Osibisa band was the first Ghanaian as well as African band to notch up a whole series of best-selling singles and albums in the pop charts with its infectious fusion of styles referred to worldwide as criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness.
Formed in London, England in 1969 by three Ghanaians, Teddy Osei (saxophone), Sol Amarfio (drums) and Mac Tontoh (trumpet), Teddy’s brother, together with three Caribbeans Spartacus R (Grenada), Robert Bailey (Trinidad), Wendell Richardson (Antigua), and one Nigerian Lasisi Amao (Nigeria).
The Ghanaian members were already seasoned highlife artistes in Accra before moving to London to launch their attack on the world stage. They were joined soon by Darko Adams on percussions.
Their ground-breaking blend of African rhythms with Rock and Soul made their music appeal as much to the African as it did to the European or American. They played an integral role in developing an awareness of African music among European and North American audiences in the 1970s.
Before Osibisa band, Teddy and Sol had played with the Star Gazers and had a hit, Pete Pete with the Comets. Mac was also a member of the Uhuru Dance Band.
Osibisa’s single, Music for Gong Gong became an immediate hit in 1970 with three others later making the UK Top 10: Sunshine Day, Dance The Body Music and Coffee Song.
In fact, the musical group was the first from Ghana to debut on the Billboard Chart after winning the hearts of many with their electric songs.
Osibisa band actually made it onto the charts seven times in a row including twice in 1971 and 1973.
The first appearance was in 1971 with their album “Osibisa”. It entered the Billboard Hot 200 at number 105 and later climbed up to number 55.
Their song titled “Woyaya” also peaked at number 66 on the Billboard chart, while their third studio album “Heads” also debuted at number 125 in 1972.
Osibisa’s other albums “Happy Children”, “Osibirock”, “Welcome Home” and the song “Superfly TNT” also debuted on the Billboard Chart.
Over the years, Osibisa has released several classic albums such as ‘Osibisa’, ‘Woyaya ’,’Heads’, ‘Superfly’, ‘Happy Children’, ‘Osibirock’, ‘Welcome Home’, ‘Ojah Awake’ and ‘Osee Yee’.
What Osibisa was known for everywhere had its roots from Ghana as the band retained the Highlife influence and portrayed the country positively on its world tours.