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GONZO WEEKLY #179: Jon meets Gregg

Gregg Kofi-Brown is, of course best known for his work with seminal African funk rock pioneers Osibisa. They were one of the first, if not THE first African band to achieve popular success in the West. With conscience laden lyrics and funky afro-rhythms Gregg has a created a multi-national musical platform with his guest artists that speaks to many peoples across the world. Gregg Kofi Brown was executive producer of the 2003 Evening Standard cover-mount CD give away in memory of Damilola Taylor which featured the likes of Robbie Williams, Craig David, Gorillaz, Blue and Ms. Dynamite.

In April 1997, Gregg was invited by David Sonenberg (producer of Academy award winner "When We Were Kings") to document & film Lauryn Hill’s (the Fugees) fact-finding mission in East Africa. This documentary was made to highlight the problems of the refugees in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania and sponsored by Lauryn’s charity The Refugee Project. Gregg & Lauryn performed together several times during this trip and was encouraged by her to make this album.

1998 saw Gregg Kofi & Osibisa perform a special peace concert on hugely popular Asian Music TV programme Sarigama alongside classical Asian stars Jagdit Singh, Farida Khan Banu, Golam Ali, & Runa Laila. In aid of peace between India & Pakistan this show was broadcast to over a half billion people around the world.

As an actor/singer Gregg has appeared in several London West End hit musicals including: Tommy, The Blues Brothers, The Buddy Holly Story and portrayed Jellyroll Morton at the Royal Court Theatre.

Since joining Osibisa Gregg has been invited to record and tour with many African and Caribbean artists such as Youssou N’Dour (Senegal), George Lee (Ghana), Marta Ulaeto (Africa Rise album for Nigeria Independence anniversary), Abdel Kabir (Lye Ngum, Gambia), Ekome’ (Ghana/Jamaica), Chaka Demus & Pliers (Jamaica) and Benjamin Zephania (Jamaica).

Gregg Kofi Brown is featured vocalist and songwriter on Billy Cobham’s new Sony album "Drum N’ Voice" and has written & performed on Stanley Jordan’s new album ‘Dreams of Peace’. As a musician and singer he has also worked with Isaac Hayes, Bomb the Bass and Finley Quaye.

For the past few months I have been working with him on the production of a book which tells his extraordinary life. The book is now finished, so it seemed like a good idea for me to go and give him a ring...


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