Emmanuel Tettey Mensah, best known as E. T. Mensah (31 May 1919 – 19 July 1996), was a Ghanaian musician who was regarded as the "King of Highlife" music. He led the band "The Tempos", a group that toured widely in West Africa. Mensah was born at Accra, in the Gold Coast, West Africa, on 31 May 1919. His early education took place at the Government School, Accra, and later at Accra High School.
The original Tempo's band was formed in 1946, as a jam session group, by some European soldiers stationed in Accra; it played for army dances and at the Accra Club. As various members left to go to other stations, African musicians were brought in to take their place, until finally it became an all African band. E. Mensah joined the band in 1947, which at this time was led by tenor-saxophonist Joe Kelly.
T. Mensah & His Tempos Band has been played on NTS in shows including Kit Records, featured first on 2 February 2014. Songs played include Ghana Guinea Mali and Laura. Original source Last.
E T Mensah His Tempos Band. Jimmy Shand and His Strict Tempo Band Primrose Polka. Mensah and his Tempos Band Daavi loloto. Mensah And His Tempos Band The Tree and the Monkey. Jimmy Shand and His Strict Tempo Band My Love She's But a Lassie Yet. (play). Mensah and his Tempos Band Gbee bleo. Oscar Rabin and His Strict Tempo Dance Band Tea For Two. Mensah and his Tempos Band Bibiara wone bre.
Mensah was the first Ghanaian highlife artist I heard. From the first notes I was convinced, this is wonderful music. tracks; 1 Donkey calypso 2 Tea samba 3 Shemi ni oya 4 Laura 5 Munsuro 6 Sunday mirror 7 St. Peter’s calypso 8 Obaayi fi kumasi 9 Nkebo baaya 10 Stormy ass. This entry was posted in Ghana, Highlife by Moos. 16 thoughts on . ,Decca West . .
Shemi Ni Oya
St. Peter's Calypso
Obaayi Fi Kumasi
The Decca Record Company Limited
Gunga Din Edoh
Trumpet, Tenor Saxophone
E. T. Mensah*
Made in England
Emmanuel Tetteh Mensah was born at Accra, Gold Coast, in 1919, his early education took place at the Government School, Accra, and later at the Accra High School. At the age of twelve he learned to play flute in the Government School band, and the following year found him playing piccolo and flute in the Accra Orchestra whilst continuing his normal school studies. The leader of the Accra Orchestra at the time was Joe Lamptey, whose main interest lay in gathering talented youngsters together to form a band. E. T. Mensah continued to play with his orchestra and also learnt to play alto-saxophone. When his general education was completed, he went to a special school to study pharmacy, followed by a period of eight years in which he worked for the Government as a pharmacist. During this period he had little spare time for his music, but he did not entirely forsake his saxophone. His musical career got a chance when he opened his own drug store in Accra which gave him opportunity to finance his musical ventures. The original Tempo's band was formed in 1946, as a jam session group, by some European soldiers stationed in Accra; it played for army dances and at the Accra Club. As various members left to go to other stations, African musicians were brought in to take their place, until finally it became an all African band. They played impromptu pieces for dances, and they shared the engagement fees as a co-operative unit. E. T. Mensah joined the band in 1947, which at this time was led by tenor-saxophonist Joe Kelly. Shortly after this the band split-up to be reformed again this time with E. T. Mensah leading the group. The various members played together for some fifteen months as a jam session group, all members being allowed free expression in their playing, and ad lib playing of solos. Once again the band split as various members left to form their own bands. In 1950 E. T. Mensah brought in further promising players and for the first time the band went under the name of E. T. Mensah and his Tempo's band. During this period the band started to work to set arrangements and the solo spots were worked into the main arrangements still allowing the soloist a certain amount of free expression, thus maintaining the effect of impromptu solo playing. A rhythm section was trained to play the complex percussive harmonies of the Gold Coast highlife, and this was the start of the highlife vogue as it is known today in its modern form. The rhythm section followed that of the Latin American style, consisting of bongoes, maracas, claves, conga drum, guitar and string bass. This started a fashion that was soon adopted by other Gold Coast bands. At one time or another the band has numbered amongst its members such Gold Coast musical personalities as Joe Kelly (tenor-saxophone), Tom Grippman (trombone), Spike Anyanko (alto-saxophonist) and Guy Warren (drums). As one of the first professional bands in the Gold Coast, it had the opportunity to embark on extensive tours of the country, visiting Kumasi, Tamale, Cape Coast as well as visiting neighbouring Dahomey, and Nigeria. Nigerians have had the chance of hearing the first band to play in the newly opened "Lido" night club in Accra, and has entertained dancers at "The Week-end in Havana", "Kit-Kat" and many other nightspots in the capital. E. T. Mensah is now encouraging members of the band to compose new calypsos and sambas, to enlarge the band's repertoire and to make a variation from the highlife tempo. Most of the titles featured on this long playing record are dressed up versions of African folk tunes, some are local compositions by members of the band, others are based on factual happenings following the traditional practice with calypsos. This record is representative of the band's activities over a period of three years. 1953 to 1955, and contains most the band's frequently requested titles. This is not the sophisticated music of the modern dance hall, but playing which inspires an abandoned type of dance seen in the West African night clubs and bars. It may not have the polish or technique of the large-scale European and American bands, but it has the ingredients necessary to fill these West African nightspots with excited dancers, dancing as only African people can, dancing in sheer, abandonment to the rhythms of the highlife and the calypso. In the three years that these recordings cover, the band line-up of musicians has changed from time to time but on these titles you can hear the playing of E. T. Mensah (trumpet and tenor-saxophone); Spike Anyanko, Spivak Dodoo (alto-saxophone); Glen Cofie, Rich Kojo (trombone); Tricky Johnson, Dizzy Acquaye (guitar); Robert Veale (string bass); Tom-Tom Addo (drums); Dan Acquaye (bongos); Gunga Din Edoh (maracas); Herbert Thompson (conga drum). On these recordings vocals are taken by various members of the band, prominent amongst these being Dan Acquaye and Tom-Tom Addo.
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