Artist Profile


Gyedu-Blay Ambolley


The Legendary Gyedu-Blay Ambolley from Ghana, AKA “The Godfather of Rap Music” developed an interest in music at the tender age of 8, when he began playing with his father’s flute. He then taught himself to play.

His formal musical training came at the age of fourteen under the apprenticeship of “Uncle Bonku” who taught him the guitar. The young music enthusiast continued to learn the basics of music from the late’ Sammy Lartey.

This versatile, irrepressible singer, songwriter, producer and “musical-life-force” came to the limelight in 1973 with a jazzy highlife sound called ‘SIMIGWA-DO’, and now has 30 albums to his name.

He released his 30th album “Ketan” in May 2017. Affectionately known as the “Simigwa Do Man”, Ambolley celebrated his “Silver Jubilee” in music in 1998. He’s name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single was released in 1973, and was the first ever recorded rap music commercially in the world, before the Sugar Hill Gang in America.

Ambolley attributes his free style of singing to having listened to great musicians such as James Brown, Ray Charles, and ‘the late’ Sam Cook

The “Godfather of Rap Music” has toured West Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States. He has performed on the same stage with some of the world’s most celebrated artistes such as; the late Miriam Makeba of South Afrika, the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti of Nigeria, the late George Howard, Angela Bofill, Norman Connors, Manu DeBango, Lakeside, Chikuzan Takahashi of Japan, Ricardo Estrada of Cuba, Mayuto Correa of Brazil and toured Ghana with Oscar Brashear and Michael Session.

Ambolley has received numerous accolades/awards:

  • Installed by Nana Kobina Nketsia of Essikado, Sekondi as Nana Gyedu Blay Ambolley, King of Simigwa music in Sekondi in the Western Region of Ghana.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Ghana Music Awards by Vodaphone 2013.
  • Gubernatorial Recognition Award from the Governor of California as well as an award from the Mayor of California, Board of Supervisors and the City Council of the State of California in 2006.
  • “Congressional Recognition Award’ from the United States Congress. Additionally he received a Congressional,Gubernatorial Certificate of Special Recognition by Congresswoman Juanita Millinder McDonald.
  • “Lifetime Achievement Musical Award” and then Inducted into the “Jazz at Drew Music Hall of Fame” at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA in 2003.
  • A.Weekly nominee for “Best World Beat Recombinant Artists”- in 2003.
  • It has been said that “the genre on Ambolley’s music in entertainingly elevating and spiritually inescapable, such that its uniqueness transcends all musical categories.