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J.J Rawlings Contributed To The Collapse of Ghana’s Live Band Music – Gyedu-Blay Amboley

Live Band Music was the icing on the cake in the 80s where musicians with the help of instrumentalists perform their music live without miming as it’s paramount among our current crop of musicians in Ghana.

In those days, you can talk about “Kumapim Royals International Band” owned by the late Akwasi Ampofo Adjei, “African Brothers Band” owned by Nana Kwame Ampadu, etc. The standard of Ghana Music in those days – (80s) was very high and nothing but the best.

However, the 21st Century Ghanaian artiste embraces miming over a record with the aid of a Disc Jockey (DJ) compared to the 80s where live band was the icing on the cake. Simply put, DJs have dominated the entertainment arena to the extent that live band shows sometimes have DJs on standby.

Now, the frequently asked questions is that if ‘Live Band’ music was the heartbeat of the Ghanaian in the 80s, why is it that the people’s favorite has been relegated to the background? A question which has finally been answered by Gyedu-Blay Amboley, the self-professed originator of Ghana’s Hiplife.

Surprisingly, Gyedu-Blay Amboley blamed former president Jerry John Rawlings as the causative agent of the deteriorating state of Ghana’s ‘Live Band’ music. According to him, Disc Jockeys (DJs) took over the music scene during the era of Jerry John Rawlings leading to the virtual collapse of live band music in Ghana. This is because his administration was characterized by coup d’état.

“We work throughout the night and if by six o’clock we had to be indoors then it means no food on the table so many of them [the musicians] started travelling to Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Europe.

“That was when the spinners [DJs] came in. When the curfew was lifted, no bands were home….Ghanaians started loving [Disc Jockeying]; they were playing music that had already been mixed.

“The sound was good and strong. The bands started coming back but didn’t have good instruments to be able to sound like the spinners”, Gyedu-Blay Amboley revealed.

He concluded that the long silence of musicians who performed Live Band music led to the rapid rise of Disc Jockeying in Ghana. Nonetheless, Gyedu Amboley shared his sentiment on the collapse of Ghana’s live band when he made an appearance on Joy FM’s entertainment analysis program, Showbiz A-Z hosted by Naa Ashorkor. The segment was geared towards why Ghanaian music has lost its supremacy to Nigerian music.


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