How military rule pushed Highlife beyond Ghana’s borders

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Bessa Simons, legendary Highlife musician

Highlife music is a genre that has gone a long way to shape music in the country and change the face of Ghana in the diaspora.

Speaking on Joy FM‘s Super Morning Show, Thursday, veteran Highlife musician, Bessa Simons said Ghana was celebrated years ago for its rich Highlife music outside Africa.

He said the genre was welcomed and accepted especially in Germany, the United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America.

According to him, the Highlife bands in the UK including Osibisa spiked the interest of people in the diaspora.

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“The moment you mentioned Ghana, Highlife music came to the minds of anyone out there,” he said.

He explained that the days of military rule and curfew pushed musicians out of the country, one reason why Highlife went beyond the shores of Ghana.

”It was a trying time for all musicians and people in concert party, there was no nightlife so we all went outside to play the Highlife music,” he added.

“However, the military era has created a big vacuum between the old music and the new artistes,” he told Daniel Dadzie, host of the Super Morning Show.

He explained that after the coup, without the presence of the Highlife musicians, night clubs, spinners, rap and disk jockeys had taken over the music scene.

The veteran musician claimed before the night clubs, there were a lot of venues Highlife bands played at, every day and it gave people the chance to see and learn from them.

“However, artistes in later years after the coup had listened so much to the rap and other genres of music that had taken over the industry and learnt from it instead,” he stated.

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“Our Highlife music was not documented or filmed so these new artistes did not see anything to learn from and continue,” he added.

He said, however, in the diaspora, it is Highlife Ghana is known for, hence the original sounds need to be revisited.

Also contributing on the show, music producer and Slip Entertainment Record label owner Mark Okraku Mantey said the original sounds may not be played much but many young artistes like King Promise, Kuami Eugene, Okyeame Kwame, KiDi and Kofi Kinaata are working to bring back the Highlife music buy adding some of the sounds to their works,

”The Highlife music is not lost as many people think,” he stated.

Source: Ghana/ myjoyonline.com/

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