Smilin' Osei - Wayo Tactics
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cd cover Smilin' Osei
Wayo Tactics (Coast to Coast)

Smilin' Osei comes from Kwhanu Nkwatia in Ghana and he plays with his swinging band a style wich is called Afro Konkoma, a rhythmic and pointed style with highlife guitars and "coirs" of trompets, trombones and saxophones. In his music, you sometimes can hear his past as a gospel singer and he says to be inspired by Bob Marley, The Commodores, James Brown, the Bee Gees and Otis Redding. He performs both as a solosinger and with band.

Smilin' Osei: vocals, clave, congas
Mensah: guitars, bass guitar, backing vocals
Zoumana Diarra: solo guitar
Sebastiaan Kapteijn: drums
Shabbah Kahamba: bass guitar
Michiel Cornelisse: synthesizers
Pape Seck: sabar, talking drum, djembe
Joop van der Linden: trombone
Gijs Levelt: trumpet
Janfie van Strien: alt saxophone
Kees Romers: baritone saxophone
Andries van Wieren: drums
Bas Blanken: acoustic guitar

The artist's own words:
Smiling Kwame Osei (Ghana 1959) Smilin' comes from the Agona tribe of Kwahu Nkwatia in the eastern region of Ghana. Osei wears Rasta like his late grandmother.

As a child I started school at Agona Swedru Roman Catholic School. At the age of nine the whole family had to move to the capital city Accra. I continued my education in Accra Barns memorial School.

Music was in me right from the beginning Jah created me. At the age of nine I used to sing with a friend of mine in a café called Harlem Café in Accra. We song music of Cliff Richard. One of them I still remember is Summer Holidays. As a child I loved pop songs, blues and soul music. Especially songs of Sam Cook, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, The Commodores, The Temptations and many many more. The real singing began at Kwahu Asakraka Catholic Church. Let me tell you one funny story. I was one afternoon in my classroom beating a soul rhythm of James Brown, singing the song "I am black and proud". At that moment my teacher was not in the classroom. Anyway I cannot remember where he was gone. He then returned and heard me singing. Instead of giving me a compliment, no way. He rather punished me in front of the whole class by whipping my bottom with a cane. This story happened at Kwahu Asakraka Catholic School. A week later the same teacher who punished me because I was making noise in the classroom, came to me and said, Osei, I would like you to join the catholic church choir. I said okay no problem, but on the other hand I was still angry with him. Anyway his punishment could not stop me from making nice music. It is a pity this teacher of mine could not live long to see the beautiful music I am doing now. I joined the choir and I was really good in singing alto part. This time the teacher had much respect for me. He was then the choirmaster of the church. I was every Sunday going to church 'cause I loved to sing with the choir.

In the olden days some parents thought to be a musician was like a prostitution job. Some may say it is African mentality. When I had my leaving school certificate, mum wanted me to be a tailor. But Osei was born to make music. In the 1970's as a young boy, I went to Lagos, Nigeria to hassle for my daily bread. I did different kind of jobs, like construction job. I worked in a few factories, did a security job at the airport. I stowed away on a Greek ship, later I was given a contract as a sailor on that ship. In the early 1980's I moved from Lagos to Port Harcourt. There I thought now is the time to begin my own business and move on with the music. So what I did was that I learned how to make slippers from a Ghanaian shoemaker living in Port Harcourt. Within four weeks I knew how to do the slippers. In the daytime I would make like four to six dozen of slippers and sell them in the market. Then at nighttime I would play for the Lidokians Band at the Lido Night Club. I began as a percussion player, later backing vocals. Two months later I became a vocalist for the band. At that time I used to sing covers of Bob Marley,The Commodores, Jimmy Cliff and many more.

I also played for the Professional Seagulls Band, The Boasi Band and The Ewiase Peoples Band before I finally settled in the Netherlands. In Rotterdam I made my first CD called "Obaantan Se Ayeyi" which means thanks and praises to all the mothers for their struggles, care and attention for their children. My second CD was recorded in Groningen called "Alarm Blo" which means don't be afraid of a ghost. It is only man that is capable of hatred, envy, jealousy and destruction. My third and new CD is called "Wayo Tactics" which means a selfish someone. The partner could not stand it anymore so he said one day, I've had enough of your wayo tactics so pack your things and go! My Music has style and purpose. It is a new style labeled "Afro Konkoma" by Smiling Osei. Afro Konkoma is a mixture of traditional Ghanaian roots music, highlife and reggae.

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