10388188_394781Born in 1947 in Sekondi in Western Ghana, singer, songwriter, producer, interpreter, multi-instrumentalist, inventor of rap music and “afrofunk-legend” Nana Gyedu-Blay Ambolley made his name the Simigwa Do Man, when he unleashed his unique brand of Simigwa music on an eager yet unsuspecting world in the 70’s with the release of this, his Simigwa Do, fusing high-life and funk music…

This versatile, irrepressible “musical-life-force” exploded on the music scene more than forty years ago with the factual first rap song in the world called ‘SIMIGWA-DO’. Since that hit, he has lead many bands including his own in 1979-80. Ambolley celebrated his “Silver Jubilee” in music in 1998.

Ambolley’s early years of musical interest date back to the tender age of eight, when he began playing with his father’s flute until he had taught himself how to play it. His formal musical training came at the age of fourteen under the apprenticeship of “Uncle Bonku” who then introduced him to the guitar. The young music enthusiast continued to learn the rudiments of music from the late’ Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor.

Young Ambolley on the bass

Young Ambolley on the bass

Ambolley spend a great part of his day listening to records of musicians living in the United States. He contributes 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 he heard on the popular radio show, “Voice of America Jazz Hour.” The 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 and many others.. they all became part of Ambolley’s early musical experience.

The band leaders’ talent was not limited to Ghana. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley was soon invited to London where he performed to “standing room only” crowds. Having experienced success in his own country, as well as London, it was time for the ambitious musician to test his musical abilities elsewhere. In 1988, Ambolley arrived in New York City (U.S.A.).

DI4YqJTGAmbolley’s performance career is extensive and impressive. He has toured throughout West Afrika, Europe, Canada, and the United States.

He has performed on stage with some of the worlds most celebrated african and international artists, such as Miriam Makeba of South Afrika, 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 Theater in Harlem, New York.

Ambolley has played the House of Blues in Hollywood, was 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 honored with a standing ovation from the former President of Ghana, John Jerry Rawlings and the first lady at Ghana’s Music Awards Nite.

Ambolley

In October of 2003 Ambolley was prestigiously recognized for his commitment to his 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.

Still very active on stage, in his studio and elsewhere ;), Gyedu-Blay Ambolley has received uncounted musical awards and has twenty nine albums to his credit with album no. 30 well on its way…

It has been said that “Ambolley’s music is entertaining, elevating and spiritually inescapable, such that its uniqueness transcends all musical categories”..

Click here to check out his latest album “African Soul”

Year Title Label Cat# Country Medium
1973 Simigwa Essiebons EBL 6133 Ghana LP, Album
1975 The Simigwahene
1980 Ambolley and his Zantoda Mc 111 Orbitone records
1982 Ambolley Wea International WIC 5040 South Africa LP, Album
1985 Cut Your Coat Ambolley Production 66.23836 Germany LP, Album
1986 Apple Sunrise Records (9) SRS 022 UK Vinyl, LP, Album
1989 Gyedu-Blay Ambolley Simigwa Records SG-06-902 Ghana Vinyl, LP, Album
1989 Bend Down Low – Party Time! Simigwa Records SG-06-901 Ghana Vinyl, LP, Album
1995 Warrior of Afrikan Music
1996 Son Of Ghana Simigwa Records GBA20002 USA CD, Album
1997 The Sekondi Man Simigwa Records N.a. Canada CD, Album
2001 Afrikan Jaazz: A New Sound in Town Simigwa Records GHA171 USA CD, Album
2003 Simi Rap
2004 Jaazz Meets Hi-Life
2005 Natural Points / Fa No Dem Ara Afrodisiac Records AR03 US Vinyl, 12″
2010 Simigwa Dix Records EBL 6133 France LP, Unofficial
2010 The Next Generation
2012 Mumunde Hippo Records HIP 013V Netherlands Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Single
2012 Simigwa Academy LPs, Voodoo Funk ACD-007 US CD, Album, RE, RM, Ltd
2012 Simigwa Academy LPs, Voodoo Funk ALP-007 US LP, Album, Ltd, RE, RM
2012 Sekunde HIP 015CD Netherlands CD, Album
2013 The Sekondi Man
2013 Party Time
2014 Different shades of Ambolley
2015 African Soul
Young Ambolley
Ambolley on Stage
Ambolley and Friends

Watch AMBOLLEY

Full performance of Gyedu-Blay Ambolley @ African Legends Night 2015.

Ghana Funk Project ft. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley at Haarlem Jazz 2010 performing various tracks from the Essiebons compilation live.

AUTOGRAPH Show on Cine Afrik – Interview With Gyedu Blay Ambolley (Apr 18, 2013)

A celebrity interview show that takes viewers on a journey deep into the world of their stars, icons and role models. It examines their motivations, work and private lives and how they have influenced new trends and ideas.

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Angelyn Macauley AkweteyAngelyn Macauley Akwetey from Accra wrote on August 6, 2016 at 1:49 pm:
I'm a teenager who has loved his music, voice and character since childhood. I'm entering the music industry and need this legend as my mentor. I know he's willing to share his knowledge. I'm also willing to listen
Victor Osei-BoakyeVictor Osei-Boakye from Philadelphia / Harleysville wrote on June 19, 2016 at 4:58 am:
I first saw Mr. Gyedu Blay Ambolley in the late 60's in Sekondi. He is a nice gentleman. I served in the Ghana Navy together with his brother and sailed together in the same fleet to Gibraltar in 1966. As a long-time resident of Sekunde / Takoradi, I have grown to like his peculiar brand of High-Life Music. Keep it up Sekunde man! HRRRR,.. KWAGYE!
Nana Yaw Ofori KorantengNana Yaw Ofori Koranteng from Willowbrook, IL wrote on May 15, 2016 at 5:13 pm:
As far back as the early 1970's when I encountered Gyedu Blay Ambolley, at a pop-chain, I knew he was here to stay. His style of music, his showmanship and above all his humility still stands out as best among all the rest. Keep doing what you do, "Simigwa Man". We love you.
DarlingtonDarlington from Accra wrote on May 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm:
Ambolley the best among the rest. You really inspire us with your tunes. Keep up the good work bro. Gh. Solidly behind you.

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