Osibisa

Osibisa

In Ghana in the 1950s, Teddy Osei (saxophone) and Sol Amarfio (drums) played in a highlife band called The Star Gazers. They left to form The Comets, with Osei's brother Mac Tontoh on trumpet, and scored a hit in West Africa with their 1958 song "Pete Pete." In 1962 Osei moved to London to study music on a scholarship from the Ghanaian government. In 1964 he formed Cat's Paw, an early "world music" band that combined highlife, rock and soul. In 1969 he persuaded Amarfio and Tontoh to join him in London, and Osibisa was born. Joining them in the first incarnation were Grenadian Spartacus R (bass); Trinidadian Robert Bailey (keyboard); Antiguan Wendell Richardson (lead guitar); and Nigerian Lasisi Amao (percussionist and tenor saxophone). Their music is a fusion of African, Caribbean, jazz, rock, Latin and R&B.

The band spent much of the 1970s touring the world, playing to large audiences in Japan, Australia, India and Africa. During this time Ghanaians Darko Adams 'Potato' (died 1995) and Kiki Djan (died 2004) were also members of the band. In 1980 Osibisa performed at a special Zimbabwean independence celebration, and in 1983 were filmed onstage at the Marquee Club in London. Changes in the music industry however (punk and disco primarily) meant declining sales for the band, and a series of label changes resulted. The band returned to Ghana to set up a recording studio and theatre complex to help younger highlife musicians.[2] In the 1990s their music was widely anthologized in many collections, most of them paying no royalties whatsoever to the band.[3]

In 1996 Osei reformed the band, and many of their past releases began coming out on CD. The band remains active in 2009, although Osei has cut back his touring schedule due to the effects of a stroke.[4]

Many of Osibisa's works are highly danceable. A fair comparison would be to Earth, Wind, & Fire from the USA, but with a “world” flair. Both groups feature highly complicated and sophisticated dance music with Afro-Caribbean bass-drum grooves and dynamic horn charts (example: Ojah Awake), and both groups could be criticized as “insipid disco” on titles which seek a more commercial appeal (example: Dance the Body Music, Lets Do It).

The name Osibisa was described by the band members as meaning "criss cross rhythms that explode with happiness" but it actually comes from "osibisaba" the Fante word for highlife.[5][6] Their style influenced many of the emerging African musicians of the time.
Grup members:
* Saxophone — Teddy Osei
* Trumpet — Colin Graham
* Percussion, Congas — Kofi Ayivor
* Drums — Sol Amarfio
* Keyboards — Bessa Simons, Kwame Yeboah, Chris Jerome
* Guitars — Kari Bannerman, Gregg Kofi Brown
* Bass Guitar — Victor Mensah, Gregg Kofi Brown

Woyaya Woyaya 1971
Osibisa Osibisa 1971
Heads Heads 1972
Superfly 1973
Best Of Osibisa 1973
Happy Children Happy Children 1973
Osibirock Osibirock 1974
Ojak Awake Ojak Awake 1976
Welcome Home Welcome Home 1977
Black Magic Night - Live at The Royal Festival Hall Black Magic Night - Live at The Royal Festival Hall 1977
Mysic Energy 1980
African Flight African Flight 1981
Unleased 1983
Movements Movements 1989
Africa We Go Go 1992
Uhuru 1992
The Warrior 1992
Ayiko Bia 1992
Jambo 1992
Gold 1992
Criss Cross Rhythms 1992
celebration: The best Of Osibisa celebration: The best Of Osibisa 1994
The Very Best of Osibisa 1994
Monsore Monsore 1997
Hot Flashback Volume 1 1997
Sunshine Day: The Very Best of Osibisa 1997
The Ultimate Collection 1997
Live At Cropredy 1998
The best of Osibisa The best of Osibisa 1999
Aka Kakra - Acoustic Live Aka Kakra - Acoustic Live 2001
Best of V.1 2001
Millenium Collection 2002
Best of Osibisa 2002 2002
African Dawn African Flight African Dawn African Flight 2003
Very Best of Osibisa Very Best of Osibisa 2003
Wango Wango Wango Wango 2004
Blue Black Night - Live 2005
Selected Works Selected Works 2008
Sunshine Day: The Hits 2008
Osee Yee Osee Yee 2009

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