BORN IN THE CITY OF SEKONDI-TAKORADI IN THE WESTERN REGION OF GHANA, WEST AFRICA
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley exploded on the music scene in 1973 with a jazzy, funky, and soulful Highlife sound he called SIMIGWA-DO. Building his own Simigwa style, and leaving traces around the world, today the versatile, irrepressible and highly revered singer, composer, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and “musical-life-force” has 30 music albums to his credit. The last one, 11th Street, Sekondi, came out last year (Agogo Records, 2020), again recorded with his excellent Sekondi Band, he has also been touring internationally since 2019.
GYEDU-BLAY AMBOLLEY STARTED HIS CAREER IN THE 1960S.
Ambolley is revered as the Simigwahene in Ghana – The King of Simigwa-Highlife. Because of his deep, soulful, and funky Highlife sound, he is also sometimes referred to as the “James Brown of Ghana.” And not without reason. His blend of Highlife, Funk, Jazz, Soul, and proto-Rap was and is still exhilarating.
He learned music from outstanding artists like Sammy Larteh and Ebo Taylor, with whom he played In the Uhuru Dance Band. Together they founded the Apagya Show Band in 1974. Now, after more than 40 years active in music and his numerous albums, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley is a living legend, too. Apart from his new recordings, his classic songs feature on numerous trendy re-issues, from obscure ones like Afrodisiac to hip ones like Soundway, Mr Bongo, and Analog Africa. Analog Africa released a 12” vinyl in August 2018, containing four Afrofunk tracks by Ambolley. Mr Bongo has reissued 3 of Ambolleys classic albums, Simigwa, Ambolley, and Control in recent years.
Most Consistent Artist — Ghana (1980)
Album and Song of the Year — Ghana (1990)
Trend Music Awards — Ivory Coast (1997)
Africa-American History Award — MWEPC, Los Angeles, CA (2001)
Afrikan Music Award — Los Angeles, CA (2002)
Malcom X Music Festival Award — Los Angeles, CA (2002)
Lifetime Achievement Award — The Jazz at Drew from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA (2003)
Congressional, Gubernatorial Certificate of Special Recognition — Congresswoman Juanita Millinder McDonald (2003)
Best World Beat Recombinant Artist 2003 & Best World Beat Recombinant Artist 2003 L.A. Weekly nominated Ambolley for Best World Beat Recombinant Artist in 2003 and 2004