By Kouame Koulibaly
Renowned ethnomusicologist and composer, Emeritus Prof. J.H. Kwabena Nketia, has said Agya Koo Nimo’s legacy of beautiful music and unique way of playing the guitar must be preserved in our educational system.
Speaking at the launch of a 315-page book titled “Six Strings and a Note, Legendary Agya Koo Nimo in His Own Words”, at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Prof Nketia described the launch as a landmark event in honour of a man with a deep affection for his culture and country.
“The man’s legacy must be institutionalized so there is a bit of Agya Koo Nimo that people must learn when they go to music school or take music courses. I would like everyone to think about it because the man cannot do that by himself ,” Prof. Nketia stated. The book was written by Mr E. Obeng-Amoako Edwards, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who lives in Texas, United States and Accra. Prof. Nketia wrote the book’s foreword.
Born Kwabena Boa-Amponsem 85 years ago, Agya Koo Nimo has collected numerous accolades locally and internationally for his unique compositions. In the book, the author carefully travels through Agya Koo Nimo’s early memories in Foase, a small village in the Ashanti Region; and his encounter with Mr. Daniel K. Sam, a catechist who taught him to play the organ, and eventually exposing him to music in addition to what he had learned from his parents.
The book also takes interesting turns through the philosophy woven through Agya Koo Nimo’s being, and the psychology behind the music he creates. Speaking on “The Koo Nimo I Know” at the launch, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, Vice Chancellor of the Central University said Agya Koo Nimo was “the epitome of indigenous learning and philosophy allied with a rare capacity to lucidly convey his thoughts in diverse forums, traditional settings and contemporary academic settings.” He said Agya Koo Nimo’s intimacy with his guitar cannot be mistaken as a metaphor.
“He confesses visualizing the acoustic guitar as an ideal female body that deserves gentle handling and cuddling. Never a coarse stroke or rough handling from Agya Koo Nimo’s fingers,” Prof. Yankah stated. He described “Six Strings and a Note” as “a rare treasure in which the life of the legend is painstakingly recounted.”
The book’s author said it had been an interesting journey working on the book over the last four years and that it was necessary for Ghanaians to embrace their history and heroes.
“If we don’t know where we are coming from, it is almost impossible to identify where we are going,” Mr Edwards said. Copies of the book were available at the launch and popular music star, Kojo Antwi bought the first copy when it was auctioned by emcee for the event, KSM.
“Agya Koo Nimo is a man I cherish so much for what he has done for our music and our country. He is a hero who has inspired me and others in many ways and I’ll always treasure him,” Kojo Antwi said.
The launch event was punctuated with performances by Agya Koo Nimo as well as the seprewa players, Osei Korankye and his 16-year-old daughter, Abena Serwaa. Agya Koo Nimo is well known for songs such as ‘Aburokyire Abrabo’, ‘Naa Densua’, ‘Akura Dua Kube’, ‘Ohia Ye Ya’, ‘Odo Akosombo’ and ‘Efie Ni Fie’.