1975 was the year ‘Simigwa’ by the legendary Gyedu-Blay Ambolley saw its release. From that moment on, ‘simigwa-do’ saw the light of day, which is a Ghanaian mix of afrofunk, soul and jazz. Ambolley’s raw and groovy tunes are very African, but are also strongly influenced by classic American soul and funk. This gave him the impressive reputation of being the Ghanaian James Brown. For this concert he brings his super tight Sekondi Band from Ghana with him, who he’s been playing with for about seven years. Together they released an album called ‘Ketan’ (2017) on Agogo Records.

The Legendary Gyedu Blay Ambolley from Ghana, West Africa has 30 albums to his credit. His 30th album was released in May 2017 by Agogo Records in Germany and having lots of wonderful reviews across board.  Ambolley, affectionately known as the “Simigwa Do Man”, was born in the port city of Sekondi-Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana, West Africa. The multi-talented, International, Ghanaian Musician celebrated his “Silver Jubilee” in music in 1998.  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 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.  This versatile, irrepressible singer, songwriter, producer and “musical-life-force” exploded on the music scene since 1973 with a jazzy highlife sounds called ‘SIMIGWA-DO’. Ambolley’s name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single was released in 1973 and that was the first ever recorded rap music commercially in the world before the Sugar Hill Gang in America.
Ambolley spent 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 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.  He has toured throughout West Afrika, Europe, Canada, and the United States.

Ambolley has received numerous prestigeous accolades/awards. Installed by Nana Kobina Nketsia of Essikado, Sekondi as Nana Gyedu Blay Ambolley, King of Simigwa music in Sekondi in the Western Region of Ghana. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award – Ghana Music Awards by Vodaphone 2013.  In 2006, Gubernatorial Recognition Award from the Governor of California as well as an award from the Mayor of California, Board of Supervisors and the City Council of the State of California.  He also received a “Congressional Recognition Award’ from the United States Congress.   Additionally he received a Congressional,Gubernatorial Certificate of Special Recognition by Congresswoman Juanita Millinder McDonald.   In October of 2003 Ambolley was prestigiously recognized for his commitment to his musical craft with a “Lifetime Achievement Musical Award” and then Inducted into the “Jazz at Drew Music Hall of Fame” at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA.   Also L.A.Weekly nominated Ambolley for “Best World Beat Recombinant Artists”-2003.  It has been said that “the genre on Ambolley’s music in entertainingly elevating and spiritually inescapable, such that its uniqueness transcends all musical categories.  He has performed on the same stage with some of the world’s most celebrated artistes such as; the late 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. He has played the Playboy Jazz Festival, the House of Blues in Hollywood, the Jazz Bakery in California and has played to a”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.

Blay Ambolley "Teacher"
Gyedu Blay Ambolley & His Sekondi Band in Amsterdam