Between 1991 and 2002, they were known as the Western Diamonds Band, the music group went under ground and re-surfaced in 2004, identifying itself as the Akablay and Abiza Band, a solely Hi Life band, with the aim of making the world appreciate the Ghanaian culture through music and as well African music in general.
According to the leader, Aka Blay, that the band which is a five-man faction which consists of himself as the lead singer and guitarist, James Begyina, the Drummer, Robert Johnson, the keyboardist, Bright Owusu, the bassist and Percussion by Sunday and are hoping to go the extra mile no matter their challenges.
Aka Blay, in an interview noted that what baffled him and sees as their major challenge is the fact that “in our own country, we have to pay media practitioners before getting publication in newspapers and even on radio and television programmes unlike other countries, we rather get paid by media houses for granting them interviews.”
Adding that due of some of these bad practices in the Ghanaian media, even when an artiste has great songs, he cannot get the opportunity to exhibit his talent because he has no money to pay to gain air play.
“Because things are not rightfully done in this country; it is hard to gain visa from embassies to travel outside the country for shows, especially not when some bands men have been granted visa with the excuse of attending shows but never return and it is as well difficult to get financial support from organizations here, to move on with our music career”, he lamented.
Aka Blay indicated that the group after re-surfacing had their first show at the National Theatre in 2005 and have since been ensuring that “people in other parts of the world appreciates our culture because as a nation, our culture is us and we are known by our culture.”
He revealed that soon the group will be touring various Junior and Senior High Schools in the country to educate students on the Ghanaian Culture and how they relate it to music, especially Hi-Life, to help raise the flag of Ghana without shame and as well avoid bringing disgrace to this Country when they are asked anything about their culture anywhere at all they find themselves.
The band has played at such shows as ‘Burger Hi life’ in March 2007 and April 2008, Plus 233 with a Caribbean group from Trinidad and Tobago, Alliance Fraincaise, Independence Splash with Rocky Dawuni at Tamale and the just ended Ghana Music Award 2011 with C.K. Mann, among others.
“In our lifetime achievement, we have received two awards both as best instrumentalists in 2005 during the Sunset Awards and Ghana Music Awards 2010, all in Ghana here and we grateful to Almighty God for this recognition.”
On tours, he mentioned that the group had been to such Scandinavian countries as Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Holland and Italy and have had such great opportunities to play on such big platforms during their festival celebrations as the Fins festival in Belgium, the Carnivals and Death Festivals in Holland, “all this happened in the last three years and when we play, they marvel at our performance and as well appreciate our kind of music.”
According to Blay, the group will be playing at Denmark’s remarkable festivals as the Roskilde Festival, Skanderborg Festival, Skagen Festival, Tonder Festival, Sundsore festival, Skive Festival, Jelling festival, Langelands Festival, Kalundborg Rocker, all in summer this year.