Before the emergence of Hiplife, Hiphop and Dancehall which have surprisingly flooded our Ghanaian Music Industry, there was a genre christened “Highlife“. Simply put, the most well known genre to have originated in Ghana is Highlife. However, the reality is that the music genre seems to be fading away gradually as a result of many unfortunate happenings.
It’s in the light of this growing canker that the highly opinionated entertainment critic, Nana Frimpong Kwame, affectionately called Ziega of Kumasi based Kessben Fm show dubbed, “Entertainment Cirkle” fame jumps into the defense of the menace. According to him, when death is to lay his icey hands on some few “highlifers” in the country, Ghanaians should consider Highlife genre totally dead because the radio owners and DJs lack ideas and loyalty to promote their own.
“If Daddy Lumba is no more, Highlife will be completely out of the system because 90% of Ghanaian DJs are being described as Pro Lumba DJs. I do blame radio owners who as a result of exploitation employs virtually inexperienced DJs who don’t have listening ears, good hearts and sharp analysing skills to diagnose good music. These young and inexperience DJs have resulted in the influx of shoddy music and presentation in our system” he fumed.
Again, Frimpong Kwame Ziega stated categorically that, laziness on the part of the Highlife artistes cannot be overlooked. To him, Ghanaian Highlife artistes are lazy as compared to their Nigeria counterparts.
“I blame the premature retirement of our ace Highlife musicians. Namely; J.A Adofo, Rex Gyamfi, George Darko, Lee Doudu, Samuel Owusu, Oheneba Kissi et al are part of the problem. If the aforementioned artistes and many others have stayed focus like Daddy Lumba, we wouldn’t be where we are now!
Unfortunately, our Highlife musicians retire early as compared to other music genre players in Africa like Kanda Bongoman, Salif Keita, Angelique Kudjo, the late Papa Wamba, you can check their ages and you will realize that they share the same age group with their slumbering Highlife counterparts in Ghana”, he quizzed.
More importantly, Frimpong Kwame Ziega suggested the institution of Highlife Music Awards to entice young musicians into the genre. “Currently, there’s BASS awards which have been established to award reggae and dancehall artistes. Why can’t we establish Highlife Music Awards?” he quizzed.
He told the host of Entertainment Cirkle, DJ Roar that going forward, young DJs in the system must be educated on the job to help differentiate between genres. To him, there are so many songs in system which are Highlife but they tag it as dancehall. Songs like Ebony’s “Sponsor”, Shatta Wale’s “Chop Kiss”, “Taking Over”, Samini’s “Movement” and many more are all Highlife music but we wrongfully label them as dancehall because of naivety on the part of the disc jockeys.