#PlayAfrica #Profile: Knowing the Legends, The Late Papa Yankson.
Benjamin Paapa Kofi Yankson was born on 22 June 1944 at Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana. He was born into a musical family with his father, Benjamin Akono Yankson, being a trumpeter with the Apam Brass Band, and his mother Akua Doma, a singer in the Christ Little Band of the Methodist Church. He attended Takoradi Methodist School for his primary education and proceeded to Ahantaman Secondary Commercial School, from which he graduated with a certificate in stenography. Throughout his early life, he had the desire to be a musician and would regularly sing along with his mother whenever she sung. His parents, though, wanted him to go into business.
In the 1970s, the leader of the regional band The Carousel Seven called C. K. Mann, influenced Anis Mubarak to sign Yankson to his band. C.K Mann had seen Yankson perform during Yankson’s mother’s funeral and this caught his attention to give him the opportunity to use his talent.
In 1975 he enrolled at the National Academy of Music at Winneba and graduated with a diploma in music. From 1982 to 1991 he worked as a music organizer at the Garrisons Education Unit of Burma Camp in Accra. In 1991, businessman Ebo Coker signed Yankson to his band Western Diamonds, after which he relocated to Takoradi where the band was based. Yankson left the band in 1993 after a successful stint and joined the Obuasi-based band Golden Nuggets. His move to Obuasi was influenced by the then-CEO of Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, Sam Jonah. After a while the band was moved to Accra, and in 1995 Yankson broke away and went solo.
Paapa Yankson recorded two dozen albums during his career. His hit songs included “Wiase Mu Nsem”, “Show Your Love”, “Wo Yere Anaa Wo Maame”, and “Tena Menkyen” which featured Paulina Oduro. In 1997 he composed “Yaaba”, which won Best Composition at the Komkomba Awards.
Throughout his career as a solo artiste, he was signed to the then known record label called Root Music which was responsible for his music executive production and distributions
Yankson taught and performed in many countries across the world, including the United States, Canada, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, and Holland.
Yankson was awarded the Grand Medal of Ghana during the 2006 National Honours and Awards Ceremony by President John Agyekum Kufour, in recognition of his contribution to Ghanaian music. He was among the first recipients of this award after the ceremony was revamped in 2006. He also won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
In 2016 Yankson grew progressively weaker and was unable to walk. He performed in a wheelchair at the Exclusive Men of The Year Awards in June and at the Bottles & Bands Festival 2016 in November.
On 21 July 2017, his family announced his death. It was reported that he had died in his sleep at his home in Dansoman in Accra.
Although the renowned highlife Musician is no more, but he’s having all his songs on Play Africa, The biggest music library in Africa. Through Root Music, the legend decided to protect his intellectual property while he earns sustainable income from his sensational songs.
To stream all Songs of the late Papa Yankson, download the Play Africa App on Google Play store, activate it and enjoy all Songs by the legend at no data charges.
Story by: Bismark Botchwey (Blogger & Publicist-Play Africa Inc. and Sintim Media)
Source: Ghanaweb.com, Wikipedia.com, Ebo Taylor-Root Music