Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, known in Ghana as the Simigwahene ("The King of Simigwa-Highlife"), is sometimes also referred to as the “James Brown of Ghana.” And not without reason. With his deep and groovy Afrofunk sound, that he called Simigwa-do, he exploded on the Ghanaian music scene in 1973. His concoction of Highlife, Funk, Jazz, Soul and proto-rap was and still is exhilarating.
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley started in the sixties in the Uhuru Dance Band, and learned music from outstanding artists like Ebo Taylor, with whom he founded The Apagya Show Band in 1974. Now, after more than 40 years and 30 albums, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley is a living legend, too. He figures on numerous trendy re-issues, from obscure ones like Afrodisiac to hip ones like Soundway and Analog Africa. Analog Africa recently released a 12” vinyl of Ambolley's August 2018 containing four Afrofunk tracks by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, including his highly Afrospiritual track "The Message."
Long awaited, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley is now touring Europe for the first time with his own, very powerful group: the Sekondi Band. They’ve been playing together for over seven years. In November 2019 he released on Agogo Records a brand new album, released entitled '11th Street, Sekondi'. On the album, named after the area of West Ghana where he grew up, Ambolley looks back at the area and musical styles that shaped his life.
“Another personal favorite is Gyedu Blay Ambolley "Simigwado", a strange tune built on a funky vamp that veers into spoken word passages (I'm not sure of the language) where Ambolley's flow picks up the rhythmic momentum and becomes the song's primary driving force.”
Joe Tangari in Pitchfork
“Ambolley is the quintessence of the cliché about fine wine getting better with time. I can swear the legend has vampire blood running down his veins. Pictures I stumbled upon whilst looking him up prove he is indeed growing younger.”
Philip Edusei in unorthodoxreviews