Legendary Highlife Musician, Rex Owusu Marfo, popularly known as Rex Omar has expressed that there seem not to be a robust Ghanaian music industry as many portray it to be.
Speaking in an interview with Y102.5’s NYDJ, he questioned, “We keep using the words, ‘music industry’. The question I have been always asking myself is, do we really have any music industry in Ghana? Have we had any gatekeepers, producers, or musicians sitting down and deliberately tailoring say highlife and state, ‘we were from here and this is where we are going’?”
“People do things anyhow, fighting themselves, people who don’t even know will sit on social media and say anything. And those who know and will want to educate will be insulted left, right and centre. So it’s like nothing is really working. We don’t really value who we are”, he said of the music industry.
Narrowing his argument to the field of highlife music, the veteran musician lamented that as Ghanaians, we do not value our own genres until it is stolen from us and rebranded for us.
Exemplifying his point, he noted, “People don’t know that Afro beats that was created by Fela Kuti came out of highlife. Fela used to live in Ghana and he came to study our highlife. He created his own Afro beats out of our highlife. It has always been like that so as Ghanaians, we always don’t like what we have. We always want something from outside even if it was stolen from us”.
Proposing a solution to this phenomenon, he suggested that musicians, producers and others who work on music must have a plan, define our music, specifically our deep-rooted highlife and link it to our traditional rhythms.
By: Alberta Dorcas N D Armah