The Legendary Gyedu Blay Ambolley from Ghana, West Africa and his Sekondi Band has 29 music albums to his credit. The most recent album “The African Soul “was released in 2015 and still remains a hit for Highlife/Afro/Jazz dance music fans around
Ambolley was born in the city of Sekondi-Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana, in West Africa.
The multi-talented, International, Ghanaian Musician celebrated his “Silver Jubilee” in music in 1998. Ambolley taught himself to play the flute as a first instrument in his early years of musical interest dating back to the age of eight, when he began playing with his father’s flute. His formal musical training came at the age of fourteen under the apprenticeship of “Uncle Bonku” who taught him to play the guitar. The young music enthusiast continued to learn the rudiments of music from the late’ Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor.
This versatile, irrepressible singer, songwriter, producer and “musical-life-force” exploded on the music scene in 1973 with a jazzy highlife sound called ‘SIMIGWA-DO’.
During the sixties, the young aspiring musician was impressed with the music he heard on the popular radio show, “Voice of America Jazz Hour.” That 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 of whom became part of Ambolley’s early musical experience.
He has toured throughout West Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States and has performed on the same stage with some of the world’s most celebrated artistes 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 in 1992. He has played the House of Blues in Hollywood, and was a frequent performer at the Jazz Bakery in California, as well as a performance at the Playboy Jazz festival.
Ambolley has performed to a packed jammed “standing room only” crowds in London, England.
Returning to Ghana in 1997, Ambolley was honored with a standing ovation from his former President, J.J. Rawlings and the first lady at Ghana’s Music Awards Nite.
The celebrated musician has received numerous prestigious awards including the following:
- A Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition by Congresswoman Juanita Millinder McDonald.
- A lifetime achievement award and Inducted into the music hall of fame by Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and
Science in California.
- In 2006, he received Awards from both the Governor of California and the Mayor of California,
- In 2006, the popular Los Angeles, newspaper,”L.A.Weekly”, in California, nominated
GyeduBlay Ambolley for “Best World Beat Recombinant Artists”.
- An award from the Board of Supervisors and the City Council of the State of California for bridging the gap between Africa and African American music. VIn 2013, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Ghana Music Awards.
- In June 2016 the City Of Philadelphia awarded Ambolley for his contributions toward
Hi-life music in the Diaspora and also awarded in the same month by the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC for introducing the first ever commercially recorded rap style of music in 1973 and not the Sugar Hill Gang as the Guinness book of record says.
- Gyedu-Blay Ambolley has crafted the ability to combine a unique sound and melody with funny lyrics and dancing to his music as is well documented that “the genre of his music is entertainingly elevating and spiritually inescapable”, such that its uniqueness transcends all musical categories.