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.