This film is part of Free

Osibisa Musical Group

Ghanaian led Afro-Caribbean band spread infectious rhythms of world music at Plymouth’s Frankfort Gate.

Current affairs 1980 3 mins

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Ghanaian and Afro-Caribbean band Osibisa was founded in 1969 by Teddy Osei. Osei arrived in London on a scholarship to study music. Osei and his brother Mac Tontoh had a 1958 hit song Pete Pete in West Africa. Osei uses the musical genre Highlife combining traditional Akan music with Western instruments. The original line-up was Sol Amarfio on drums, Grenadian Spartacus R on bass guitar, Trinidadian Robert Bailey on keyboard and Antiguan Wendell Richardson on lead guitar.

Nigerians Mike Odumosu, Fred Coker and Lasisi Amao also joined. In 1971 the debut album OSIBISA hit the UK charts and the band toured the world becoming one of the first groups to be linked to the world music description. Paul Golly, Daku Adams or Potato and Kiki Gyan were also members of the band. In 1996 Osei reformed the band and they continue to perform and produce. Osibisa brands itself as criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness. The word for Highlife is osibisaba in the Fante dialect spoken by the Akan people of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and the most likely origin of the band name. Their style influences many of the emerging African musicians and Mac’s son Frank Tontoh is in the Fourth Generation Osibisa.