Koo Nimo (Daniel Amponsah) is a folk guitarist who plays the traditional finger-picking Akan ‘palmwine’ guitar music of the 1920s combined with classical Spanish guitar, a
touch of jazz and Brazilian bossanova. He and his Adadam Agoranuna group have made many recordings and international tours.
Koo Nimo was born in 1934 in Fuase near Kumasi, and his musical career began with a highlife band at his Cape Coast school of Adisadel College.
He then left for the Medical Research Institute in Accra to study laboratory work. When he graduated in 1955, he returned to Kumasi and teamed up with guitarist Fred Akuffo to form the Antobre group and did his first recordings with the concert band of I. E. Mason.
In 1960 Koo Nimo began working as a biochemist at the chemistry department ofK wame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi (KNUST) and in 1966 he recorded with Dr. Gyasi’s guitar band. In 1968 he translated his own compositions into English, which were subsequently published in 1976 as ‘Ashanti Ballads ‘. That year he also won a scholarship to Salford University in Britain where he made friends with Kurt Anderson (Duke Ellington’s trumpeter), Freddie Green, (Count Basie’s guitarist),
Charlie Christian and Jack Duarte. He was also influenced by the jazz music of Django Reinhardt; Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis.
Koo Nimo has been on the Executive Committee ofMUSIGA, an advisor to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and a member of the Ghana National Folklore Board of Trustees. He taught in the United States for several years at the Universities ofSeattle and Michigan. In the mid 1990s he was awarded an honorary doctorate by KNUST, where he is now teaching at its new Cultural Studies Unit.