The Story of Osibisa
Founded in 1969 by Teddy Osei, Osibisa is derived from “Osibisaaba” – a name given to types of music with styles like “palm-wine” and Fante Fishermen’s traditional music. In the early days, the band played at psychedelic venues around London, whilst trying to find financial support. Osei played the saxophone, flute and African drums.
With an explosive on-stage vibrance and charisma, the likes of which had never been experienced before outside of Ghana, Osibisa, became an instant success. Audiences flocked to become part of the Osibisa live movement of utter elation! During these early days, Osei’s band of musical joy-makers, captured the attention of other musicians of the day. The likes of The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder etc were mesmerised by the roof-lifting ability of Osibisa, and all sought advice and mentorship from Osei. They enjoyed gleaning tips on how to ignite their own live performances with the dazzling energy created by Osibisa. By the mid ‘70s, Osibisa’s enigmatic momentum had bubbled to the surface of mainstream, and UK chart hits followed including ‘Dance The Body Music’ and the iconic ‘Sunshine Day’. In June 1971, Osibisa, became the first black band to break the iconic, Marquee Club, during the 11th National Jazz, Blues and Pop Festival – poignant, as exactly 50 years on, the band become the debut signing to the new and official Marquee Records, under Right Track Universal.
Osibisa played on several international tours in the late 1970’s including India, Japan, Australia and several African countries. They would also go on to play during the Independence Celebration of Zimbabwe in 1980.
Iconic founder of Osibisa. Teddy Osei is a composer-Songwriter-Arranger-Producer. A multi-instrumentalist, Osei plays saxes/flutes/African drums & vocals. Osei formed Osibisa in 1969, and the rapturous energy that burst from the stage during their live performances, made Teddy’s band the No1 sought after live performers of the time. Osibisa have toured the world relentlessly since those early days, and Osei snowballed celebrity fans wherever he went , with the likes of Mohammed Ali, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Santana etc all seeking mentorship from Osei on how to ignite a crowd.
Like many bands of those times, Osei delivered the talent and enjoyed the fame, but rarely received the fortune that should have followed. Over the years, Osei’s musical ship has swapped crew members, becoming a fluid collective of the most sought-after musicians in the industry. They’ve toured the world relentlessly, and many re-issue albums of their best-know tracks have been released in recent years, not always under the official Osibisa banner (and rarely channelling profits back to Osei). Now ageing, Osei’s health doesn’t allow him to physically perform with the band, instead he’s been a hands-on director. In early 2020, Osei signed a major record deal with the newly formed, Marquee Records, pulled together a new incarnation of Osibisa, and directed the new album, ‘New Dawn’, with a keen eye and ear, steering his collective of original and new band members into the new decade.
One of the original founding members of Osibisa, Robert has travelled the globe with his talent and craft since his teenage years. He was integral on the first x5 Osibisa albums, including the soundtrack for the movie ‘Superfly’. Over the years, Robert has toured and produced with the likes of Randy Crawford, Maxine Nightingale, Al Matthews, Eric Clapton, and was musical director for US Sax player, Ronnie Laws on his European tour. Robert also played keyboards for iconic bands including Boney M, Sister Sledge, Odyssey, Jimmy Ruffin and Billy Ocean.
Gregg Kofi Brown
Veteran member of Osibisa, who’s written the majority of the tracks on this new album, Gregg appears on bass, guitar and lead vocals. Gregg recently recorded with Sting and jazz legends Billy Cobham, Patti Austin & Stanley Jordan. Gregg’s musical career is stella, including a phenomenal stint treading the boards of West End musicals such as Blues Brothers (financed by Sean Connery), The Buddy Holly Story, and Pete Townsend’s, Tommy, where Gregg performed on stage with UK pop icon, Kim Wilde. Gregg is also renowned for this production on a short film about Damilola Taylor for Sky TV, and the tribute album to Damilola Taylor which featured The Gorillaz, Craig David,Ms Dynamite, Robbie Williams, Sting, Misteeq (to name a few).
A success in her own right, MOBO nominated, Faye, brings the soul/RnB vibe to Osibisa. Faye’s been making successful chart RnB/soul tracks since she was first talent spotted, singing at a rave at the age of 18. She went on to score her first chart dance hit with ‘Feels So Good’. In ’94 she joined RnB /pop group, Infinity Fay, under Warner Brothers, working with the likes of Narada Michael Walden. In ’95, she signed her second major deal with Arista Records, where she had Top 40 chart success and toured Europe with artists such as Biggie Small, Lil Kim, H Town, Coolio and the Backstreet Boys.
