Emmanuel Tettey Mensah was one of the founding fathers of African popular music
African popular music became vibrant due to its instrumentation and rhythms. It was very rare for African popular music to cross the borders of Africa until Emmanuel Tettey Mensah came into the scenes. Emmanuel Tettey Mensah was a legendary Ghanaian musician who was best known for been part of the Tempos band that journeyed across the world. The King of Highlife music was born on the 31st of May 2021 in Accra, Ghana.
Growing up, Emmanuel learned how to play the flute, piccolo, saxophone, trumpet, and keyboard which earned him a spot in the Accra Orchestra. In 1943, he was posted to the Ashanti region after completing his pharmacy studies and returned to Accra in 1947. On the 24th of May 1956, The Tempos band with Emmanuel was invited to a concert in America that featured the legendary vocalist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong.
His musical breakthrough came when he re-branded the Tempos band, churning the Highlife genre with rhythms and good percussion. Songs like Nkebo Bayaa and Essie Nana became very popular songs in Nigeria and South Africa.
In 1989, he was honored for his contribution to music and was also awarded an honorary doctorate. We will never forget him for his contribution to Ghanaian culture and heritage.
Story By Samuel Addo-Kofi