Nana Ampadu: Everything you need to know about the late Ghanaian highlife musician

Nana Ampadu: Everything you need to know about the late Ghanaian highlife musician

Nana Ampadu rose to fame in 1967 when he released his hit song Ebi te yie. However, the song was more politically motivated and angered some people within the political circles. As a result, the National Liberation Council of Ghana banned the song, and Ampadu had to explain to the military rulers the meaning of the song. However, after the end of the military rule, the song made a comeback. But Ebi te yie remained a famous catchphrase in Ghana to express inequality in society.

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Nana Ampadu
Nana Kwame smiling for the camera. Photo: @GhanaMusic
Source: Twitter

Nana Ampadu was a Ghanaian musician well known for being the pioneer of the Ghana Music Industry and the brains behind creating the Ghanaian music genre highlife. He started singing in the early 1960s and became the king of Ghana Music.

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Before his death, Kwame had recorded more albums than any other Ghanaian musician and was credited for over 800 songs. His music career was long, and many Ghanaian musicians took inspiration from his work, shaping it to be what people admire today.

Nana Ampadu’s profile summary

  • Full name: Nana Kwame Ampadu
  • Nicknames: Adwomtofo Nyinaa Hene, Odwontofoohene, Paa Steele
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 31 March 1945
  • Birth sign: Aries
  • Place of birth: Obo Kwahu, Gold Coast, Ghana
  • Died: 28 September 2021
  • Age at death: 76
  • Nationality: Ghanaian
  • Ethnicity: African
  • Eye colour: Brown
  • Hair colour: Black
  • Sexual orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christian
  • Father: Opanying Kwame
  • Mother: Mercy Afua Ntiriwaa
  • Marital status: Married
  • Education: Obo Roman Catholic Primary School, Obo Anglican Middle Boys School
  • Profession: Musician, televangelist
  • Years active: 1963-2020

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Early life

Nana Kwame was born on 31 March 1945 in Obo Kwahu, Gold Coast, Ghana. His parents are Opanying Kwame Ampadu (father) and Mercy Afua Ntiriwaa (mother). Ampadu’s father worked as the head of the Asona clan of Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana, while his mother was a presbyter from Obo Kwahu.

Nana Ampadu
Nana Kwame starring into space. Photo: @GhanaMusic
Source: Twitter

Nana Kwame attended Obo Roman Catholic Primary School between 1950 and 1952. His parents then took him to a village school in the Afframs Plains to continue his schooling up to standard three and completed primary school in 1955.

Kwame then furthered his studies by attending Obo Anglican Middle Boys School between 1956 and 1959. However, financial reasons prevented him from attending college.

Nana developed an interest in music when he was in primary school. But after failing to join college, he went to the city to live with his relatives and find a job. After celebrating life for 76 years, Nana Ampadu died in Accra, Ghana.

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Wife and children

Nana Kwame got married several times in his lifetime. His first wife was Yaa Hehewah, whom he married in 1968. Ampadu and Hehewah had two children, all boys. But after ten years of marriage, the couple went their separate ways.

Nana married his second wife, Cecelia Dede and welcomed a daughter. After his marriage to Dede, he married a musician named Mom Bee. Ampadu and Mom Bee had one child. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last long. Instead, Nana Ampadu married his fourth wife, Akoua Agatha, an Ivorian lady, in 1981. The two stayed in the marriage for three years and broke up.

In 1992, Nana married his fifth wife, Nana Yaa Fosua. Nana Ampadu's wife Fosua had two children, Oheneba Yaw Rawlings Ampadu and Davida Yaa Kesewaa. For his five marriages, Nana Ampadu had eight children:

  • Kwadwo
  • Kwaku Amoh Samuel
  • Michael Kwaku Nyarko
  • Naomi
  • Sheila
  • Kwabena Gyimah Amoah Anthony
  • Ohenebah Yaw Rawlings
  • Yaa Kesewaa

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Professional career

Nana Ampadu
Nana Kwame singing on a microphone. Photo: @GhanaMusic
Source: Twitter

Nana Kwame started singing when he was in primary school. He never joined college and instead went to the city to work. In 1960, he started working as a messenger for the Ministry of Agriculture at Kwahu Mpraeso.

While working as a messenger, Kwame started composing songs but did not have enough money or instruments to record them. However, he sang to entertain others. Ampadu was only ten months old into his job when he quit and went to Accra to pursue a career in music. It took him two years to form a band called African Brothers Band.

In 1964, Kwame and his band recorded eight songs, including Ntoboase, Afutusem, Scholarship, and Me Nsoromma Bepue. In 1966, Kwame and his bands recorded a single titled Agyanka Dabere. The single album became an instant hit and spread Ampadu’s name all over Ghana. In 1967, he released the song Ebi te yie.

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The song was popular among the people but not with the military rulers. As a result, the establishment banned it because it was politically charged. However, it raised Amapdu’s profile even further. Between 1967 and 1973, he released many songs that became hits all over Ghana.

In 1973 the singer won a nationwide competition in Ghana that crowned him Odwontofoohene, Singer-in-Chief. Nana Ampadu's songs continue to hit the airwaves even today. However, he stopped producing songs in the 1990s and turned to a different career as an evangelist.

Nana Ampadu fast facts

  1. Is Nana Ampadu alive? He died at a hospital in Accra, Ghana, on 28 September 2021.
  2. Where did Nana Kwame Ampadu live before his death? Nana Kwame Ampadu lived in South Tongu District in Volta Region, Ghana.
  3. At what age did Nana Ampadu die? He died at the age of 76.
  4. When did Nana Ampadu die? Nana died on 28 September 2021 after suffering an illness that forced his family to admit him to the Intensive Care Unit of Legon Hospital in Accra, Ghana.
  5. When was Nana Kwame Ampadu born? Nana Kwame was born on 31 March 1945 in Obo Kwahu, Gold Coast, Ghana.
  6. Where did Kwame Ampadu study? He attended Obo Roman Catholic Primary School before joining Obo Anglican Middle Boys School.
  7. What was Kwame Ampadu known for? He was known for his music and televangelism.

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Nana Ampadu was a Ghanaian musician known for contributing to the Ghana Music Industry and creating the highlife music genre. He was the most celebrated Ghanaian musician who recorded more than 800 songs. After a long career in the music industry, he worked as an Evangelist. Before he died in 2021 at 76, the icon had been in five marriages and welcomed eight children.

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