Highlife musician A.B. Crentsil dies at 79

Highlife legend Alfred Benjamin Crentsil has passed away at age 79.

The news was announced by ace recording engineer, Fred Kyei Mensah (Fredyma) on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in a Facebook post.

The cause of his death is currently unknown, but reports say he was ill for some time.

Tributes have started pouring in for the man regarded as one of the greatest Ghanaian musicians.

About AB Crentsil

Abraham Benjamin Crentsil (born 1943) began his musical career with the El Dorados of the State Aboso Glass Factory and the Lantics in Takoradi.

In 1973, he joined the Sweet Talks that included Eric Agyeman, Smart Kwaku Nkansah and Pope Flynn.

This group was the resident band of the Talk of the Town Nightclub in Tema owned by Jonathan Abrahams, the brother of the highlife singer Joe Mensah.

Crentsil’s Sweet Talks (later re-named Super Sweet Talks) released albums such as ‘Adam and Eve’, ‘Mbesiafo Nto Nsa’, ‘Kusum Beat’, ‘Spiritual Ghana’ and also ‘Hollywood Highlife Party’ recorded in the United States.

In 1979, the group broke up. Whilst its lead guitarist Smart Nkansah moved on to form the Black Hustlers and then Sunsum, Crentsil set up the Super Brains, which released (featuring guitarist Smart Nkansah) the song ‘Atia’ which warns of the danger of drinking too much local gin. Crentsil then formed Ahenfo (Kings) in 1982 which released ‘Tantie Alaba’ and the controversial and erotic song ‘Moses’.

During the 1980s, Crentsil mainly recorded in Canada and his band toured abroad extensively. His top 1980s releases include ‘Kafo Mpo Dzidzi’, ‘Abrokyiri Abrabo’, ‘Party Time with The Stars’ and ‘Toronto by Night’.

More recent recordings are ‘Highlife in Canada’ and a 1991 re-release by World Circuit Records of his ‘Hollywood Highlife Party’. Since the 1990s, many of his hits have also been released on CD by the UK-based companies World Circuit Records and Sterns.

In the mid-2000s, he teamed up with the highlife artist Obour to produce a collaborative highlife-hiplife album. Crentsil still makes occasional appearances, for instance at the Highlife Festivals and Parties organised periodically in Accra by Mark Okraku-Mantey of Slip Music.

He is known for songs such as ‘Moses’, ‘Atia’, ‘Obi Baa Wiase’, ‘Angelina’, ‘Papa Samo’, ‘Yewo Adze Oye’, among others.