The City Boys is a highlife guitar band formed in the 1970s that combines highlife music and concert party, or a local popular theatrical group that stages vernacular comic plays and highlife operas. Concert parties were initially imitations of American vaudeville and British music hall, complete with blackface minstrels, ragtime music and tap-dancing, all the rage with urban Ghanaian elites around 1900.
However, in the 1930s performers like Bob Johnson and theAxim Trio indigenized this art-form when they took it into the villages – with E.K Nyame’s Akan Trio, before making this comic theatre “fully Ghanaian” in the early 1950s. The concert parties and guitar bands of the late 1940s (Axim Trio and the groups of E.K. Nyame, Bob Ansah, Bob Cole, Kwaa Mensah, etc.) actively supported the nationalist struggle and after independence President Nkrumah supported creation of many new concert parties and highlife bands. By the mid-1970s there were more than 70 of these guitar bands cum concert parties operating in the country. Indeed, City Boys is one of the last active touring concert parties. City Boys was formed by J.A. Ampofo, popularly known as ‘Black Chinese’ in the early 1970s. The group is from Kumasi and has released many record albums. Over the years it has toured all over Ghana and has made several trips abroad. City Boys also experimented with highlife versions of reggae in the mid-1970s, long before other groups, such as Alpha Blondy
and Lucky Dube, emerged on the scene.