“Storytellers seldom let facts get in the way of projecting a legend, although a few facts add seasoning and make the legend more believable.” – John H. Alexander
Growing up, I often heard about people who were revered and respected for their contributions in various fields and aspects of life. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet any of them. One advantage of being a millennia however is the existence of technology and its advancement which has made it possible to capture moments of these revered but “lost” ones on tape. A single word describes them – Legends!
In my lifetime however, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to witness the life of one man who can rightfully be called a Legend and it floods my heart with joy to be able to write about him while he is still alive.
Two decades of an exciting and successful musical career is his legacy. An entitlement of 22 masterfully crafted musical albums, a host of awards and nominations, both local and international, only go to show how prolific he has been in pursuing what can be described as a journey of memorable and priceless worth, inspiring and touching lives – one that epitomizes accomplishment.
Born into a family of sixteen comprising 13 siblings in Darkuman, a suburb of Accra, Ghana, Julius Kojo Antwi, known in music circles across the world as Kojo Antwi, The Maestro and Mr Music Man among many other monikers is one of Ghana’s living musical legends.
Arguably one of the best Ghanaian musicians alive, he has successfully established himself as an excellent vocalist; a prolific songwriter, producer and arranger with a knack for enigmatic performances.
For more than a decade he has thrilled music lovers and casual listeners alike with quality catalogue of music which he delivers with what is described by the ladies as a clear and impeccably seductive voice. A categorical defiant blend of West African highlife and soukous, Caribbean lovers’ rock, a dash of Afro-American soul and R&B is his definition of music.
Like most successful solo artistes around the world, Kojo started his musical journey with a band known as the BOOMTALENTS, a band he joined after leaving school. After playing with them for a short while, he was discovered by Classique Handles band which was later known as the Classique Vibes band. His uniqueness landed him a major role in the band as he became their frontman.
With Kojo at the helm of affairs and the group’s lining of originality and energy, they soon became a force to reckon with, capturing the attention of Ghanaians and other neighbouring West African Countries. Sooner than later the potential of the band was recognized internationally when they found themselves performing in Europe courtesy a visionary agent.
The group enjoyed success in many European countries like, Denmark and Sweden amongst others, performing at festivals and other shows, but as history has shown, every good thing must either persevere or fall apart when faced with obstacles. The young and promising band fell apart after faced with several unresolved immigration issues.
After the dissolution of the band, the Amirika hitmaker went solo and became Ghana’s number 1 music star with his first solo album “All I need is you”, an album which pushed him to reach for the heights he has attained. He has since won several Ghana Music Awards and International Awards like, Best Male Artist from West Africa at the 2003 All Africa Music Awards, Our Music Award, Kora Award and the West Africa Tourism Award among many others. He has also had numerous nominations both locally and internationally, including the 2010 Bet Awards nomination for Best International Act.
Though one of Ghana’s legendary musical icons, very little has been done to show
acknowledgement for the role he has played in the quality and transformation of Ghanaian music and the arts and culture industry in contemporary times.
In recent times, making it beyond the African Plains has become common with effort and the convenience of the internet. The people of today’s world must be educated on the struggles which have made it possible for ease of success beyond the borders of Africa.
Not too long ago it was very rare for young African Talents to make it across the African rim but through hard work, sheer talent and the determination of these legends, both dead and living, continental integration in the world of music has been made possible.
Yasaase! We celebrate our legends. We celebrate music. Yasaase celebrates the Maestro. We say ‘Ayekoo’ Kojo Antwi!
Compiled by Jephthah Osei-Mensah