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  • Writer's pictureNana yaw Dynamic

Ghanaian musicians are ditching “highlife” – John Collins explains


Professor John Collins, an ethnomusicologist, talked about the reasons why many contemporary Ghanaian musicians are moving away from being categorized as highlife artists.


Collins, known for his broad documentation of Ghanaian music in works like "Highlife Time," imparted his experiences to Winston Amoah on Satisfaction FM's Super Morning Show on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, clarifying that it's normal for more youthful performers for wander from more seasoned imaginative styles.


He noticed that highlife has developed through various stages, recognizing that while current Ghanaian melodies might in any case typify components of highlife, more youthful craftsmen like to order their music under various classifications. "The greatest piece of social change in any general public is the adolescent.


They will reuse the way of life and frequently they will regulate that the way of life they are reusing has been acquired from their predecessors however they need to place it into an alternate jug. Also, assuming we returned to the 1920s, I'm certain there were individuals whining harshly about why they changed the name from osibisaba (which is the old Fante name for highlife) to highlife. I'm certain there was a discussion about this.


But sometimes the name doesn't really matter. Today we call highlife beat jama beat. That was the youth's name. It wasn't the old name for highlife. I think it happens naturally." With Afrobeats, the same thing occurred in Nigeria. You remember when they introduced Afrobeats in 2012. What's more, by how it was a Ghanaian.


He stated to Winston Amoah, "I think DJ Abrantie came up with the term." John Collins, a music professor at the University of Ghana, observed disagreements between younger and older musicians regarding the introduction of Afrobeats, which the latter viewed as a dilution of Fela's Afrobeat (without an "s") during a presentation at Felabration in Nigeria.


Collins described working with a goal to the debate during a gathering at Victoria Island. “The youth have the right to change anything's name because language itself changes, culture changes constantly, and the dynamo of change is always the youth. So in some cases they will dismiss the old names yet they acquired the old custom so they re-bottle it in another structure. It is an ongoing natural process.


So some of the time perhaps the word highlife may not be famous any longer yet highlife is till with Ghanaians," he further noted. Early musicians like Jacob Sam and the Kumasi Trio are credited with giving Highlife its name in the 1920s. This sort was impacted by unfamiliar components, including Liberia's Kru Mariners, regimental music, and the presentation of Western instruments into conventional Ghanaian sounds. Over the long haul, variations of highlife have gone through various changes as various performers explored different avenues regarding different rhythms and combinations.


Some Ghanaians regret the evident decay of the class, ascribing it to disregard by the more youthful age of performers. In the interim, the Ghana Culture Discussion has encouraged the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to consider recognizing highlife as an intangible heritage.

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