'WE HAVE LOST A GREAT MUSICIAN'
SAXOPHONIST Jerry Hansen, founder of the famous Ramblers International Band who passed away at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on April 7, will be buried at the Osu Cemetery in Accra on Friday, June 15. He was 85.
Jerry Hansen, also known as Yaw Donkor, was a composer, arranger, producer, performer and saxophonist pioneer of highlife music and a personality of international repute.
He was one of the founders of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) and headed the union at a point when conditions for musicians were critical. He was able to handle situations effectively because of his sense of maturity and wisdom.
Jerry, whose nickname was Chico, was good listener to problems of musicians and that was why he was able to maintain his Ramblers International Band for a lifetime. Jerry had a way of solving problems that came his way. He was a pioneer of highlife music in this country and helped spread the music all over the world.
The founder and leader of the Ramblers International band released many hit songs such as Work and Happiness, Ama Bonsu, Awuraba Artificial, Owuo and Knock on Wood, a song originally recorded by American singer, Eddie Floyd.
In the 1960s, Jerry Hansen and his Ramblers International was among the most popular bands in Ghana and played regularly at venues like the Ambassador, Star and Metropole hotels. The band excelled so much in its performances that it was asked to be part of the entertainment package laid on for Queen Elizabeth whenever she visited Ghana in 1961. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who was a great music lover, made Jerry and his Ramblers International proud when he shook hand with the band during the visit of the Queen. Ramblers International’s song, Work and Happiness, was encouraging Ghanaians to work and build a beautiful Ghana.
Jerry Hansen and his Ramblers International were used during political campaigns in some African countries like Gambia, Senegal, and Sierra Leone for a peaceful election. Jerry and his Ramblers International performed abroad many times in places such as United States, Britain and Germany.
In the late 1960s, Jerry Hansen met the late Kenyan leader, Jomo Kenyata at a trade fair in Ghana and that led to the Rambler International going on a two week trip to Kenya.
The band signed recording deals with many companies in Ghana, Nigeria and Britain, especially Decca Records and released scores of albums that made highlife popular in African and the world.
A calm, soft-spoken gentle person endowed with much wisdom, he shall always be remembered for his great contribution to music in Ghana and elsewhere.
Indeed, all musicians and music lovers have lost a great composer, arranger, performer, saxophonist, father, brother and colleague.
Jerry, the vacuum you have created will be difficult to fill. We believe you are in the hands of the gracious and merciful Almighty God. His blessings are upon you and we take consolation in the fact that you are resting comfortably in His bosom. Jerry, rest in peace.
Source: Graphic Showbiz Thursday, June 14, 2012 Page 9