Basket Makers


Brekete is both the name of  a drum from the Dagoma tribe in the North of Ghana and a religious cult in the South of Ghana that use the drum.

Brekete use in Dagbon tribe in the North of Ghana:

Brekete religious cult in Southern Ghana,  Ewe tribe.

The Instrument Makers

In the following photos you can see the skilled instrument makers who supply many of the instruments we use. You can follow the process of creating a Djembe from raw materials and see how the Xylophone is constructed.

Christopher Doozie’s Xylophone workshop in Mpe-Asem, Accra,  Ghana.

The Late Louis Botchway and son Francis Botchway’s Drum workshop in Madina, Accra, Ghana.

Jimmy Becldey: Jazz Combo

Saxophone player Jimmy Beckley began his musical career in the 1970s as a clarinetist in bands with his guitarist brother, Robert Beckley. Between 1983-87 Jimmy ran his Jazz Club in Tesano and out of this came his Jazz and Highlife Combo. In 1989 the Combo released the ‘Twilight of the Volta’ album. Many top artists have played and jammed with Jimmy and his Combo including local jazz singers, Rama Brew and Avalon, traditional artists Captain Yaba and Atongo Simba, highlife musicians, Nat Buckle and Anthony Scorpion, and the famous Cameroonian sax player, Manu Dibango.

Takashi: New fusions

Takashi (Ga for hustler) is a highlife and Afro-fusion group, organized by guitarist

Cliff ‘Asante and vocalist/percussionist Kojo Essah who is, as he puts it, “a banker by day and a musician by night.” This 10-piece band combines western guitar and trumpet with the traditional atenteben bamboo flute and wooden gyil xylophone, and with African percussion from the Ga ‘kpanlogo’, Akan ‘fontomfrom’ and Malian ‘djembe’ traditions. The group’s bass line is provided by the giant gome frame drum popular among the Ga people of Accra. The aim of Takashi is to provide creative and progressive Africanbased
music to local and international fans. Takashi is also an NGO that doubles as an African research center and music consultancy.

The City Boys

The City Boys is a highlife guitar band formed in the 1970s that combines highlife music and concert party, or a local popular theatrical group that stages vernacular comic plays and highlife operas. Concert parties were initially imitations of American vaudeville and British music hall, complete with blackface minstrels, ragtime music and tap-dancing, all the rage with urban Ghanaian elites around 1900.
However, in the 1930s performers like Bob Johnson and theAxim Trio indigenized this art-form when they took it into the villages – with E.K Nyame’s Akan Trio, before making this comic theatre “fully Ghanaian” in the early 1950s. The concert parties and guitar bands of the late 1940s (Axim Trio and the groups of E.K. Nyame, Bob Ansah, Bob Cole, Kwaa Mensah, etc.) actively supported the nationalist struggle and after independence President Nkrumah supported creation of many new concert parties and highlife bands. By the mid-1970s there were more than 70 of these guitar bands cum concert parties operating in the country. Indeed, City Boys is one of the last active touring concert parties. City Boys was formed by J.A. Ampofo, popularly known as ‘Black Chinese’ in the early 1970s. The group is from Kumasi and has released many record albums. Over the years it has toured all over Ghana and has made several trips abroad. City Boys also experimented with highlife versions of reggae in the mid-1970s, long before other groups, such as Alpha Blondy
and Lucky Dube, emerged on the scene.

Ellis ‘Salaam’ Lamptey and Cultural Imani: Ga cultural group

Singer/guitarist Ellis “Salaam” was born in Accra in 1955 and got his ftrst musical training in Ga cultural groups like Cultural Voodoo and Sammy Brown’s Agbafoi, which combined traditional Ga instruments with West African finger-picking guitar. Salaam then moved on to play withE.T. Mensah’s famous Tempos highlife dance band and other dance bands such as The Barristers and El Beats. In 1980 he formed the Cultural Imani acoustic group that consisted of guitar, gome bass drum and percussion. In August 1981 the band recorded at Bokoor Studio and some of the songs were released on the’ Guitar and Gun’ compilation highlife album by Cherry Red Records of the UK (re-released on CD in 2003 by Stems African  Records of London). In the 1990s Salaam teamed up with his manager, Kobena Andah, and expanded the Cultural Imani band to include bass guitar and horns. In 1992 the group recorded the ‘Djenba’ (the Ga word for character) at the Accra studio of Nana Danso (Director of the Pan African Orchestra), which was fmanced by the German Development Agency. Salaam’s group is currently working on its second release entitled ‘Weku Shia’ (Family House).

Nii Ashitey & Wulomei: Ga ‘cultural group’

Wulomei was founded in 1973 by  Nii Ashitey with the encouragement of

the dramatist, Saka Acquaye. Ashitey, who had previously been a percussionist for The Tempos, Tubman Stars and Worker’s Brigade highlife bands, but decided to
create a more “rootsy” sound to, as he once put it, “bring something out for
the youth to progress and to forget foreign music and do their own thing”.
Except for an amplified guitar, played with the West African finger picking
style, Wulomei’s instruments are indigenous, with atenteben bamboo flutes
and a lot of traditional local percussion that includes the giantgome framedrums,
which provide a deep percussive “bass-line”.
Wulomei plays old Ga and Liberian sea shanties, gome songs, and the kolomashie and kpanlogo recreational songs of Accra and Akan highlifes. To portray the band’s indigenous orientation, Wulomei’s performers wear the white or yellow cloth and frilly hats of the Wulomei or traditional priests and priestesses of the Ga people of Accra.
In 1974 Wulomei released its debut record, ‘Walatu Walasa’ followed by, Wulomei in Drum Conference’ released on the Phonogram label. During the 1970s and 80s, Wulomei made a number of successful tours to Europe and the United States.
Following Wulomei’s initial success, there was a proliferation of so-called “Ga cultural groups” such as Blemabii, Dzadzeloi, Abladei, Agbafoi, and Ashiedu Keteke. Two members of Wulomei also created their own groups.
Wulomei’s gome drum player, ‘Big Boy’ Nii Adu, formed theBukom Ensemble and  Wulomei’s lead female singer,NaaAmanua, formed the SukuTroupe. Nii Ashitey has retired and the second generation Wulomei is run by his son, Nii Tei Ashitey, and daughter, Naa Asheley.