It was meant to be a celebration of a legend’s life and it turned to be just so as thousands of people gathered at the Takoradi Sports Club on Saturday, July 14, to bid farewell to Highlife veteran, C.K. Mann.
Among the thousands were his colleague musicians, many of who showed their love for the man whose career spanned over four decades in the best way they could; by taking to microphone and singing some of his popular tunes.
Gyedu Blay Ambolley on the microphone
The musicians, including Silas Yankson (Son of another veteran Paapa Yankson), Bessa Simons, Bob Pinodo, Safohene Djeni, Ben Brako, Gyedu Blay Ambolley, Pauline Oduro, Kofi Kinaata, MUSIGA President, Bice Osei Kuffuor (Obour) among others turned the funeral into a mini concert as they serenaded those who had gathered.
C.K. Mann, born Charles Kofi Amankwaa Mann, died on Tuesday, March 20, at 83 and had a great career. It was therefore expected that he would receive a befitting funeral and he got exactly that.
The coffin carrying the late C.K. Mann being carried by the pall bearers
The final funeral rites unofficially started on Thursday with the mounting of giant billboards of the musician at various locations in the Western and Central regions while his music dominated the airwaves and relatives and close friends recounted fond memories of him on air.
On Friday, the body of the legend was first taken to his residence at Anaji in Takoradi and later to the Jubilee Park at West Tanokrom, where sympathisers including politicians, corporate bodies and members of the general public gathered for a wake.
On Saturday, there was a short service at the Christ The King Catholic Church at Effiakuma, Takoradi before he was interred at the Takoradi Cemetery.
Some of those who worked with him told Graphic Showbiz he deserved to be celebrated.
Nzema musician, Safohene Djeni, disclosed that in 1964 he was in the same band with C.K Mann in Obuasi and “C.K was very good at the guitar and with other instruments.”
He said the late C.K. Mann left for Takoradi to open a tailoring shop and then formed the Carousel-7 Band which did so well.
GHAMRO boss, Rex Omar, said C.K Mann inspired his career. “I grew up listening to him, when I settled on music, I would go to him for advice and I must say that his memory will always be embossed on my heart.”
He was optimistic that somebody will emerge from the present generation of Fante musicians to continue the legacy that C.K. Mann, Jewel Ackah, Paapa Yankson, A.B. Crenstil, Ebow Tawia, Kakaiku among others are leaving behind.
“The truth is that the legends have a special type of highlife solely from the Fanteland which I hope to see some young musicians following,” he said.
Rex Omar with Obour
For his part, Bessa Simmons said C.K. Mann was a phenomenon, who in his own time revolutionised highlife music and placed Fante music in the map. “He came to this world to compose, and I when met him I was blown away by his thoughts about the industry.”
He said after recording with the Latin band in the United Kingdom, and recording Adwoa Yankey, “I realised his purpose, write, record music and that is C.K. Mann for you.”
Francis Kow Annan, who plays the Conga and is a member of Carousal 7 Band, described his former boss simply as a leader, who saw talent and molded them.
“I was a carpenter, who had so much love for the conga drum, he saw me play and said ‘let’s go’ and we made the Carousel 7 Band work. It was a hit and we toured the country,” he recalled.
MUSIGA President, Obour said C.K. Mann was a true gift to the industry.
“When he received the gift of music, he shared it, we are all beneficiaries of his great talent and love for industry,” he said.
Ben Brako also took to the stage
The celebrations continued late into the night and on Sunday, his loved ones and musicians attended a thanksgiving service to round off the funeral rites.