Guy Warren aka Kofi Ghanaba / May 4, 1923 - Dec 22, 2008

Kofi Ghanaba, aka Guy Warren, was the first musician from the African continent to become known with a career and recordings in the USA, fusing American jazz with African folk forms. He was also a teacher, writer, historian and pan-Africanist of renown.

A Ghanaian by birth, during WW2 he worked for the US as a spy, after which he became a journalist and a jazz musician. In 1947 he was a founding member of the great African-jazz band The Tempos with ET Mensah. In '51 he became the first African to become a BBC radio producer and also did radio in Liberia in the mid '50s before moving to Chicago in '54.

His 1956 album Africa Speaks, America Answers is an early example of African music production made in the USA. After releasing some albums and working with Max Roach, Duke Ellington, German bandleader Bert Kaempfert and participating in the Soul To Soul concert he went back permanently to Ghana in the '70s, having been disillusioned by his experience in the States.

He was active against South African apartheid and in the '80s he helped form a musician's union in Ghana. He founded a newspaper in 1992 and held a wide library of African books and newspapers, which have since been donated to institutions preserving African culture. He has worked for stage and screen and his music continued to be played by American jazz musicians such as Art Blakey and, even now still, Randy Weston.

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