b. 1946, Sekondi, Ghana. Originally a percussionist, Lebanese-Ghanaian Helwani came to the fore as the owner of Accra’s influential Napoleon Club in the 70s, from where he managed and produced many of the country’s most talented young bands - including Basa Basa Sounds and Hedzolleh Soundz. It was Helwani who originally put Hedzolleh in the studio with Hugh Masekela. He also briefly managed Fela Kuti during the late 70s, when the Afrobeat star was on the run from the police and army back in Nigeria, as well as overseeing the careers of groups such as the Uhurus. He established the Studio 99 complex in 1984 in Liberia, producing 36 cassette albums in its first year of operation. As an impresario, Helwani continues to be a force on the west African roots music scene.
Share this page