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Gyedu Blay Ambolley back in ‘simigwa’ force 7/16/2007
Back with a spanking new 14-track album after a seven-year absence from the local music scene is the man with the ‘Simigwa’ formula, the inimitable Gyedu Blay Ambolley!

It was in 1998 when he infected every singing lip in Ghana and around the world with his infectious ‘Rag’m zo’ rap. That number, filled many a dance floor and instituted Ambolley as a repository of good home grown music.

This week, he releases his brand new album, the 20th, on which he features his 4 and 6 year old grandchildren on one of the songs.

The ‘Next Generation’ which sees a few come backs, opens with an aptly remixed version of the song that started it all; the original ‘Simigwa Do’, the number that propelled the budding young Ambolley to great acclaim back in 1974.

Even today, the song is still refreshing and with new instrumentation, the tune is still extremely danceable! With its message still very relevant after all these years, ‘Cut Your Coat’ (according to your size) also gets a remake.

Also with a positive message advising our women to exude respect in order for it to be reciprocated, ‘Woman’s B’, a mellow eclectic number will definitely go down well with the mature crowd.

Years of jamming with seasoned musicians in Los Angeles where he has been domiciled for the past two decades, has made Gyedu Blay a more defined musician — the man plays more than five instruments, including the sax. And on this album, though he had

A great trumpeter as Mac Tontoh play on some of the songs, as well as other highly acclaimed musicians, he composed, arranged and produced all the songs, successfully and skilfully blending African percussion and American jazz.

Still combining elements of highlife and other genres, Ambolley’s experimentation has proved innovative with fresh melodies and music that is both pleasing to the ears, as it is to the feet.

Having performed on stage with some of the world’s most celebrated artistes including Mariam Makeba, the late Fela, George Howard, Norman Connors, Manu Dibango, Chikuzan Takahashi of Japan, Ricardo Estada of Cuba, George Duke, Oscar Brashear and many, many others, Ambolley is fulfilling his mission of bridging the gap between African music and music in the Diaspora.

His Fante version and energising rendition of the popular 50’s jazz tune ‘Round Midnight’ is a great testament to this.

And as if all the other thirteen songs on the album weren’t soul inspiring enough, he closes the journey with the jazz piece, ‘Round Midnight’ making the ‘Next Generation’ a classic must-have album.

Undisputedly the original ‘King of Afro Rap’, Blay Ambolley is back, and as usual will keep you singing along all the way to the dance floor.

Source: JIVE

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