Nana Kwame Ampadu was born and raised in the town of Obo in the Kwahu area of Ghana’s Eastern Region. At fifteen years of age, he joined Yamoah’s band where he played the ‘clips’ (also known as Claves) and learned to play the acoustic or ‘box’ guitar.
3 years later in 1963, the African Brothers were formed by Nana Ampadu, his older brother Rover Amo Kofi Ampadu, Eddie Donko, Kwame Anim, Yaw Asante and Kwadwo Ofori with the bass player ‘Joe Dee’ Kwabena Appiah and singer Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku coming in a bit later.
The group chose the name in appreciation of President Nkrumah’s efforts in forming the Organisation of African Unity. The group went professional in 1966 becoming the resident band of the Ambassador Gardens Hotel in Kumasi and they began recording songs for GFC (Ghana Films Corporation).
A few of Nana Ampadu’s greatest hits then we're ‘Okwaduo’, ‘Nkran Abrabo’ and particularly ‘Ebi tie Ye’ released in 1967. Ampadu, like so many concert musicians of the time, found it difficult to operate in Ghana during the early/mid-1980s due to military curfews and economic hardships. However, he managed to record albums like ‘Ene Eye Mane Me’ and ‘Agatha’ and often played outside of Ghana.
Research and Written by Paulina Nkansah
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.
Owusu, K. and Mazzoleni, F., 2012. Ghana Highlife music. [Pantin]: Le Castor Astral.