This is how the name ‘highlife’ was formed

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Tue, 13 Jul 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

• Ghanaians were nicknamed ‘the High-life people’ in the past

• The country was the first in West Africa to own sophisticated music gadgets

• Ghanaians have been asked to re-embrace the high-life music genre

The Ghanaian highlife music was borne out of the fact that early musicians used high-end equipment to produce their songs, a popular DJ has established.

According to DJ Ashmen, Ghana was nicknamed the ‘High-life people’ because at that particular time it was the only country in West Africa that had the opportunity to use the guitar and many others that were classified as sophisticated gadgets.

Narrating further in an interview on GhanaWeb TV's Talkertainment show, DJ Ashmen added that the guitar especially was introduced by the Portuguese in the early days.

“We sampled our highlife music from other people. The guitar which has become very common nowadays was first introduced in Ghana by the Portuguese. In those days, Ghana was the only country in West Africa that resorted to using high-end equipment. We were nicknamed, ‘High life people’ because we were surrounded by most countries who were not fortunate like us. They only had basic instruments.”

He continued that the usage of such gadgets attracted musicians from other countries who trooped into the country to record their songs.

Touching on the fact that Ghana has become the preferred destination for Nigerian musicians such as Wizkid, Burna Boy, 2Face and many others who troop in to record their songs, he said such a practice has since long been practised.

He however bemoaned how Ghanaians have somewhat rejected the ‘most coveted’ high-life music genre in recent times to chase after others.

“We don’t like to our own songs. We don’t like stuff made in Ghana and it’s sad. This attitude of ours did not start now. The Nigerians picked our highlife which we have rejected, dusted it up and re-branded it into afrobeats. For instance, Burna Boy’s odogwu song is a typical example of Kwao. Kwao originated from Coast just like Kpanlongo did from the Ga tribe,” he told the host, Elsie Lamar.

Highlife is said to have originated in Ghana in the late 19th century, later spread to western Nigeria, and flourished in both countries in the 1950s.

The earliest form of highlife was performed primarily by brass bands along the Ghanaian coast.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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