Ambolley: American legends James Brown and Wilson Pickett inspired my style of music

The Ghanaian music legend Gyedu-Blay Ambolley says people can learn a lot from Americans because they invest more in studying music

Ghanaian highlife musician Gyedu-Blay Ambolley has said that he takes inspiration from two American singers, James Brown and Wilson Pickett.

He said their style of music and that of other bands has impacted on his songs over the decades.

“The inspiration was coming from two sides – James Brown and Wilson Pickett – and bands like Jerry Hansen’s, Broadway and others. I mimicked James Brown’s style of music for myself and it worked for me,” Ambolley said on the Vinyl Conversations on Asaase Radio.

The Ghanaian music legend said people can learn a lot from Americans because they invest more in studying music.

“Now the young boys are capitalising on what’s on the computers, trying to copy and paste sounds. With learned musicians when they go to record songs the whole band goes along. If one man makes a mistake the whole band has to stop and restart so they rehearse very well,” Ambolley told his host Tommy Annan Forson.

Move to America

Ambolley said that he decided to capitalise on America’s music market because they appreciate music and have invested in the entertainment sector.

“I took that decision because musically I had already conquered my country,” the 75-year-old said on the Saturday special show as part of Ghana Month celebrations. “I realised that the way my music was received was great, my name was everywhere, and America was the entertainment center, so I decided to leave to start from somewhere new.”

“I created a band in Los Angeles called Gyedu Blay and an African band and recruited American musicians. Even though I’m from Africa. Training them was easy because music is a universal language. I was able to make them understand music from Africa and out of that I had about five awards from different countries,” the saxophonist said.

Watch excerpt of the show in the attached video below:

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