He has been around for more than four decades but Highlife artiste Gyedu-Blay Ambolley can still rock the stage like he used to as a young man.
And the veteran musician attributes his longevity to learning everything he could from his seniors before becoming a full-time musician.
In a recent interview with Graphic Showbiz at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley said the new crop of musicians were not learning from the veterans and that’s why their songs and stage performances were not the best.
“In my time, I learnt from the best musicians and made sure I got everything right before doing music professionally but that is not what is happening today.
"The new crop of musicians are not learning from some of us and it is so sad; they enter the studio and the next minute, they are out with a song.
“Now anyone at all is a musician because of a computer fine-tuning voices to sound good. There is no proper stagecraft because musicians lately don’t learn anything,” he said.
He explained that he is always improving on his stagecraft by learning from others and clocking a lot of rehearsal hours. “I can perform for hours without getting tired because of constant rehearsals and adding new styles to the things I do on stage,” he said.
According to Ambolley, many of the veteran musicians, including himself, are there to teach the young ones if they approach them.
He also advised the new crop of musicians to do authentic Highlife music because it is the only genre that represents Ghana.
“I have always said that Dancehall and the other genres will not take us anywhere. They were copied from elsewhere but Highlife is the true authentic music we have and we must hold it in high esteem,” he said.
Known for songs such as Akoko Ba, The Simigwa, Adwoa, Fa No Dem Ara, Kwaakwaa, Toffie, Bolga Besia, Ejuma among others, Ambolley has performed extensively in Ghana and abroad.
He has won a number of awards, including Most Consistent Artist — Ghana (1980), Album and Song of the Year — Ghana (1990), Africa-American History Award — MWEPC, Los Angeles (2001), Afrikan Music Award — Los Angeles (2002) and Malcolm X Music Festival Award — Los Angeles (2002) and Lifetime Achievement Award — The Jazz at Drew from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles (2003).
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