Bernard George Kobena Brako is a name that will always be synonymous with contemporary High-Life music, not only in his beloved homeland of Ghana, but all over the world. Time and again, he has earned the privilege of seeing his name added to the legends of the Highlife music industry.
Simply known as Ben Brako, he enjoys a popularity that reaches all the way back to the sixties, back to his days as a school boy at St. Augustine’s College. It was there that he became the lead singer for the then nationally acclaimed School Band “Famous Flames.” It was at St Augustine’s College that Ben Brako emerged and became the first ever Ghanaian to rise to national teenage pop stardom. The formidable talent and prowess of a young Ben Brako and his fellow bandmates led to the “Famous Flames” being in high demand all over the country, as they blazed a trail and made a significant impact in the music industry during their summer holidays.
After completing his O-levels at St. Augustine’s college, Ben Brako left his native Cape Coast and moved on to sixth form at Tema Secondary School where he obtained his A- level qualifications. At this point in his storied journey, Ben was still performing nationally with the “Famous Flames” as well doing televised solo performances. He played with the band professionally during school holidays till 1971.
Ben Brako’s next stop on his educational path was the University of Ghana to pursue a BSc. (Hons.) in Agricultural Economics. Even then he was still actively involved in music and surprised very few when he formed another brilliant band called “Agoromba Gudo Reba” in 1974/75. The band only performed compositions created by Ben himself and a few other compositions by the legendary Ephraim Amu.
Outside of music Ben was the Commercial Manager for Alpha West Africa Shipping Lines, Tema between 1977 and 1981. He also had a spell teaching at Achimota School where he taught Agricultural Science between 1976 and 77. From 1981 to 1983 he was the Administrative Manager at Film Africa Ltd in Accra. He moved on to become the owner and CEO of Commercial Consultancy Centre in Accra in 1983.
In 1986, after a long lull away from music, but with success at various executive positions and businesses, Ben Brako began feeling unfulfilled in his life, and as a result left Ghana for London to record the album that would make history and change a whole music genre. This first album, Baya, remains a top seller even till now. This album won him both “Album of the year” and “Artiste of the year” awards in 1988. (While in London he also picked up another degree B.Sc (Hons) Media and Communications (IT) UEL, London.)
Since Baya he has recorded and released four studio albums and several hit collaborations with a plethora of talent from all across the world of music. Some of these include Hugh Masakela, Alfred Kariban Bannerman, John K, David Yowell, Obuor, Enox Edu, Victor Mensah, Papa Jay Mensah, Wutah Cobby, Amandzeba, Bessa Simons, Pat Thomas, Gloria Dwamena, Ofie Cudjoe, Pauline Oduro, Prince Midas, Paulette Broohm, Yomi Sower, Shasha Malley, Steve Bedi, Nasty Tay, Tic Tac, Sony Bali, Ball J, Okyeame Kwame, Kojo Osew, Paul Greenstein, Paulette Bhroom and Papa Flava among many others .
His discography includes Baya, Everybody, Siwdu, Adende and One Man No Chop. He has also released compilations like The Best of Ben Brako, Kings of Highlife and Nakasie Highlife Stars.