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Dr. K. Gyasi & His Noble Kings

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Young Dr. K Gyasi (

Kwame Gyasi was born 1929 in Ankaase in the Ashanti Region. Growing up Gyasi was taught the ‘Odonson’ style of Palm-wine guitar highlife alongside calypso by a close family member. Gyasi also learnt a lot from the Accra based band formed by Appiah Adjekum.

Gyasi recorded his first song entitled ‘Me Dua Koo A Mmoa Awe’ (the seed I planted have been destroyed) in 1952. Gyasi had a good relationship with President Nkrumah and joined him on his travels throughout western and eastern Europe. However, on one occasion Nkrumah was unhappy with him for one his songs, ‘Agyimah Mansah’ released in 1964 about a ghost mother lamenting the plight of her children. Nkrumah personally challenged Gyasi about the lyrics, even though Gyasi claimed that is was based on a dream and were not a political reflection of ‘Mother Ghana’ on the sorry state of the nation.

Gyasi’s also formed a band called Noble Kings in which they played both a guitar band and concert party style Highlife. They were also one of the first to use electronic keyboards, played initially by Ernest Honey (or Honney). Then in 1974, Gyasi released his ‘Sikyi-highlife’ album (on the Esseibones label) of almost an hour of his own non-stop masterpiece of minor-key highlife.

Gyasi also passed through Oko’s guitar band and worked with K. Frimpong (born 1939 in Ashanti-Akim) to release famous hits like ‘Nku Me Fie’, ‘Amanfo Mo Kyiri Me’, ‘Kyenkyen Bi Adi M’Awu’ and ‘Hwehwe Mu Na Yi Wo Mpena’. Dr Gyasi lived in Kumasi in the later years of his life and occasionally made public appearances until he death in 2012.


  • Collins, J., 2018. Highlife Time 3. 3rd ed. Accra: DAkpabli & Associates.

  • Collins, J., 2017. Highlife Giants. Cassava Republic Press.

  • Oti, S., 2009. Highlife music in West Africa. Lagos, Nigeria: Malthouse Press.

Researched and Written by Paulina Nkansah

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