Sol Amarfio funeral details out

Sol Amarfio on drums during a session
Sol Amarfio on drums during a session

Sol Amarfio, Osibisa’s ace drummer who passed on Dec. 13, 2022 would be laid to rest on Thursday March 2, 2023 at the Lashibi Funeral Home in Accra.

The master drummer however would have a wake ceremony conducted for him by the family on March 1 at Akotolante also in Accra.

Sol Amarfio’s thanksgiving and memorial service will be conducted on Sunday, March 5 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on the High Street.

Adoring fans, friends, associates and industry mates should note the attire to wear must bear white and black colours.

A younger Sol Amarfio with a drum
A younger Sol Amarfio with a drum

Sol Amarfio Music Journey

Amarfio was birthed in the traditional Ga community of Asere in Accra in 1938. He started drumming at the age of 14 being self—taught. Before Osibisa, he perfected his craft with the Rhythm Aces, Star Gazers and Comets bands in Ghana. He would set sail for England in 1961 via Liberia, Spain and France.

Amarfio teamed up with other London-based Ghanaian musicians such as George Lee Larnyoh and Willie Cheetham for gigs across Europe and North Africa before Osibisa was formed in 1969. In London, Solomon Amarki “Sol” Amarfio played with brothers Teddy Osei (saxophone) and Mac Tontoh (trumpet). The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 1971 with Tony Visconti as producer.

Mac Tonto, a founding Osibisa member, passed in 2010 after battling a severe stroke.

Kiki Gyan, another member of the band and one-time celebrated keyboard player passed in 2004 after a protracted struggle with drug addiction.

Sol Amarfio funeral poster
Sol Amarfio funeral poster

Amarfio parted ways with the Osibisa group in the early 1990s and relocated to Accra.

Four musicians from the continents of Africa and the Caribbean who had moved abroad formed the Ghanaian Afro-Rock group Osibisa in London in 1969. Their music, which blends elements of African, Caribbean, jazz, funk, rock, Latin, R&B, and highlife, was instrumental in raising awareness of African music among listeners in Europe and North America in the 1970s.

Together with such contemporaries as Assagai, Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, Demon Fuzz, and Noir, Osibisa was the most popular and long-lasting of the African-heritage bands in London and was significantly responsible for the emergence of world music as a commercially viable genre.

Nicknamed The Rhythm Man in his teens, Amarfio, who is also a composer, is well known for his song “Woyaya.” He also achieved international success with the group in 1976 with The Coffee Song, Sunny Day, and Pata Pata (1980).

Something of a family gift, Sol Amarfio had a brother Nii Amarkai I who was also a drummer.

The man who came to the world on Sept. 22, 1938, on his drumming and music gift recounted in a 2018 Graphic Showbiz interview: “I do what comes naturally to me behind the drums.  I don’t force out anything. I grew up with a lot of music and dance around me and the swing of those things sipped into me. Life is exciting when you travel and earn money while doing what you truly love.”

The master drummer, songwriter and composer was 84.

by michael eli dokosi/


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