Ghanaian Chronicle

Ghana musicians should be more creative

Date published: July 26, 2012

By: Chris Twum / Derrick Mills

Even though music is dynamic, based on the genre of music infiltrating various cultures, especially the African continent, it has now become the determine factor in pacing issues such as religion, culture and fashion.
When one analyzes the content being paraded in the media, especially on the Ghanaian radio stations and social networks such YouTube, face book, twitter and Google, almost 70 percent content of the Ghanaian music on the air waves are hip life, hip pop or Azonto.
High life music in Ghana is slowly losing its relevance, thanks to fusion of Hip life and Hip hop in Ghana.
The genre “highlife” has over the years lost its patronage, and in recent times since young people are now more interested in “hip hop”, “hip life” and “Azonto” music.
Ghanaian producers of late concentrate more on commercial aspect of producing a song. They usually neglect the originality: that is fusing the local instruments such as “Dondo”, “Rattle”, “Drums” “guitar”, etc, in their beats.
They base their beats mostly on kicks, strings, etc, which is basically to achieve its commercial aspect and not originality. When one says hip life music easily fades away, he is perfectly not mistaken because hip life music, after receiving massive airplay, is easily forgotten within a short period of time.
The current new trend making waves in the media is the Azonto fever making all the rounds. The Azonto in the music industry is kind of dance which goes with a particular beat.
The dance emanated from the Ghanaian popular dance called kpanlogo, which gains excitements from the youth whiles dancing such gestures of all manner is seen dance in even gospel music videos.
Hardly would one come across a music content which appeals to 75 years and below (Highlife or Bugger Highlife), which seek to appeal to all ages’ across the age brackets in the country.
However, some media platform have made their listening content tagged to a descending listening audience with varieties of music, which life time music can be played over a very long period of time.
New emerging Ghanaian musicians are interested in rapping rather than singing, good Ghanaian musicians are not seen among these young chaps.
Musicians such as Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Ambolley, Papa Yankson, Amakye Dede and Pa Bobo have churned out reach instrumentations which when played on the air waves appeal to both young and old.
Yet, over a period of a time now, these top musicians mentioned above have been celebrated by hugely patronised on various platforms by Ghanaians. Pioneers of the highlife are noted for displaying good and spectacular performances when they step on stage.
They have knowledge of what true music entails and how it relates to listeners, and to entertain and educate them. Looking at the current music market, one can say highlife is slowly losing its value.
Some hip life artistes employ certain highlife trends and style, and fuse it in their music to give it a touch of both highlife and hip life flavor to entertain their listeners or fans.
During most events or concerts, we see hip life artistes on stage performing with the help of a DJ behind a turn table and playing the artiste’s song for him or her to mime along. This is a normal performing routine.
High life artistes execute their performances mostly with a band. They work with a band to produce a live piece of performance to their audience and this act shows how equipped, versatile and creative they can be.
One might not necessarily pay attention to the fact that employing a band in your performance is a source of employment.
On occasions involving reputable people and gurus, highlife artistes are invited to entertain or perform because they have original Ghanaian touch or feeling in their music.
Highlife artistes relate their songs to Ghanaian culture, mostly adding riddles, idioms, adages and other humorous saying, to educate people and also entertain.
Some critics in showbiz ask when our highlife artistes will be celebrated. When is an award event going to be organised mainly to award highlife artistes?
Some Hip life artistes also owe their origin to highlife. Some began doing highlife music but later changed to hip life.
The reason behind such change of genre from highlife to hip life could be due to low patronage and the change in the Ghanaian music industry.

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