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All you need to know about Legendary Joe Osei

Joe Osei

Joe Osei is a composer, singer and arranger. He is known well in Ghana and elsewhere for ane arlier hit called Mipe Wo Asem. He has a new song out at the moment titled Bala Bala. It is a love song produced by Big Brain.

Bala Bala is an expression in the Bengali language of the Bangladeshi people. It means ‘Hurry Up.’ Joe had friends from different backgrounds, including folks from Bangladesh, when he lived in London.

The singer is currently on a nation-wide media tour to promote Bala Bala. The song has a danceable, upbeat tempo and is sung in Twi and Pidgen English.

Born in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Joe Osei managed to find time during his days at St. Peter’s Primary and Wesley College Practice School, to sing Soul songs for bands in the Kumasi metropolis. He became well-known in Kumasi at the time, for his flawless renditions of James Brown, Wilson Picket and Otis Redding songs.

Joe Osei always gives credit to the late Nana Akwaboah, for being the person who gave him an opportunity to perform live on stage for the first time.

After his basic education in Kumasi, Joe Osei later found himself in Takoradi as a member of Peter Yaw Barima’s Coconut 7 band.

It was in Takoradi that he met singer Pat Thomas and guitarist, composer and arranger Ebo Taylor who were both then based there. According to Joe Osei, it was a heaven-sent opportunity as he learnt a lot about Highlife from the two giants.

Joe Osei moved to live in the United Kingdom in 1974. While pursuing a Business Studies course at Walthamstow College in London, he managed to keep body and soul together by freelancing as a singer and doing part-time work for a couple of companies.

He has two albums under his name: the 11-track Mepe Wo Asem (1997) and the 12-track Highlife Sweet Jam (2001).

Apart from his own stuff, he also performed and recorded with numerous acts including Pat Thomas, AB Crentsil, Paapa Yankson, Bessa Simons and Osibisa.

In fact, he shared the lead vocals with Bessa Simons on Bessa’s famous Belembe song. He also did the lead vocals on Osibisa’s Munsore album.

He formed the Joe Osei Band at a certain time during his days in the UK. It played gigs at the famous Smollenky’s On The Strand in London. The band at some point, included drummer Frank Tontoh (son of late Osibisa trumpeter, Mac Tontoh) and guitarist/keyboardist Kwame Yeboah.

Joe Osei relocated to Ghana in 2019 after living and working in the United Kingdom for about four and a half decades. He stills travels every year to the UK because his family is still based there.

He has a full set of equipment ready in his studio in Accra and would put a band together in the near future for live gigs.

Joe Osei sees Highlife growing more and more in stature in the coming years and regards himself as part of that future.

 

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