Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Daniel Amponsah, '34, Fause, Asante Region, Ghana) Singer, composer, guitarist. Began on church organ at age five; sent by his uncle to the Presbyterean School in Kumasi, where he was introduced to European classical music. Transferred to Adisadel College in Cape Coast; formed a school band and began to learn guitar. Worked briefly as teacher and music master in his village school, becoming acquainted with various brass instruments through the village band; but soon moved to Accra's Medical Research Institute, also making his first record: highlife song "Go Inside'. He returned to Kumasi '55, formed the Antobre group, playing pop and highlife, performing regularly on radio, but also maintaining a professional career, joining the chemistry department at the U. of Kumasi '60, also was studying Spanish guitar. Studied in UK on scholarship; returned mid-'60s to record several songs with Dr K. Gyasi; translated Asante ballads into English (LP Ashanti Ballads '68). Back to UK '69 to the U. of Salford, also preparing programmes of music for the BBC External Service. Recorded again with Gyasi on the Essiebons label on return to Ghana. In the '70s he decided to work in the "palm wine' style of guitar-band highlife and led an acoustic septet with Spanish guitar, talking drum (atumpan), hand pianos, gyama drum and gong; made classic LP Odonson Nkoao mid-'70s; began to receive international recognition for varied, valuable contributions to African music. He performed for Commonwealth Institute Music Village '84, also in Channel 4 TV series Repercussions.