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  • Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey

Finally Online: "Kugblenu" by Guy Kofi & Grace Darling

By Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey

Guy Kofi and Grace Darling's 1990s hit song, Kugblenu, finally gets online after years of desperate searches for the track by fans.

"Kugblenu" (ku gble nu), which translates as "death destroys," is an old beloved Ewe dirge.

The track was recorded in the 1990s by base guitarist Guy Kofi & songster Grace Darling, an all-Gbi couple who hail from Kpeme and Abansi respectively.

It was a huge thrill for Ewe music lovers and Gbis especially when Kugblenu hit the airwaves in the '90s as part of a seven-track album debuted by Guy and Grace, titled "Blacks Are Beautiful."

The all-so-relatable lyrics, blended with familiar tunes and electrifying rhythm, was Guy and Grace's modernized version and perhaps the first recording of the song.

Production of the album was financed by the now retired police commissioner and pharmacist, Augustine Kukukokor, a fellow Gbi from Kpeme.

It won't be a stretch to say back in the day, no funeral that took place in the Hohoe area was complete without the sound of kugblenu.

As in many other cases of struggling musicians however - especially before the digital revolution - "Blacks Are Beautiful" soon went off the shelves. Consequently, the fate of Guy Kofi & Grace Darling's first and only album to date, was left hanging on the survival of sold cassettes and dubbed tracks.

Known in private life as John Condobrey, the man popularly known as Guy Kofi and wife Grace Darling, officially Grace Kwaku (from the Adzima family), took to music since their childhoods in Hohoe. They began performing as teens and were members of a famous band that originated in Hohoe between the late 1960s and early 1970s, known as Supreme Dynamos. Members of Supreme Dynamos famously included Dr. Victor Korda - popularly known as Vico Pino.

Guy is famous for his magical fingers on the guitar, and Grace - a versatile songbird.

Through the decades, the parents of two daughters and grandparents, who made careers of their talents, continued playing professionally in life bands, dedicating nearly three decades to Ghana Prisons Band alone, starting from the 1980s.s

Guy is currently on retirement from Ghana Prisons Service and the Prisons Band. However, don't expect him to walk away from the guitar anytime soon, if ever at all. He is a pro who continues to wow audiences of all kinds anytime occasion demands and mostly unrehearsed.

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