Koo Nimo, the King of Up-Up-Up

Today's post features an intimate recording from Daniel Amponsah, one of Ghana's iconic artists, better known as Koo Nimo.  He was  born in 1934, in the town of Foase- in the Atwima Kwanhoma district, not far from Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region.  Koo Nimo grew up in a musical family; his father Opanin Kwame Amponsah was a guitarist and played trumpet in a local brass band.  His mother sang with a choir in the local Methodist church.  Koo developed his style in the 1950s during the heyday of Highilfe music.  From 1955 to 1960 he became a popular performer on the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation's entertainment programs in Akan.  Koo Nimo put together the first lineup of his group Adadam Agofomma in 1957.

In 1962, Koo went to Britain to train as a labratory technician; for much of his career he was the chief technician of the biochemistry department of the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. During the three years he spent in the UK he studied classical guitar techniques, mastering scales, arpeggios and right-hand articulation.  By the early 1970s, Koo Nimo had committed himself to palm-wine guitar highlife, performing and recording his original repertoire with a seven piece acoustic ensemble.

Koo Nimo, now in his mid-80s, continues to perform occasionally.  In 2016, his lifetime of musical acheivement was celebrated at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana.  This event coincided with the publication of a new autobiography.

This cassette was produced in Ghana in 1988.  I don't know if this cassette was ever commercially released.  There is no record label and I suspect that this may be a self-produced recording.  The recordings are intimate, featuring both solo guitar pieces and small ensemble performances.

Koo Nimo - The King of Up-Up-Up 

To learn more about Koo Nimo, his life, art, and songs here is a lovely booklet that was published in 1988.

ASHANTI Ballads 

Enjoy this timeless music by one of West Africa's most committed artists.