Life gets sweeter for Ebo Taylor
He turned 78 last Tuesday, January 7 and there were congratulatory messages from all over the world praising guitarist, composer, arranger and teacher Ebo Taylor for being in the forefront now in the promotion of contemporary popular music from Africa and around the globe.
The reality is that the whole world has become Ebo Taylor’s backyard over the last few years. He has been touring and reaching out with his smart blend of highlife and Afro-beat.
Despite having been active in music for decades, it is only now that Taylor is being celebrated almost everywhere. His two most recent albums: Love and Death and Appia Kwa Bridge have been released around the world.
Places he has taken his music since 2009 include France, Portugal, Switzerland, Holland, Japan, Spain, England, Germany, Nigeria and Brazil.
Plans are already finalised for gigs this year in the United States, Canada, Australia, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya.
Busier in his late 70s than he had ever been in his entire career, the highlife giant from Saltpond in the Central Region represents the generation of Ghanaian guitarists that took inspiration from the early masters of jazz and classical guitar and integrated their own approaches to arrive at something unique.
Though capable of handling all kinds of groove, Taylor who began his career in the 1950s is held in high esteem mainly for his massive contribution to the development of highlife, especially in the big band vein.
Nobody disputes Ebo Taylor’s proficiency on the guitar but he also stands out as a splendid arranger. His approach to highlife and Afro-beat are being studied in the music departments of some universities in Europe and Africa.
Interestingly, some of the songs Taylor has been playing on his recent tours were written decades ago. He says good music will always be good music, no matter when it was created.
Taylor has no qualms describing his music simply as ‘funk life’ though it contains variety of elements of including jazz, Afro-beat, funk, highlife and scintillating Fante idioms.
“I don’t regret being a musician. I have had my day and it is still alright that the world has embraced me quite late in my career,” Taylor said in a recent interview.