The name Blay Ambolley and his Sekondi Highlife Band are synonymous with African highlife music. His latest release, Ketan is his thirtieth release. That’s right we said thirtieth, and still going strong. A self taught musician, this young boy from Ghana has come a long way and so has the music he would help pioneer. From the first notes on his father’s flute to being influenced by American jazz greats such as Jimmy Smith, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and more, to learning music from African notables such as Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor, Ambolley continued to build up his musical arsenal and forge his own career path. Blasting on to the music scene in 1973 touting his jazzy highlife sound called ‘SIMIGWA-DO’, he has never looked back. He would go on to share the stage with many pioneers. From Fela Kuti to Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, and more, his career has been long and successful. Two tracks from his latest, Ketan, have been set out to stream, and both do not disappoint at all. “Afrika Yie” is a ploy for Africans to wake up, get up, and stand up for your rights. A call to arms to rise up, all set to his signature sound. Plenty horns g’wan, and by the time he yells “Give me the juice!”, the guitars kick in as you are already lost in a frenzy of his African musical bliss. ” Simigwa-Do” combines his classic jazzy highlife back beat with Blay’s vocal stylings. The result is a stepper that will have you out of your seat and dancing in no time. Even if you can’t dance, Ambolley shows you how to get it done. Whether this is an introduction to the man and his music, or you are a seasoned vet of the highlife sound, these two tracks bring the heat. It’s a long way from 1973, but Ambolley is still blazing. He still has it, and now thirty records deep, shows no signs of slowing down. Check out both tracks below:
Pre-Order the record, out May 12th here.