The good works of highlife musician Gyadu Blay Ambolley has attracted the attention of the international community.
Consequently, the City of Philadelphia has awarded the lyricist and saxophonist for his immense contribution towards highlife music in the Diaspora.
Prior to receiving the special award, the Ghanaian musician was interviewed on Voice Of America (VOA) on what goes into his music, in particular, and highlife in general and what has kept him in business spanning for over three decades.
Earlier, the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC also awarded Ambolley for his consistency in portraying highlife and his style of music across the ocean.
He said in an interview that “this is a clear testimony that whatever one does, there is somebody or an institution somewhere monitoring.
Most definitely, it will urge me on to keep going, I feel honoured and great, I am most grateful for the recognition.”
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley is a Ghanaian highlife musician, songwriter, producer, and composer. The first musician from Ghana to formally incorporate rap forms into local highlife rhythms, Ambolley created the musical genre ‘Simigwa’.
Ambolley’s sound has led many to label him the godfather of hiplife, the fusion of the hip-hop and highlife idioms. Ambolley stood aside AL Threats at the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
Ambolley, Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor are the few musicians who envisioned a future for highlife music in the late 60s and early 70s and helped transform the genre, fusing highlife, funk and jazz music.
In June 2015, Ambolley received a citation in the USA from the City Council of Philadelphia, read by Council woman, Hon Jannie Blackwell, and Hon Stanley J. Staughter in recognition of the musician’s contributions to Ghanaian music in the USA.