Board Chairman for the Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO), Rexford Owusu Marfo popularly known in the music industry as Rex Omar has aired that the highlife music industry has changed without any plan.
He shared this in an interview with Y 102.5 FM’s NYDJ on the ‘Ryse N Shyne’ show.
According to him, “Just like Reggae evolved even though it did not necessarily change it’s dynamics, Highlife has also evolved”.
Differentiating the progression process between the two genres, he indicated, “The differences between the evolution of Reggae and Highlife is that the former evolved based on strategy and planning by the musicians”. But Highlife has evolved without any plan, hence the difficulty faced in the industry presently.
He went further to say that, there is no music industry in the country because industry players have not cautiously sat down to plan and strategize the way forward for the genre.
Rex Omar citing mistakes made by the Ghanaian industry noted that industry players have not sat to create a sound to make us unique and stand out like Fela Kuti did with Afrobeat and Jamaica’s, Reggae.
“If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. We must sit down as musicians and plan how we want our Highlife music to sound. When this is done, listeners will be able to tell that it’s from Ghana”.
The musician argued that, Ghanaians watched Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a Nigerian, pioneer Afrobeat music out of Ghana’s Highlife music. “And today, we mimic him whereas he sourced the genre from Ghana’s Highlife”.
“It makes it seem like Ghanaians don’t value what we have”, he said.
Defining Highlife, the GHAMRO boss said, “The genre is a traditional, Ghanaian or Akan music played with Western instruments”.
He motioned that the branches of Highlife, ‘Guitar Back Highlife’, ‘Palm Wine Highlife’, ‘Big Band Highlife’ and ‘Borga Highlife’ all came up “accidentally because they weren’t planned”.
He concluded by saying “Highlife will never die because the day Highlife dies, all Ghanaians will also die”, because Highlife is in all Ghanaians.
By: Gyamfuah Owusu-Ackom