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World Music Institute: Gyedu-Blay Ambolley + Natu Camara

Ghanaian highlife artist performs his New York City debut

For the first time in America, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and an eight-piece band will perform his 1975 debut album, Simigwa, in its entirety! Gyedu-Blay Ambolley is a musical luminary hailing from Ghana, West Africa, with a staggering 29 albums under his belt. Known affectionately as the "Simigwa Do Man,” Ambolley’s musical journey began in the vibrant port city of Sekondi-Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana. His early fascination with music blossomed into a lifelong passion. From mastering his father’s flute at the tender age of eight to honing his guitar skills under the mentorship of “Uncle Bonku,” Sammy Lartey, and Ebo Taylor, Ambolley’s musical odyssey has been nothing short of extraordinary. This all led to Ambolley becoming a musical life force and exploding on the scene in 1973 with a jazzy highlife sound called “Simigwa-Do.” His name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley’s groundbreaking debut solo album, Simigwa, stands as a cornerstone of Ghanaian music history (and one of its most iconic album covers). Simigwa stands as Ambolley’s magnum opus, a masterpiece fusing together the rich tapestry of highlife, afrobeat, folk and funk.

Natu Camara is a powerhouse hailing from the vibrant heart of West Africa. As a dynamic singer, songwriter, and humanitarian, she blends Guinean traditional sounds with pop, soul, and rock, creating an Afro-rock experience that knows no borders. Natu's mesmerizing performances tackle global issues, from love to child marriage, loneliness, unity, and pressing concerns, touching hearts worldwide. Beyond her musical talent, she embodies, resilience, and hope, connecting spirits in a way that feels almost spiritual. Her unwavering commitment to social justice adds an inspiring dimension to her artistry, making her a true luminary in the world of music.

Additional media support for this performance is provided by WBGO.

Founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit, World Music Institute (WMI) has served as one of the leading presenters of world music and dance within the United States. WMI is committed to presenting the best in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world to enrich lives through the arts, promote awareness and appreciation of the world’s rich cultural traditions, and encourage cross-cultural dialogue and exchange. WMI presents virtually and at venues throughout the city of New York and depends on public and private funding to accomplish its mission.

Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America is a free outdoor festival that welcomes all New Yorkers to experience the city’s vibrant arts and culture. The series provides a platform for extraordinary artists and serves as a vital outdoor venue for a wide array of New York’s cultural institutions.

On the lawn

Bring your own picnic or purchase food and drinks from tents on the east side of the lawn. Attendees can enjoy cuisine from the five boroughs with a rotating line-up of artisanal vendors curated by Hester Street Fair.

Stout NYC also offers giant pretzels, gourmet popcorn and other light bites as well as a selection of beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.

Bryant Park lends out hundreds of free blankets on a first-come, first-served basis, or bring your own cotton or fleece blanket. To protect the lawn, please do not sit on waterproof materials such as plastic tarps, yoga mats, or inflatable chairs. 

Take a seat in one of the pre-set chairs on the lawn or grab a chair from the gravel. You can use a chair anywhere in the park except for the center lawn "blanket zone". 

Find jugglers, hula hoops, giant Jenga, and more fun on the east side of the lawn at select events. 

We love dogs, but dog urine can leave the lawn with bald spots. Dogs are welcome on the gravel and bluestone, but please do not bring dogs on the lawn. 

Performances are cancelled when it is unsafe to be outdoors. In some cases, the lawn may be too wet to open but the performance may continue. Follow @bryantparknyc on Twitter and Instagram for day-of event updates. You can also check the lawn status on the homepage.