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Ghana's Highlife Music Collection

Jacob Sam


Jacob Sam & Kumasi 3, vol. 2 1928 (1995)
Kwame Asare (Jacob Sam) (1903-1950s)

Kwame Asare (Jacob Sam) was born in 1903 in Cape Coast. The first highlife guitarist was taught the guitar by a Kru Liberian seaman. His famous guitar style came from the two finger technique of playing the seprewa, a traditional harp-lute. Asare was trained as a goldsmith and he moved to Kumasi where he formed the Kumasi Trio.

Kwame Asare recorded the first Ghanaian highlife music known as “Yaa Amponsah”, now considered a guitar-band highlife classic, on the Zonophone Label in London in 1928 on their EZ series. Later he recorded for His Master’s Voice on their JZ series under the name of “Kwamin”. The 1928 recordings were in the Fante language. Kwame Asare died in the 1950s.

Source: J. Collins, 1994, p.7-9;