bear it no longer. He plucked up courage and made a loud plea to the presiding chairman. ‘Petition on the floor, point of order,’ he said. ‘Mr. Chairman, secretary, elders here assembled. I move for an immediate adjournment of the meeting, because some of us are not favorably positioned. Some are favorably, other are not.’ As soon as the meeting saw through the words of the Antelope, there was an immediate adjournment.”

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African Brothers International Band of Ghana led by Nana Ampadu
“Enyimba Di Naba”

Onipa nnse Hwe
Anibere Nye
Susu Manonye Wo De

Kwabena Amao
Kofi Nkrabea
Masis Maso

Recording Engineers: F. Kwakye J. Archer
Sound Mixer: F. Kwakye
Produced by John Uzoh and Justin Morah
Executive Production coordinator: R. Francis

Manufactured by: Makossa International Records, Inc. New York, New York
Distributed by: African Record Stores Ltd.


Rare African Vinyl is a project dedicated to honoring African artists who recorded music in the 1970s and 80s, and adding to the body of knowledge of this music online. If you are the artist who created any of the music on this channel, a family member or descendant of an artist, or have a personal connection to any of this music, we would love to speak with you. Please comment on the relevant video or email rareafricanvinyl@gmail.com. Requests to remove any content from YouTube by the original artist will be honored.

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