Ephraim Amu

Modern Period

Born in Ghana

Ephraim Amu was born in a small village in the West African country of Ghana. His father was a wood carver, drummer and singer. His mother farmed and took care of their home and her 8 children. Ephraim was the youngest and began to love music in middle school, especially the organ music played during church services. Amu is called the Father of Ghanaian art music and believed it was important to include African culture and customs in Christian church services. He preached and composed many hymns and patriotic songs, including “Yen Ara Asase Ni” which is often performed at national events in Ghana. He had a long career as a teacher and was instrumental in developing the school of music and drama in the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana in Legon. Amu received the first honorary Doctor of Music Degree from the University of Ghana and was awarded the Grand Medal of the Republic of Ghana. He was the first contemporary musician to have his portrait printed on Ghanaian money.