Koo Nimo is well noted for his classic palm-wine music that features acoustic guitars and rolling percussion combined with storytelling. His music which is loved by many also dominated the music scenes for much of the twentieth century. Koo Nimo is one of the most celebrated legends in the Ghanaian music industry.
Agya Koo Nimo, as he is affectionately called is known in real life as Kwabena Boa-Amonsem. He was born in 1934 in Fosse in the Ashanti region of Ghana. His father was a trumpeter and his mother a member of the Methodist choir.
Koo Nimo traces his music career to his childhood days when he used to play the organ at church. Growing up in his village, he taught brass band music, guitar and drumming. It was during that time that he adopted the stage name: Koo Nimo. “Ko” for Kofi and “Nimo” for someone who takes the blame for someone else’s wrong doing.
In 1957, by his early twenties, he formed the Ghanaian roots ensemble, Adadam Agofomma which transformed highlife music in the 50's. The group gained huge recognition across the country for its music and versatility. Koo Nimo and his Addadam Agofomma first received national acclaim for his performance of folk music. The group also received the Konkoma Award for its contribution to Ghanaian highlife music.
The albums -'Osaberima' and 'vintage palm wine' clearly demonstrate Koo Nimo's music legacy with his palm wine quartet. These albums feature greatly in teaching traditional African music across Europe and America.
“Yaa Amponsah”, “Efie me for”, “Old man plants a coconut tree” and “See wo nom me” are but a few popular tunes by Koo Nimo.
Koo Nimo became the first Ghanaian to have his work put on a compact disk in 1990 when his eight-song album Osabarima was released.
Koo Nimo was President of MUSIGA (the Musicians Union of Ghana) in 1979. He was elected based on his services to Ghanaian music as a performer, teacher and administrator.
In 1985, he was appointed interim chairman of COSGA, the Copyright Society of Ghana. He was also made an honorary life member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.
Again, in recognition for his services to music, he received the prestigious Asanteman award from the Asantehene in February 1991. In the same year, he received the Flag-star Award from ECRAG (Entertainment Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana). Later that year, he was invited to serve on the National Folklore Board of Trustees.
In 1998, he was employed as a Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, for two years. He later took a similar position at the University of Michigan.
Koo Nimo’s name is well recognised for his contribution to the survival of highlife music in Ghana. He is also highly regarded for his music throughout Africa and the world. His works still feature in music studies in the West African Examination syllabus.
Koo Nimo strives to preserve the Ghanaian culture through music and storytelling.
“Fame is a vapour, popularity an accident, riches take wings, only one thing endures and that is character”-Koo Nimo.
Information from https://www.graphic.com.gh/business/business-news/agya-koo-nimo-doyen-of-ghanaian-highlife-music.html, https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.modernghana.com/amp/entertainment/21629/dr-agya-koo-nimothe-hero-this-generation-must-know.html, https://worldmusic.net/products/highlife-roots-rev was used in this story