Colin began playing the trumpet at the age of seven. By the time he was 15, he was wowing audiences at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, and by his late teens had moved to the dizzy heights of Wembley Stadium, sitting in with Paul Weller's, The Jam. Whilst with Brit-funk band, Light Of The World, Colin was approached by managers of the then unknown, George Michael, to join his outfit Wham! Colin went on to arrange and play horns on the next two Wham! albums. Winning a gold disc for his arrangement work on the hit singles, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ and ‘Freedom’, Colin started to explore the field of all round music arrangement. More recently, Colin is most well-known for his involvement with Ali Campbell’s, UB40 and Osibisa.
Winner of UK Young Drummer of the Year 2013, Stephen has been a long standing member of the band, Compozers, who as a collective, have worked with global artists including: Davido, Wizkid, Koffee, Lalah Hathaway, Kiesza, Fuse ODG, Julian Joseph, J Hus, to name a few.
Angie Amra Anderson
Since 1974, Angie has been an incredible force throughout African and Caribbean Arts sector, across both music and dance. In ’76 Angie co-founded the Ekome National Dance Company, and a decade later Ekome formed a unique collaboration with Peter Gabriel, recording a World Music album entitled ‘Rhythm of the Heat’. She also helped launch the world renowned festival WOMAD (World of Music and Dance), performing alongside Peter Gabriel and the Drummers of Burundi. The company received many accolades including a royal invitation by Prince Charles to Buckingham Palace, in recognition for their contribution to cultural cohesion and the significant development of Black Dance in the UK. As a composer/musician, Angie was contracted to co-produce the music/vocals for the film ‘Rwendo – The Journey’, directed by Farai Sevenzo for the National Film & TV School in Beaconsfield; which later went on to receive a BAFTA award. Her TV and Film appearances include ‘ Melvin Bragg’s – ‘The South Bank Show’, ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’, ‘A Sailor’s Return’, ‘Highway’, ‘The Pattie Boulaye Show’, ‘Bacchanal’, ‘Ebony’ and recently recorded a programme for BBC Education entitled ‘ Music Makers’. She also plays percussion for many groups including UK’s latest award-winning hip-hop artists ‘AKALA’. Recent broadcast include ‘The Hits’, MTV and Channel 4’s ‘The Nokia Green Room’.
Trumpet, Percussion & backing vocals. Paul was born in Accra, Ghana, has shared the stage with many prevalent bands like Soul Winners Band, the Ghana National Fire Service Band, the Fish band, Ozimzim band and great musicians like Kojo Aantwi, Amakye Dede,Daddy Lumba and Pat Thomas, on the local scene in Ghana. Paul now lives in the UK and has played and worked over here with the likes of Blue , Bad Manners, the Dualers, Alvin Slaughter and is now a firm fixture with, Osibisa. He also performed in the musicals, The Big Life and the Soul Sister.
Alfred Kari Bannerman
Undoubtedly Ghana’s most renowned guitarist for his sheer versatility, Bannerman began his career in the ‘70s when he founded his band, Boombaya, which within 12 months, went on to win Ghana’s Band of the Year Award. A successful tour of the UK followed, but Bannerman split the band before their debut album could be released, and he moved over to become a veteran member of Osibisa, receiving a Gold Disc for Osibisa’s tour of India. Bannerman has since become a highly sought after guitarist for both his live and studio performances. His list of international credits includes Hugh Masekela, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Alexander O’Neal, Oddysey, Ronnie Laws, Alex Wilson and Sister Sledge, to name a few. Kari’s film credits include composing the guitar score, and playing for, ‘Feet of the Song’, which won the British Film Institute’s Best Video Award 1991, and ‘Triangle’ which was nominated for an Oscar in 1995. He also composed and played guitar for a soundtrack of a film about the Rwanda disaster for Oxfam.
Sax, percussion, backing vocals for Osibisa. At the height of his career, Shagzy was invited to Accra by Mega Star Limited, where he played and helped with the TV3 Mentor Talen show. He later formed the Sekondi Band with high life legend, Gyedu Blay Ambolley. Shagzy performed and featured on albums of most of the Ghana High life legends including Gyedu Blay, Ambolley, Papa Yawson, Ck Man, Pa Thomas, Samini, Koblan Koblan, Koffiffi B, Koffiffi P, Kwaw Kese, Besa Simon, Nat Brew, Rex Omar, Mark Tonto of Osibisa. Following a trip to London, Shagzy was invited to join Osibisa.
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