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Ghana's Highlife Music Collection

E.K. Nyame


E.K. Nyame, Gethsemani (ca 1970)
E.K. Nyame (1927-1977)

Emmanuel Kofi Nyame was born on 24th December, 1927 at Kwahu Dukomang. At Adabraka Roman Catholic School in Accra, he was a drum major (leader of the school fife band), a choir boy as well as a member of the select church choir at Accra’s first Catholic Church. When he inherited a guitar belonging to a cousin who had been conscripted into the Second World War, he learn guitarist Appiah Agyekum’s style heard on the radio and, in 1947, he joined Appiah Agyekum’s Band.

Two years later, he left the band to form the E.K.’s Band. In 1952, the Band was selected to accompany Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, then Prime Minister of Ghana, to Liberia. The same year, E.K. formed a concert party trio and merged it with his guitar band, naming the new group the Akan Trio. Rather than follow the established concert party convention of using English-language songs imported from America and England, the Akan Trio did something that had never before been seen on concert party stages: they sang highlife songs in Akan that the band leader himself had composed.

In 1975, E.K. Nyame had recorded about 400 singles for companies like Decca, Queenophone and His Master’s Voice. E.K. Nyame died in August 1977. He was given a state funeral attended by ten thousand people.

Source: J. Collins, 1994; C.M. Cole, 2001.