History Ephraim Kɔku Amu. Composer of "Yen Ara Asase Ni"...

Ephraim Kɔku Amu. Composer of “Yen Ara Asase Ni” has become a nationally acclaimed patriotic song that is performed at national functions.

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Ephraim Amu was a renowned music writer and a composer who was born on 13th September 1899 at Peki-Avetile in the Volta Region. Amu composed several musical pieces, among them is “Yen Ara Asase Ni” the nationally acclaimed patriotic song that is performed at national functions.

Photograph of Ephraim Amu playing the traditional atɛntɛbɛn. (Source: Agyemang, 1988, p. 65) 

Amu is particularly known for his use of the atenteben, a traditional Ghanaian bamboo flute; he promoted and popularized the instrument throughout the country, and composed music for it. His father was Stephen Amuyaa, a wood carver who was popularly called Papa Stefano. His mother was Sarah Akoram Ama.

Ephraim Kɔku Amu was baptised by the Rev. Rudolf Mallet on 22 October 1899. Amu first went to school in May 1906 and at about age 12 he entered the Peki-Blengo E.P. Boarding Middle School, where he showed much interest and love for music and agriculture. According to him, he enjoyed the music played during church collections when the music teacher, Mr Karl Theodore Ntem, played soul-moving renditions on the organ.

The old 20,000 cedi note, replaced in July 2007 had a potriat of Ephraim Amu

Amu and his music teacher struck a mutual agreement whereby Amu requested to be taught the skills of organ playing and in return Mr Ntem asked him to work on his farm on Saturdays. In 1915, Amu passed the standard 7 School Leaving Certificate examination and also passed the Abetifi Teachers Seminary’S Examination. In 1916 he and two other colleagues had to walk 150 miles from Peki to Abetifi with their boxes on their heads to start teacher training education.

Bibliography:

  1. Amenumey, D. E. K. (2002). “1”. Outstanding Ewes of the 20th Century. Profiles of Fifteen Firsts. 1. Accra: Woeli Publishing Services. pp. 1–12. ISBN 9964-978-83-9.
  2.  “Ephraim Amu Foundation Launched”. Entertainment of Thursday, 25 March 2004. Ghana Home Page. Archived from the original on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2009.

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