Osei Kwame Korankye: Sepwrewa harp-lute player

The seprewa or sankwa harp-lute is an instrument that was widely used in the Ashanti

and Brong Regions. It was first introduced into Ghana in 1740 when the Ashantis defeated
the Gyaman State in what is now Cote d’Ivoire. This Gyaman court instrument and its one-legged player were taken as war booty to Kumasi, where it became a favourite instrument (sika sankwa) of the Asantehene. Use of the instrument later spread  throughout even the smallest villages, where it became associated
with funeral appellations, pa1rnwine drinking, and philosophical/moral commentary.
However, from the 1930s popularity ofthe instrument began to die out so Professor Nketia and Koo Nimo arranged for it to be taught by Osei Koranyke at the University of Ghana, beginning in 1990. Osei is from the western part of Ashanti and was taught the six-stringed seprewa harp-lute by his grandfather when he was eight years old. He is now reviving  interest in the instrument.

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