Osibisa is a British Afro-pop band, founded in London in 1969 by four expatriate African and three Caribbean musicians. Osibisa were one of the first African bands to become widely popular, leading to claims of founding World Music.
In Ghana in the 1950s, Teddy Osei (saxophone), Sol Amarfio (drums), Mamon Shareef and Farhan Freere (flute) played in a highlife band called The Star Gazers. They left to form The Comets, with Osei’s brother Mac Tontoh on trumpet, and scored a hit in West Africa with their 1958 song “Pete Pete.” In 1962 Osei moved to London to study music on a scholarship from the Ghanaian government. In 1964 he formed Cat’s Paw, an early “world music” band that combined highlife, rock and soul. In 1969 he persuaded Amarfio and Tontoh to join him in London, and Osibisa was born.
The name Osibisa was described by the band members as meaning “criss cross rhythms that explode with happiness” but it actually comes from “osibisaba” the Fante word for highlife. Their style influenced many of the emerging African musicians over the last forty plus years.