Veteran highlife musician, Chief Abirekyieba Kofi Sammy, says Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was the only head of state who understood the art industry and took practical steps towards its development.
Chief Kofi Sammy, in an interview with Kumasi-based Pure FM, gave an assessment of the contribution of various Ghanaian heads of states to the development of arts since independence in 1957.
According to him, Kwame Nkrumah’s vision and insight into the arts was far greater than all others who led the country after his overthrow in 1966.
He said, Nkrumah, during his tenure, took deliberate measures to resource persons and institutions in the art industry, through the provision of instruments and facilities to boost their work.
He added that President Nkrumah also sponsored the training of creatives and made sure that they gain international exposure to help them improve their work.
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Chief Kofi Sammy, now 81 years old, started his music career in the 1960s with the famous K. Gyasi Band in Kumasi. He became leader of the new Okukuseku Band which gained widespread popularity in South-Eastern Nigeria.
Kofi Sammy produced more than 20 albums with several popular songs such as Suffer Suffer and Yellow Sisi. He was a friend of the late afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, who he played with several times in the 1980s.
By Lord Kweku Sekyi