The Black Santiagos were founded by th Ignace De Souza in 1964 in Accra , Ghana. Born in 1937 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, Ignace De Souza learnt to play the trumpet and later switched to the saxophone, after a stint with the first Beninois professional band, Alfa Jazz. Ignace moved to Ghana in 1955 where he joined Spike Ayankor's Rhythmn Aces. Later in 1956, he joined the Shambros Band, owned by two Lebanese brothers. During this period, Ignace recorded several songs and finally hit with the Cha Cha influenced "Paulina" an overnight sensation that made him hugely popular in Ghana. Black Santiagos was born out of this success.
The Black Santiagos are one of the oldest surviving bands of the big band era of West Africa and unique for bringing great music of enormous taste and dexterity to contemporary audiences. (Notes by Paa. K. Holbrook - Smith of Harmattan Management and Booking Agency.)
Carleen Anderson moved to the UK in 1989 with her step father Bobby Byrd and the JB All Stars on a tour that included several James Brown show recruits, Lyn Collins, Maceo Parker and Pee Wee Ellis. Carleen came to attention as lead singer and song writer for the Young Disciples with their classic Chart hit 'Apparently Nothing'. From 1999 to 2000, Carleen was also lead singer and co-songwriter for the famous Brand New Heavies.
No one better embodies the dramatic transformation in the British Jazz scene over the past twenty years than Courtney Pine. The saxophonist heads a new generation of exciting and innovative musicians who have chosen to turn their talents to the demanding requirements of jazz music, in all its shapes and forms.
Elie Kamano (Guinea)
The author, composer and singer Elie Kamano was born in Guekedou in 1984. He left school at fifteen and quickly started to perform rap, although he admits that at even the time he sang more than he rapped. He then took a different musical turn and started to play reggae, which was more in line with his artistic personality. Despite several hiccoughs in his early career, he didn't lose hope. In 2005, he released the album Trafiquants which established him on the Guinean music scene. Ever mindful of the difficulties experienced by his country and the whole continent, in 2009 Elie Kamano asked the question "Ou va l'Afrique" (where is Africa going?). The "General" as some call him, also regularly denounces the shortcomings of the government. His militant songs have put him in the Guinean political arena.
Fokn Bois (Ghana)
The GUBA Award winning & MOBO nominated FOKN Bois, popularly known for thanking God they are not a Nigerians after giving the world its first Pidgen Musical "Coz Ov Moni", have already taken Hiplife to the final frontier sharing stages with Snoop Dogg & the Dogg Pound, Femi Kuti and The Gorillaz.
HIGHLIFE SUPER BAND
This is a new concept that brings together the living legends of High Life in one band!
Manifest (Ghana / USA)
Manifest is a true original. Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, the charismatic Hip-Hop artist migrated to the Twin Cities where he was voted City Pages Songwriter of the year after his critically acclaimed 2007 debut "manifestations." He has been described as an artist with "an incredible gift" (the run off groove) who possesses "the kind of assured, joyful, ruminative voice that made Mos Def into Hollywood's favorite conscious-rap star" (City Pages).
After only beginning to pursue music seriously as a vocation post his college education in 2005, the Ghanaian native has already stacked up an impressive resume: including on stage collaborations with Femi Kuti, Damon Albarn (Gorillaz), Amadou and Miriam, Mick Jones (The clash), Tony Allen, the Noisettes and many more. Allhiphop.com profiled him (along with K'naan) as one of four African Artists "Stormin' into the Hip-Hop World" (2009). In 2010, he played the Festa Dos Mundos festival with Africa Express in Spain in front of a 50,000 crowd and was part of the historic PUMA world cup showcase in Paris. His Music was also featured on the official Nike and Fader Magazine 2010 World Cup Podcast.
Nana Yaa (Ghana)
Nana Yaa, is the sweet voice behind many of Kojo Antwi's recent songs.
Daughter of Ghanaian high life legends, Pat Thomas and Lola Everette , Nana Yaa started singing at a tender age and went professional at the age of 17. She has worked with many Ghanaian musicians including, Amadzeba, Pat Thomas, and the Tagoe Sisters. She has featured on popular songs like 'Emirika', 'Do me wu' and 'Dofa' all on Kojo Antwi's album, 'Mwaah!'
Pauline Oduro (Ghana)
Born in Sekondi Paulina's talent for music was recognised at an early age. At age seven, she moved to Japan with her diplomat father and mother where her interest in music turned to classical piano, which she studied during her stay in Japan.
At age ten, Paulina moved to London with her parents and by age 20 she was a qualified nurse, but this was to be short-lived as her musical spirit was not to diminish. At 21 she quit nursing and became a professional singer. In 1982 she joined the reggae band Casanova and later performed with a number of reggae and soca bands, including Calypso King Mighty Sparrow and Soca kings Arrow , Lord Kitchener , Alexander O'Neil and Trinidadian singer David Rudder She was lead singer for the Ghanaian High-Life band, Western Diamonds, fusing the rootsy sounds of High-Life Soul and Funk to create a new popular sound. Today, Paulina is one of Ghana's most loved singers.
Ray Allen (Ghana)
Ray Allen, the Ghanaian international saxophonist was formerly lead singer of the legendary Ghana Broadcasting Band. He has played in many prominent High Life and Jazz Bands, including Broadway and Star Gazers. He formed Pagadeja in the early 1970's which included ace organist Kiki Gyan. In London during the 1980's, he led Alpha Waves, a jazz high life band which developed what he has termed 'JazzLife' a heady fusion of Jazz and High Life music.
Tigbala (Ivory Coast)
Tigbala is led by Paul Madys, the famous musician exiled to Ghana due to the recent political crisis there. The subrb band also includes percussionist,Oswald known for his work with Ambolley, Steve Bedy and Native Vibe. Tigbala bring to Accra hot sounds from the Ivorien musical scene.