Saka Acquaye: ‘Grand Old Man’ of the Ghanaian arts

Saka is a well-known Ghanaian musician, sculptor and dramatist, who was born in Accra in 1923. He learned to play saxophone in the 1950s and was Tempos highlife dance band. Saka helped King Bruce found the Black Beats highlife dance band in 1952. He left for the United States to do further art studies and while in Philadelphia he formed the West African Ensemble that made an album.
Saka returned to Ghana in 1961 and formed the African Tones band and dance group that toured Russia. He was appointed as Head of the Arts Council from 1968-72 and during that period, his musical play, “The Lost Fishermen” was produced and the popular Saturday Anansekrom (variety) programs were initiated.
In the early 1970s Saka discovered Nii Ashitey’s talented Ga group, Wulomei, and he and Kwadwo Donkor helped produce the group’s first record ‘Walatu Walasa ‘, Saka was also involved as one of the Ghana organizers of the ‘Soul to Soul’ concert at Black Star Square in 1971 that brought many top American acts to Ghana, including Wilson Pickett, the Voices of East Harlem, the Staple Singers, Ike & Tina Turner, Roberta Flack, Les McCann, Eddie Harris and Santana.

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