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Philip Gbeho

Philip Gbeho

Introduction

About

Philip Comi Gbeho, born on January 14, 1904, in Vodza, a fishing village in the Volta Region of Ghana, was a distinguished Ghanaian musician, composer, and teacher. He gained widespread recognition for his significant contributions to the field of music, notably as the composer of the Ghana National Anthem.


In his early life, Philip Gbeho attended the Keta Roman Catholic Boys School, where he discovered his musical talent and quickly learned to play the organ. His parents, Doe Gbeho and Ametowofa, were a fisherman and a trader with musical talent, respectively. Gbeho's passion for music led him to the Achimota Teacher Training College in Accra in January 1925, where he excelled in piano and violin under the guidance of expatriate teachers.


After graduating as a teacher in December 1929, Gbeho returned to Keta to teach at the Roman Catholic Boys School. He became the organist at St. Michael's Catholic Cathedral in Keta, founded the St. Cecilia's Choir, and established an informal school of music, preparing students for external examinations. His dedication and contributions to music in and around Keta caught the attention of Achimota College authorities, leading to an invitation in 1938 to teach music at the college.


Gbeho's musical journey extended to the United Kingdom in 1949 when he received a one-year scholarship from the British Council to study at the Trinity College of Music. While in London, he became a prominent figure in the cultural community, holding lectures, demonstrations, and performances on African, especially Gold Coast, music. His contributions included regular broadcasts on the BBC overseas radio programs.


Returning to the Gold Coast in 1950, Gbeho continued his efforts to promote indigenous music. He advocated for its inclusion in schools and colleges, despite opposition from colonial missionary overlords who associated it with pagan worship. In 1954, he was appointed the Chairman of the Interim Committee for the Arts Council of the Gold Coast.


Philip Gbeho's notable contribution to the cultural life of Ghana was the creation of a National Symphony Orchestra and Choir in 1963 to promote the understanding and enjoyment of Western classical music. Additionally, he won an open competition to compose the National Anthem for newly independent Ghana on the eve of its Independence celebrations in 1957.


Despite facing challenges, Gbeho persevered in promoting Ghanaian culture and indigenous music. His dedication earned him honors, including the Grand Medal in 1965, and a plaque from the Arts Council of Ghana and the Ministry of Education in 1972.


Philip Gbeho passed away on September 24, 1976, leaving a lasting legacy in Ghanaian music and cultural development. His impact extended beyond his lifetime, and his family includes notable individuals such as Victor Gbeho, Theresa Abui Tetteh, and Peter Tsatsu Gbeho, who have continued to contribute to various fields.


Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Gbeho

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Place of Birth: Vodza, Volta Region

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Date of Birth: January 14, 1904

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