Reggae, Hiplife & Highlife

Ghana’s music is deeply entrenched in the very fabric of the country. Highlife (Hiplife) was the popular sound of the 1960s, a musical style combining traditional folk music and stories backed by arpeggiated blues-style guitar playing, and polyrhythmic drumming (Osibisaba).

Calypso was included in Highlife as Ghana has various major ports of new influences and new sounds incorporated into its’ overall sound.  Highlife carries the swing with artists such as Ebo Taylor, Gyedu Blay-Ambolley and Pat Thomas becoming the stars of the 60s & 70s, utilising a number of modern influences such as Jazz and even Reggae in their music, Pat Thomas often cites the legendary Jamaican artist Jimmy Cliff as a big inspiration. The Highlife sound provided the foundation for later styles such as Fela Kuti‘s Afrobeat sound in Nigeria in the 70s with its heavier Rock aesthetic or the Makossa sounds emanating out of Cameroon and now in the modern era traces of Highlife can still be heard in Afrobeats, Afro Pop and or course Hiplife.
Borrowing heavily from 90s Dancehall and incorporating Atlantic 808-style syncopated beats and 2000s R&B vocal stylings.  Check out the tracks below for a taste on what’s happening in Ghana right about now:
Sarkodie ft. BNXN – Better Days
Pappy Kojo ft. O’Kenneth x Reggie – Koobi
Shatta Wale – On God
Kelvyn Boy – Down Flat
Black Sherif – Kwaku The Traveller

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