Thursday, December 20, 2007

This One's For You, Jamie Lynn

(Note: This post was updated on December 21, 2007.)

The African Brothers Band International, led by Nana Kwame Ampadu I, are a Ghanaian institution, having been in existence since 1963, and have upheld the Guitar Highlife standard through assorted fads and vicissitudes. They are distinguished not only by their professionalism and innovation, but their lyrics, which often address social problems, as in this selection:

African Brothers Band - Teenage Pregnancy

I haven't heard much from the Brothers lately, but I believe they're still plugging away. "Teenage Pregnancy" is from their early '90s cassette release, Kukrukukru (Akuboat Music).

After first posting this, and listening to the African Brothers for the first time in a number of years, I realized once again how much I enjoyed their down-home vocals and simple, unaffected stylings. The Brothers are not unknown to African music fans who've been around for awhile. Several of their LPs were released by Makossa Records in the U.S. during the '70s and '80s, as was Me Poma
(Sterns 1004) in the U.K. in 1984. These are now all long out of print.

Here are two more African Brothers tracks, both from Tunes to Remember (Akuboat CAB 029), a "Greatest Hits" CD issued around 1992:

African Brothers Band International - Somu Gye W'akrantee Ntoaso

African Brothers Band International - Yenwiee Abrabo


Dr.Frank said...

I bought this cassette in Ghana in 1991 I think, it was quite popular. I don't think the African Brothers still exist, in the mid 90s Ampadu anounced that he was quitting music and he started working as a contractor. Later he heard the call of God, started preaching and established his own church (not something strange in Ghana...). But suddenly last year I heard that he was coming to play in Holland although not with the African Brothers. I don't know how that concert was and which musicians came with him.
Anyway, Kukrukukru must have been one of his latest or maybe the last album he has recorded.

John B. said...

Interesting. . . A surprising number of African musicians lately have "gotten religion" and dropped out of the music biz or make Cristian music exclusively . . . Sonny Okosun, Ebenezer Obey, Remmy Ongala, to name just a few. I wonder what's going on?

Dave said...

Nana Ampadu now has his own website:

He has some CDs available for sale there.