Ramblers Dance Band

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Formed in 1962 as a result of the big band highlife boom instigated by E.T. Mensah, the Ramblers were one of Ghana’s most popular touring and recording groups throughout the 60s and 70s. Under the leadership…
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Formed in 1962 as a result of the big band highlife boom instigated by E.T. Mensah, the Ramblers were one of Ghana’s most popular touring and recording groups throughout the 60s and 70s. Under the leadership of tenor saxophonist/arranger Jerry Hansen they developed a highly individual style, featuring two lead vocalists singing in close harmony over a lush 15-piece orchestral backing, mixing highlife with soul and Latin material. By the end of the 60s they had won large followings in neighbouring Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. During the 70s, they were the featured house band at the dancehall operated by leading Accra hotel The Ambassador. By the mid-70s the market for big band highlife was fast diminishing, although the band managed to scrape a living until the early 80s, when they finally broke up. Hansen emigrated, settling in New York. Sadly, his move meant that when the big band highlife revival occurred in the mid-80s, the group - lacking an effective alternative leader - were unable to make a successful comeback. In 1986, vocalist Charles Kodjo emigrated to London, where he joined Hi-Life International. The Ramblers reconvened in 1990, now under the leadership of Jerry Junior, releasing a comeback collection, Giants Of Dance Band Highlife, for USA label Original Music the following year.