Ambolley Will Be Back
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, Ghana?s first rap artiste, has been totally absent from the music scene. The good news is that the ?Simigwa Do? man will be back.
He is re-tracing his steps slowly back to Ghana, and lately he has been seen on stage, an indication that he?ll be back to put fire into the highlife scene that has not seen any revival lately.
This versatile, irrepressible singer, songwriter, producer and "musical-life-force" exploded on the music scene twenty-five years ago with a jazzy highlife sounds called ?SIMIGWA-DO?.
Ambolley?s early years of music interest dates back to the age of eight, when he began playing with his father?s flute until he was able to teach himself how to play.
His formal musical training came at the age of fourteen under the apprenticeship of "Uncle Bonku" who taught him the guitar.
The young music enthusiast continued to learn the rudiments of music from the late Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor.
Ambolley spent a great part of his day listening to records of musicians living in the United States.
He attributes his free style of singing to such mentors as James Brown, Ray Charles, and ?the late? Sam Cook. During the sixties.
The young aspiring musician was excitingly impressed with the music heard on the popular radio show, "Voice of America Jazz Hour," in the 1960s.
The sixties show featured such jazz giants as Jimmy Smith, Max Roach, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Eckstine.. all became part of Ambolley?s early musical experience.
Ambolley?s name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single was released in 1973.
Since that hit, he has led many bands including his own in 1979-80. The band leaders? talent was not limited to Ghana.
Ambolley was invited to London where he performed to "standing room only" crowds.
It was time for the ambitious musician to test his musical abilities elsewhere.
In 1988, Ambolley left Ghana and arrived in New York (U.S.A.). Ambolley?s performance career is extensive. He has toured West Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States.
He has performed on the same stage with some of the world?s most celebrated artists, such as Miriam Makeba of South Africa, the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti of Nigeria, the late George Howard,Angela Bofill, Norman Connors, Manu DeBango, Lakeside, Chikuzan Takahashi of Japan, Ricardo Estrada of Cuba, Mayuto Correa of Brazil and toured Ghana with Oscar Brashear and Michael Session.
Because of his originality, his performances have left audiences raving and shouting for more, as was the case at the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York.
He has played in the House of Blues in Hollywood, is a frequent performer at the Jazz Bakery in California and has played to "standing room only" crowds in London, England.
Returning to Ghana in 1997, Ambolley was honoured with a standing ovation from former President,J.J. Rawlings and the first lady at Ghana?s Music Awards Nite.
Ambolley has seventeen albums to his credit and has received numerous musical awards.
In October 2003, Ambolley was prestigiously recognised for his commitment to the musical craft with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by Jazz at Drew from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA. Additionally he received a Congressional,Gubernatorial Certificate of Special Recognition by Cogresswoman Juanita Millinder McDonald.
Also L.A.Weekly nominated Ambolley for "Best World Beat Recombinant Artists" ? 2003.
It has been said that "the genre on Ambolley?s music is entertainingly elevating and spiritually inescapable, such that its uniqueness transcends all musical categories.