Herman Asafo-Agyei profile

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Herman Asafo-Agyei

Herman Asafo-Agyei is without doubt one of Africa’s most celebrated bass players with a career spanning some 35 years. Herman’s enormous stage presence; his unique slapping and thumping style and his great rapport with audiences are a delight to watch. His dexterity as a bass player in a wide genre of music, has earned him the nickname ‘Wonderbass’ among his peers. Charlie Gillet a renowned UK radio DJ once described Herman in a radio interview in 1987 as the best all round African bass player he had ever observed in action. Herman joined Osibisa in 1985 and toured with them worldwide until 1993.

Born in Ghana, Herman’s first major break arrived at the young age of 17 when he was recommended to the late Faisal Helwani who without hesitation installed him as Bassist for his resident bands Basabasa and Bunzu Soundz at the Napoleon Night Club. Herman joined Wantu Wazuri under the leadership of popular guitarist Tommy Darling shortly afterwards and was voted best young bassist in Ghana in an unofficial poll held at the Arts Council of Ghana before he left in 1976 to study Law, Economics and Politics abroad. He was the most prolific African studio session bass player in the 1980’s and early 90’s in the UK. He has worked with all major UK-based African bands including King Masco from Sierra Leone and has either performed or recorded with veteran highlife composers and musicians such as the late ET Mensah; CK Mann; Jewel Ackah; Pat Thomas and Thomas Frimpong. He toured Israel with Kabala led by Mike Osapanin and played on their hit single ‘Ashewoara’. He was also founder member of Highlife International, the first highlife outfit to be signed to the Sterns Africa Record label.

However, from 1989 to 91, the lure of the dollar and the quest for more international success got the better of him and he signed up with the Afro Nova record label and relocated in Canada with his own band, Native Spirit. Native Spirit is to date one of the most influential Afro-funk outfits to have been exported to North America.

Herman gave up touring in 1996 to concentrate on his socio-legal career only to be recalled by Teddy Osei to rejoin the Osibisa line up in 2005. In a recent interview with the media in Ghana, Herman confessed: “Teddy Osei is the only band leader who has succeeded in luring me back into performing live”Herman is currently a Family Court Adviser and a Family Justice Consultant by profession and the Associate Pastor of Northolt Grange Baptist Church.