Kofi Ghanaba (or Guy Warren as he was previously known) was born in 1923, and educated at Achimota College.
In the 1940s he was a journalist, and in 1947, joined the Tempos band with E.T Mensah. Since he had been a member of Kenny Graham’s Afro-Cubists in the UK he introduced many new ideas to the band including use of Afro-Cuban percussion instruments.
Born in Larteh in 1931, Kwesi learned to play percussion at the Akonedi Shrine of his grand-aunt Nana Oparebea, high-priestess of a shrine, which has branches in the United States.
In 1955 Kwesi travelled to the United Kingdom to study mechanics but gravitated back to music. His Manchester house became a spot to visit for touring African American jazz artists, and during the fifties,Kwesi met and played with Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Basie’s guitarist, Freddie Green. In the sixties Kwesi played percussion with The Ionius Monk, Roland Kirk and Sarah Vaughan. In the 1970s Kwesi began to teach African drumming to unemployed Afro-Caribbean youth in Manchester, and in 1982, with the help ofthe UK /Arts Council he created the Kantamanto Cultural Group, which has played at the
Royal Festival Hall and collaborated with British composerDavidFanshaw.
In 1987 Kwesi gave a series of workshops with jazz drummer Edgar Bateman and poetess Elizabeth Suber Bennett at Coltrane House in Philadelphia. While in the US, he also jammed withAl Grey, the Count Basie Band and the Sun Ra Arkestra. In 1995 Kwesi returned home to retire in Larteh where he established the African CuIrural Research Centre and has become a respected elder.
Professor Nketia was born in Mampong Ashanti in 1921. He attended the Presbyterian
Training College at Akropong from 1937- 41, and then spent three years in London at
the School for Oriental and African Studies and Trinity College of Music. He did further
studies in the U.S. at the Julliard School of Music, Columbia College and Northwestern
He joined the staff of the University of Ghana in 1952 and made extensive field trips to collect traditional music on a portable recording machine. He was also a member of the African music society that encouraged the music of local highlife guitar bands such as Onyina and E.K. Nyame. He has over 200 publications to his credit including the “Music of Africa” , a pioneering ethno-musicologica1 work that has been translated into numerous
languages. He is, what he calls, a ‘creative ethnomusicologist’ and has composed 80 pieces of Ghanaian art-music for piano, flute piano and atenteben bamboo flute. In 1966 he became Director of the Institute of African Studies until he was awarded an Emeritus Professorship from UCLA, where he taught from 1969-1982. He also was the Andrew Mellon Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, where he taught from 1981-1991.
In the mid 1990s he returned to Ghana to establish the International Centre for African Music and Dance in the School of Performing Arts at Legon.
His awards include the Ghana Grand Medal, the International Music Council Prize, the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and the Dutch Prince Claus Award.