Death Snatches Jewel Ackah

The late Highlife Legend Jewel Ackah

Veteran Ghanaian highlife musician, composer and producer, Jewel Ackah, has died at the age of 73.

The death of Jewel Ackah brings to six the number of showbiz personalities who have passed on to glory this year.

They include C.K Mann, Ebony Reigns, Super OD, Fiifi Khan Agyarkwah (former administrator, Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) and William Asiedu (music producer).

Known for the hit songs such as ‘Adee Oyede’, ‘Mesan Mako Mekyi’, ‘Kyere Mase’, ‘Asomdwoe Hene’, ‘Jesus’, ‘Manye Yie’, ‘Me Dear, among others, Jewel Ackah died at his Tema Community 11 residence last Friday, April 27 at about 7:00pm.

Reports available indicate that the veteran musician has for the last decade been battling stroke and other ailments, which caused his face and body to bloat.

He was discharged from the 37 Military Hospital in Accra two weeks ago because he could not walk and talk and his condition was getting worse.

The late highlife musician, who composed the popular National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) anthem, ‘Arise’, before  his untimely death claimed that he did not receive support from the party after all the years of sacrifices for the party.  He also accused the NDC of neglect.

With over 27 albums to his credit, the highlife musician didn’t just produce hit songs but also nurtured many musicians in Ghana, and he is credited with giving several musicians their big break.

Jewel Ackah, who in 1974 released his first album titled ‘Gyaki Mea,’ worked with a number of prominent highlife musicians such as Ebo Taylor,  Elgrand Kwofie, C.K. Mann,  Jos Akins, Pat Thomas and a host of others.

He also teamed up with Pat Thomas to record the song ‘False Lover’ in 1974 after the release of his first album.

Between 1975 and 1979, Jewel Ackah worked with music groups such as Pick Ups Band, C.K. Mann’s Carousel Seven, the Eldoradoes, the Medican Lantics, S.T Express, among others. He was also a vocalist with the Sweet Talks Band.

Upon hearing about Jewel Ackah’s death, former President Jerry John Rawlings on Saturday paid glowing tribute to the late highlife musician Jewel Ackah.

Rawlings, in a tweet, acknowledged Jewel Ackah for the popularity of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the country through his musical compositions.

“You made a significant contribution to the Ghanaian music industry,” the former president and founder of the NDC said.

He added, “Your danceable tunes are immortalised in the NDC, helping to catapult its name across the country. Ghana has, indeed, lost a jewel. Fare thee well Jewel Ackah.”

Jewel Ackah, born in 1945 at Axim in the Western Region, was one of the few musicians who popularised highlife music in the 1980s and 1990s.

After years in the highlife scene, he found Christ and shifted to gospel music in the late 1990s.

Several personalities and groups, including an NDC group, the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) and Nana Appiah Mensah, CEO of Zylofon Media, last year made donations for the veteran musician’s upkeep and medical care.

 

By George Clifford Owusu

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