Opinions Thu, 9 Mar 2017

Ghana @60 presidential address ignores true inventor and icon of Ghana

By:Onipa Ba

Ghana @60 Presidential Address Ignores True Inventor And Icon Of Ghana’s Highlife Music: The Late E.K. Nyame.

I am a staunch NPP supporter. I have been supporting the progressive ideals of the party from inception in the UP era through the enlightening practices of the Progress Party administration to where we currently are. I see a brighter future for Ghana under the current NPP administration.

Yesterday, March 6th 2017, The President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo gave a brilliant and outstanding speech to mark the beginning of the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the birth of Ghana. He gave credit to various persons who had made significant contributions in various ventures to Ghana’s development. The President credited the late Jerry Hansen and the late ET Mensah, of Ramblers Band and Tempos Band respectively for originating Ghana’s Highlife brand of music.

Ironically, the true icon and originator of highlife, the late E. K. Nyame, was left out in the honor roll presented by the president. Evidence of E. K. Nyame’s origination and mastery of highlife music was created by no ordinary personality but the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, during his tenure in office as Prime Minister of Ghana. On his state travel to Liberia in 1952, during the formative years of highlife music in Ghana, Dr. Nkrumah hand-picked E. K. Nyame and his band to accompany him on a state travel to Liberia to use the opportunity to showcase Ghana’s highlife music at the state function in Liberia (Source: J. Collins, 1994; C.M. Cole, 2001.). Certainly, Dr. Nkrumah would pick the most skilled person and a pioneer in the art to present a national art to the outside world.

On a related matter, there was recent talk in the media about establishing a national highlife museum in Ghana. It appears to me that the best place to establish this museum will be Nkawkaw, the urban center of the Kwahu district. My reason is that besides the late E. K. Nyame, the Kwahu district maintains a monopoly in Ghana in having the largest concentration of leading practitioners of the art.

Columnist: Onipa Ba