Dr. F. Kenya is probably one of the greatest high-life guitarists in Ghana. His two Powerhouse LPs, which he performed on and composed, epitomize the seriousness of the guitar band format, up to par with such luminaries as Nana Ampadu or K. Frimpong.
F. Kenya was born in the Ghanaian town of Aziama in the Ellembelle District (Nzema ). Trained as a goldsmith, he started singing in the mid 60’s with the Ahamanos band and later joined Kaikaiku’s No. 1 band before going out his own in the late 70’s. He was one of the first popular singers to sing in his native Nzema language and the energy in his vocals and performances made him very popular in Ghana and neighboring Ivory Coast. A few F. Kenya tracks have appeared in the Gun and Guitar compilations Vol 1 and 2 put out by John Booker. F. Kenya moved to the Ivory Coast in the early 80’s and did a number of LP’s, which were very popular during those years.
The music of F. Kenya is (in my humble opinion) some of the most stunning Ghanaian highlife ever recorded, music with a unique sound characterized by deep Akan harmonies, sweet organs, and breathtakingly beautiful vocals. The Power House, released on Essiebons in 1975, is Francis Kenya’s first full length record. Like Kenya’s other work, these songs are beautifully arranged, with rich musical textures that feature an interplay between interlocking guitar parts and organ lines. In addition, these songs are unique in that they are sung in Nzema (Kenya’s own language) rather than the dominant Asante Twi (generally the language of highlife). The Nzema are an Akan ethnic group found on both sides of the Southern Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire border. As in the context of other African countries, boundaries imposed by European colonizers frequently divided ethnically similar groups across arbitrary national borders.
Below is a brief biography of F. Kenya from the back of this album:
This is a tribute to the music, life and times of the Late Dr. F Kenya
music provided by: Egya Anyimah