Legendary Ghanaian highlife and Afrobeat artiste, Ebo Taylor has revealed that for the past two years, he has not received any royalties from the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO).
Speaking to Arnold Mensah Elavanyo on Zylofon FM’s ‘AfroSamba’, the ‘Twer Nyame’ composer said even though he gets royalties from music rights organizations outside Ghana every quarter, the same cannot be said of GHAMRO.
He said he is yet to ask GHAMRO why his royalties have stopped coming in.
“GHAMRO started paying me royalties but stopped two years ago and I want to ask them why they stopped,” he said.
Recently. the Chairman of GHAMRO, Rex Omar said that they could not distribute royalties for the last quarter because the government could send in the usual amounts of their quota due to the coronavirus pandemic so they had little to share among the musicians.
The organization has also stated that one of its challenges is to get money to acquire a technology that could be used to track the usage of music, to reflect the equitable distribution of the royalties.
Even though the organisation has made steps to ensure musicians get paid for their intellectual property, some believe that there is a long way to go.
About Ebo Taylor
Ebo Taylor is an eighty-five-year-old Ghanaian guitarist, composer, bandleader, record producer, and arranger focusing on highlife and afrobeat music.
Ebo Taylor has been a pivotal figure on the Ghanaian music scene for over six decades.
In the late ’50s, he was active in the influential highlife bands the Stargazers and the Broadway Dance Band. In 1962, Taylor took his group, the Black Star Highlife Band, to London. In London, Taylor collaborated with Nigerian afrobeat star Fela Kuti as well as other African musicians in Britain at the time.
Returning to Ghana, Taylor worked as a producer, crafting recordings for Pat Thomas, C.K. Mann, and others, as well as exploring solo projects, combining traditional Ghanaian material with afrobeat, jazz, and funk rhythms to create his own recognizable sound in the ’70s. He was the in-house guitar player, arranger, and producer for Essiebons, founded by Dick Essilfie-Bondzie.
Taylor’s work became popular internationally with hip-hop producers in the 21st century. In 1992, Ghetto Concept included his Afrobeats in their music. In 2010, Usher used a sample from Taylor’s song “Heaven” for “She Don’t Know” with Ludacris.
He collaborated with the Afrobeat Academy in Berlin in 2011. In 2017, his Ghanian funk anthem “Come Along,” was popular among DJs.
The success of Love and Death prompted Strut to issue the retrospective Life Stories: Highlife & Afrobeat Classics 1973-1980, in the spring of 2011. A year later, in 2012, a third Strut album, Appia Kwa Bridge, was released.
Appia Kwa Bridge showed that at 77 years old, Taylor remained creative, mixing traditional Fante songs and chants with children’s rhymes and personal stories into his own sharp vision of highlife.
He performed at the 2015 edition of the annual Stanbic Jazz Festival along with Earl Klugh, Ackah Blay and others.