Ebo Taylor’s new album, Yen Ara, marks the Ghanaian highlife and Afrobeat legend’s 60th anniversary as a professional musician. Ebo talks about hanging out with Fela Kuti and the Beatles in “swinging
London”, the importance of jazz in shaping his style and the changing fortunes of West African highlife.
Confusion surrounds the exact chronology of Ebo Taylor’s lengthy career, and over the years he too has been flexible with dates and events. A lot of water has, after all, passed under the bridge. There are some certainties, however. Taylor was born in 1936 on Ghana’s Cape Coast, where he still lives, in Saltpond City. Around 90 road-miles west of Accra, Cape Coast is home to a string of fishing villages where traditional Ghanaian music continues to be part of daily life and where Taylor grew up listening to the roots highlife that has always been at the heart of his style.