Alex Kwabena Konadu was born in 1950 at Adwumakase
Kese in the Kwabere no.3 district in Ashanti. He developed
a keen interest in music in his infant days when at school.
But as he could not join any band at that tender age, he
learnt to manipulate some of the musical instruments and
never missed watching the concert parties and dance bands
which visited his town to perform at the time. He completed
his elementary education in 1967. He did not persuit further,
but instead took to music as his profession. The first band
which he joined was the Akwaboah’s Band. He remained
with it for three years and then left to join the Happy Brothers
Band as the lead vocalist. While with this group he felt the
desire to be on his own and therefore left after two years stay.
Kwabena went ‘solo’ for sometime, composing and practising.
One day he invited Mr. A.K. Brobbey, a very popular records
dealer and an active producer to listen to his rehearsals.
Having listened to him, Mr. A.K. Brobbey a philantropist and
one of the producers who has the ability to spot talents and
to polish them up, saw that Konadu has the qualities to be
with the best when given the right directions. He therefore,
helped him to organise his present band and signed him on.
With this set of first class instruments and new group, Konadu
has this to say, “Many thanks to my manager and producer
A.K. Brobbey, we shall work hard to be with the first always.”
Unfortunately some idiot has been practising his autograph
all over the sleeve of this lp. Luckily he didn’t start on the
vinyl. The record plays quite well and the music sounds
absolutely great. One small issue though, Label and sleeve
do not agree about tracks 7 and 8. They switched them
around so I stuck with the label, which is also more
complete. If wrong let me know, thanks folks..
01 – Nkrabea abebrese
02 – Mena mepe
03 – Yerenom bi
04 – Adada yi
05 – Eno abenaa
06 – Odum aye saa
07 – Enkyene anko nea yedi
08 – Barima yena
Yes!… this has been on my wanted list for a while… Alex Konadu is someone who never dissappoints… very creative and a crowd puller… no wonder one of his nicknames is “Tafo James Brown” which literally means the James Brown of Tafo, a town in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
He is one of the early highlife artistes to record a live international album. I do prefer a lot of his live songs over the same songs in the album because of the energy and creativity that comes with it. I am always happy to hear some of his live songs in the original version to know the difference and it makes more fond of this band because even though the content of the live versions are the same, they are played a bit differently and it just tells you how good they are, coming up with something different everytime.
Just like Peter Tosh was an advocate of smoking herbs, Alex Konadu was also a strong advocate of drinking liquor, I say this because of how often he justifies it in his songs. The “Yerenom bi” song on this album which literally means “we are drinking some”, clearly supports my observation about him and his love for liquor. But its a highlife thing, a lot of other artistes encourage it too like city boys band, kumapim Royals… Even Nana Ampadu of African Brothers band has a song “ye we nsa wo se shirt” literally meaning ignore the gentleman behavior that comes with wearing a shirt, we are drinking… its part of our culture, at funerals & other social events. No wonder we have a genre of highlife called “Palmwine Music”.
Now back to Alex, apart from his live album in London, he also had some live recordings in Canada… I always thought he did pure highlife and never experimented with the funk/afrobeat styles, I think I read that somewhere, until I came across his song on the Ghana Soundz compilation that sounded a bit funky/afrobeat. Despite his travels, I am yet to see any compilation he made in Nigeria unlike most other highlife artistes that flocked to Nigeria like Opambuo International, City Boys, Beach Scorpions, Canadoes etc … I am sure he stayed on to perform during the military times that created that migration. Maybe some Nigerian album from him might come out someday to prove me wrong… i’ll be glad to know… thanks for this album
I have seen the many signatures on the artwork, I have seen stamps etc before but this is hilarious. I am sure it was just one signature by the original owner and then whoever, probably the son, tried to duplicate it a few times and even added his own. In this technological age, I have seen kids do things like that and even throw old records in the air like a frisbee when they dont know the value of it.
Thanks for ALL the great posts on this superb blog!!
“Unfortunately some idiot has been practising his autograph
all over the sleeve of this lp”.
How dare he. However, he owned it. In those days, no one ever thought of collectors.
..whatever..that’s what I feel..
Too bad the person who did that to the album cover couldn’t afford to buy paper to practice that autograph. Oh, wait…
The track labels are OK in the download