Gyedu-Blay Ambolley has thrown a challenge to all 'hiplifers' including Reggie Rockstone. He said "When I returned from the states I heard many ï¿½hiplifersï¿½ including Lord Kenya, Obour, Reggie and a host of others doing wonderfully well but I want to throw a challenge to them, I am the best and first Ghanaian rapper. When we all converge on one stage, I will show them I came first, trust me.ï¿½
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, affectionately known as the "Simigwa Do Man", was born in the port city of Sekondi-Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana. The multi-talented, International, Ghanaian Musician celebrated his silver jubilee in music in 1998. This versatile, 'irrepressible' singer, songwriter, producer and "musical-life-force" exploded on the music scene thirty-five years ago with a jazzy highlife sounds called 'Simigwa Do'.
Ambolley's early years of musical 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 music training came at the age of fourteen under the apprenticeship of ï¿½Uncle Bonkuï¿½ who taught him how to play the guitar. The young music enthusiast continued to learn the rudiments of music from 'the late' Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor. Ambolley spent his early days listening to records of musicians living in the United States.
Ambolley's name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single was released in 1973. The bandleaders' talent was not limited to Ghana. Ambolley was 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 left Ghana for New York.
Ambolley's performance career is extensive. He has toured West Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States. He performed on the same stage with celebrated artists like the late 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 and Mayuto Correa of Brazil and toured Ghana with Oscar Brashear and Michael Session. His performances have left audiences raving and shouting for more, he has performed at the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. House of Blues in Hollywood and is a frequent performer at the Jazz Bakery in California.
He Returned to Ghana in 1997, Ambolley was honoured with a standing ovation from former President J.J. Rawlings and the first lady, Nana Konadu at Ghana Awards Nite in 1997. He was recently honored by the Mayor and Governor of California and also received a prestigious award from the US Congress for his contribution towards music and jazz in particular. Ambolley has 18 albums to his credit. His last album is titled ï¿½Next Generation.ï¿½
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