5 veteran Ghanaian musicians who you must know about

Estimated read time 5 min read

Ghana is celebrating heritage month and we continue to bring out some facts about the nation that just turned 66 years this month. Music is life. Music is food for the soul. Ghana has been blessed with so much talent in music. In no order, we bring to you five veteran Ghanaian musicians who trailblazed the industry and are patrons of our music history.

E.T. Mensah

E.T. Mensah - veteran Ghanaian musician

Emmanuel Tettey Mensah, born on May 31, 1919, is one of the pioneers of Ghanaian music and a highlife legend by all standards. he learned how to play the flute while in school and later added piccolo to it and was a member of the Accra Orchestra. E.T. Mensah and his elder brother Yebuah Mensah formed the Accra Rhythmic Orchestra and won the Lambeth Walk Dance Competition in 1939 at the King George Memorial Hall. He is noted in Ghana and labeled the “King of Highlife” for his influence on the genre. Mensah performed with legendary American trumpeter Louis Armstrong. He and the Tempos band entertained Ghanaians and made a name with Highlife music while creating a name for the genre both locally and internationally.

Amakye Dede

Amakye Dede - veteran Ghanaian musician

Daniel Amakye Dede, also known as the Iron Boy is a celebrated Ghanaian veteran musician that has entertained Ghanaians with music since 1973. The 1958-born singer, vocalist, and songwriter is a highlife veteran Ghanaian and has made at least 20 albums. He joined the Kumapim Royals in 1973 as a composer and vocalist; launching his career in the process. He later formed his own band, the Appollo High Kings in 1980 and dominated the highlife genre between the 1980s and 1990s. Though famed for highlife, Amakye Dede is a multi-genre artist with works in pop music, rock music, and soca. Some of his popular songs include Mefre wo, Okyena sesei, Odo nfonii, Nka akyi, M’ani agyina, To be a man na war, and Iron Boy.

Nana Ampadu

Nana Ampadu - veteran Ghanaian musician

Nana Ampadu is a veteran Ghanaian musician who is known for several highlife hit songs. Born in 1945, Nana Ampadu, also known as Odwontofoohene. He has composed over 800 songs including the Operation Feed Yourself themed song which was a programme under the military-led National Redemption Council leadership of the country. Founder of the African Brothers Band, Nana Ampadu was the lead singer and composer for the band. He is the recipient of several awards including the Grand Medal of the Volta Civil Division in 1977 and Odwontofoohene by the Arts Council of Ghana in 1973 has been active in the industry since the 1960s. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern Ghanaian music. Some of his songs in include Sanbra, Wope Me A Ka, Mene Wo Beye I & II, Obra Twa Owuo, and Obia Ba Nye.

Daddy Lumba

Daddy Lumba - veteran Ghanaian musician

Born Charles Kwadwo Fosuh, Daddy Lumba as he is popularly known is a veteran Ghanaian musician whose music career started at the tender age of 16. He formed the Lumba Brothers group with his friends Yaw and Kwabena and his girlfriend Theresa Abebrese while at school in Juaben Senior High School. He is known for his unique blend of highlife, hiplife, and gospel music and has released several albums. He has credited Nana Acheampong, another of Ghana’s veteran musicians for introducing him to highlife music when the duo met in Germany where Lumba traveled to seek greener pastures. Before then he was noted for doing gospel songs. Daddy Lumba has released over 30 albums including Aben Wɔha, Awosuɔ, Obi Ate Me So Buɔ, Sika Asɛm, and Ebi Se Ɛyɛ Aduro and has won several awards for his contributions to the music industry in Ghana. Some of the awards include the Ghana Music Awards Artist of the Year, Best Album of the Year, and Most Popular Song of the Year in 2000 and the Contemporary Highlife Artist, Contemporary Highlife Song, and Contemporary Highlife Album in 2003.

Kojo Antwi

Kojo Antwi - veteran Ghanaian musician

Kojo Antwi, also known as Mr Music Man is a veteran Ghanaian musician with over 20 music albums. He is a former chairman of GHAMRO. Kojo Antwi’s music is a blend of highlife, Congolese soukous, Caribbean lovers rock, and African American soul and R&B. He has been active in the industry since the 1980s and aside from being a singer is also a record producer. Some of his albums include All I Need Is You (1986) Anokye (1989) Mr. Music Man (1992) Groovy (1994) To Mother Afrika (1995) and Don’t Stop the Music (2000). is known for his unique blend of highlife, soul, and reggae music and has released several albums over the years. Kojo Antwi has won several awards including the West Africa Tourism Award, All Africa Music Awards, and Kora Award.

In conclusion, these are five veteran musicians that have made significant contributions to the growth and development of Ghana’s music industry. The list is not exhaustive and we have other great names such as Nana Acheampong, Emmanuel Kofi Nyame, Jewel Ackwah, Osibisa, and A.B. Crenstil among others.

Music in Ghana continues to thrive with several other budding stars and living legends making huge strikes in different genres. We continue to celebrate them all and may God bless the homeland.

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