Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alex Konadu Obituary

According to several online sources, highlife musician Alex Konadu passed away some weeks ago on the eighteenth of this month. Below is an obituary written by George Ernest Asare, which may be found here.

Alex Kwabena Konadu, the man who hit the limelight in the late 1970’s with his brand of highlife songs such as Asaase Asa, Agya Ata Wuo, Aweie and Asem Bi Adi Bone has died. He died in Kumasi on January 18, 2011 at the age of 63.

Popularly known as One Man Thousand, Alex Konadu died at a time he and his bosom friend, Professor Kofi Abraham, had accepted an invitation to rock the Sunyani municipality with a highlife and gospel music concert at the end of January. Barely two weeks before the ‘D’ day, Konadu was taken ill, and with support from Kofi Abraham, he sought medical care at various health care institutions in Kumasi. Just as he was gradually recovering, he suddenly relapsed and was taken to Bomso Clinic in Kumasi by Kofi Abraham but as if to say that enough was enough, he gave up the ghost a few hours later.

“His death is a great loss to me. This is because he was more than a friend, and we have totally become inseparable over the years. We were a great pair at this stage of our lives, and did almost every thing together," a wet-eyed Prof Abraham told Showbiz. When asked to describe Kwabena Konadu, Professor Abraham said, “ he was in a class of his own in terms of highlife music. This is because he did not only use his music to comfort mourners at funeral grounds, but also succeeded in encouraging the downtrodden to appreciate their values in society. He also used highlife music to entertain all classes of people at drinking spots, festivals and marriage ceremonies among other programmes to make life more meaningful to them”.

Stressing, Professor Abraham noted, “What endeared him most to music lovers was his desire to entertain his fans by honouring all manner of programmes. He was down to earth, and easily socialized with all classes of people, so his death is a huge loss, not only to me, but many lovers of highlife music, especially our generation, who were completely consumed in highlife music” he said.

According to family sources, the ace highlife musician left behind a wife, Adwoa Fordjour, and 12 children.

Alex Konadu - Asem Adibone

This song says:
I prepared breakfast,
thinking my lover will come and eat it,
I expected her; she did not come.
My lover has gone away,
and died somewhere on the road. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

King Onyina - Akwantu Mu Nsem

The legendary King Onyina is well-known and loved for his old-time guitar band music, in particular the variety found on I've Found My Love and the African Guitar Series CD. Kwabena "King" Onyina himself was an occasional concert party performer (like his peer E.K. Nyame), a musical pioneer, and an inspiration to younger guitarists like Koo Nimo who sought to expand highlife "guitarism" into new territory. A full biography may be found online at GhanaWeb.  

Akwantu Mu Nsem, however, is one of several unique albums released later in Onyina's career, in this case the late '70s. A more modern sound is featured here (with light synthesizer accompaniment), and Onyina is joined by several male & female singers who often take the forefront. This album is quickly becoming one of my favorites, mainly because these songs are just so strikingly beautiful and unique. Take a listen to the title track below and I'm sure you'll fall in love like I did.

Akwantu Mu Nsem - King Onyina

Download Akwantu Mu Nsem