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Know Your Legends, The Veteran Ebo Taylor

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Know Your Legends, The Veteran Ebo Taylor

Legendary Ebo Taylor

Born in 1936, Ghanaian guitarist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and producer Ebo Taylor has been a vital presence in African music for more than half-a-century. During the early ’60s, he was active in the influential highlife bands the Stargazers and the Broadway Dance Band.

In 1962, he left Ghana for London to study at the London Eric Gilder School of Music. He explored jazz, funk, and soul alongside fellow student Fela Kuti and future Osibisa band members Teddy Osei and Sol Amarfio. They had jam sessions in jazz clubs off Oxford Street, after which Fela would often join Taylor in his Willesden Junction flat. They would listen to jazz records for hours, analyzing the structure and chord progressions of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. During this time, Taylor founded the Black Star Highlife Band, which showcased one of his greatest contributions to highlife: His jazz-inspired horn arrangements.

After returning to Ghana, Taylor became an in-house arranger and producer for labels like Essiebons, working with other leading Ghanaian stars including C. K. Mann and Pat Thomas. He wrote for them, played guitar on sessions, and supervised recordings. From the ’70s through the ’80s, Taylor cut a host of his own solo albums that offered idiosyncratic but very popular fusions of traditional Ghanaian sounds, Afrobeat, jazz, soul, and funk on albums such as My Love and Music, Twer Nyame, and Me Kra Tsie.

His single “Heaven” from this period stands among the most revered Ghanaian Afrobeat tunes of the era. Taylor formed Uhuru-Yenzu in 1980 and released the albums Conflict Nkru! After the album “Pat Thomas & Ebo Taylor” in 1984, the guitarist stopped recording and touring and focused instead on producing, arranging, and composing for dozens of other artists.

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In 2008, Taylor met the Berlin-based Afrobeat Academy. A year later, Usher sampled “Heaven” for his hit “She Don’t Know” (feat. Ludacris). In 2010, Taylor teamed with the Afrobeat Academy for Love and Death on Strut Records, his first internationally distributed album.

Its success prompted Strut to issue the stellar retrospective Life Stories: Highlife & Afrobeat Classics 1973-1980 in the spring of 2011. In 2012, a third Strut album, the deeply personal Appia Kwa Bridge, appeared and showed that at 76, Taylor was still intensely creative and forceful, mixing traditional Fante songs and chants with children’s rhymes and personal matters into his own sharp vision of highlife.

That record marked the beginning of a popular renaissance for Taylor around the world. Early singles and other tracks appeared on several compilations over the next few years, and in 2015, his rarest album, Ebo Taylor & the Pelikans, got the grand reissue treatment. His early hit, the Ghana funk anthem “Come Along,” made DJ playlists globally.

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In February 2016, at age 80, he opened the MOGO Festival’s Nights with Music Greats. The gig proved to be a precursor for the deluxe reissue of his 1975 album, My Love and Music, on Mr. Bongo. In 2018, Taylor issued the album Yen Ara with his Saltpond City Band that saw him translating various strains of Fante music through contemporary Ghanaian highlife and experimenting with new rhythmic forms through horn-dominated compositions. At age 82, he and the Saltpond City Band, now led by his son Henry Taylor, supported it with a world tour. The following year, Mr. Bongo reissued Hitsville Re-Visited in May.

BBE Music has just released the Palaver album in all formats that contains five unissued tracks from a (previously unknown) lost 1980 session in Nigeria.

Awards
Best Arranger, Ghana Music Awards, 1997
Meritorious Award, The Navarro Jazz Festival (Italy), 2012.
Life Time Achievement Award at VGMA Industry Awards, 2014
Kwame Nkrumah African Genius Award, 2014
MOGO Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016
Lifetime Achievement Award, Highlife Music Awards, 2019
Music Legend of the Year, Ghana Business Awards, 2019
Honorary Award, Osagyefo’s Night By Trigmatic, 2019
Music In Africa Honorary Awards, 2019

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Health

Volta, Bono, and Bono East regions are the hotspots for COVID-19 Delta variant – Ghana Health Service

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ghana health service warns about covid-19

New hotspots for Coronavirus infections, particularly the Delta variant, are emerging in the Volta, Bono, and Bono East regions.

Traditional hotspots such as Greater Accra and Ashanti remain.

According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Volta Region, which had 16 active cases on July 1, now had 532 cases as of August 1, while the Bono Region’s figures increased from eight to 200 and Bono East’s from three to 178.

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During the Covid-19 update in Accra on Wednesday, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), told the media that the Delta variant was liable for 79 percent of all Covid-19 cases within the Greater Accra Region.

He claimed that the Delta variant, which had a higher transmission rate and a more severe disease burden, was becoming dominant, and that stricter enforcement of the safety protocols was needed to stop the virus from spreading further.

According to him, the situation has resulted in an increase in workplace and school infections, with active cases jumping from 1,600 to over 6,000 in less than a month.

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As of August 1, 2021, there were 6,766 active cases with 854 deaths.

“The current trend of cases with low adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols raises the likelihood of a bigger third wave.”

“With an increase in severe and critical cases, the average number of cases per day is likely to rise. Because the outbreak has the potential to have a negative impact on all sectors, aggressive efforts to reverse the trend are required, according to Dr. Kuma-Aboagye.

There are now 272 hospital admissions in the Greater Accra Region, with 36 critical cases, 87 severe cases, and 107 mild to moderate cases.

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Non-wearing of nose masks, disregard for the social distancing rule, and non-observance of regular hand hygiene, according to Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, were the driving forces behind the increase in infections, while 98 percent of the population had not been vaccinated, exposing more people to the virus.

He said that 404 schools had reported positive cases of the virus, with a complete of two ,864 positive cases and 304 active cases.

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