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Music of Wednesday, 26 August 2020


How contemporary musicians have run to Burger Highlife

[L-R]: Yaa Pono, Sista Afia, Lord Paper [L-R]: Yaa Pono, Sista Afia, Lord Paper

This year has seen the release of classic records from some musicians but one thing that seems to be prickling minds is the desire to produce Burger Highlife songs, a genre which is a fusion of popular rock/pop music and highlife.

Burger Highlife was championed by German-based Ghanaian musicians in the 80s and 90s. These musicians, including George Darko, Charles Amoah, Rex Gyamfi, Leo Duodo, Daddy Lumba had been in Germany and had been influenced by pop music.

In the last couple of months, three (3) musicians belonging to the ‘new school’ have tapped into the genre, complementing their singles with nice official music videos.

1. Lord Paper – Asa Bone

In February, Lord Paper released ‘Asa Bone’. Produced by Gomez Beatz, the song featured Bosom P-Yung, a musician who gained spotlight following the release of his ‘Ataa Adwoa’ trap music.

Lord Paper in an interview gave props to Daddy Lumba as he mentioned the highlife legend is the inspiration behind the ‘Asa Bone’ song.

“When you listen to my ‘Asa Bone’ song, you’ll realise that it was inspired by Daddy Lumba and burger highlife,” he said on GBC Radio Central in Cape Coast.

Explaining the motive for recording the song, the young musician who wears locks said: “It’s been a while since Ghana heard such a song but it’s been part of us from way back. For some time now, it’s been afrobeat, hip hop, and highlife so I was like ‘why we are not taping into our old classic songs back in the day?’ So I decided to bring it back and it’s doing amazing.”

2. Yaa Pono – 1997

July saw the birth of another burger highlife song from contemporary musicians. Yaa Pono, an Ashaiman-based rapper and singer teamed up with music producer Dr. Ray for ‘1997’, a song that bears resemblance to Daddy Lumba’s ‘Yeni Nse’.

Unlike Lord Paper, Dr. Ray at the initial stage reportedly claimed he took no inspiration from Daddy Lumba. Later, he admitted but indicated that crediting the legend was irrelevant.

“I took inspiration from Daddy Lumba's “Aben Wo Ha” song and Nana Acheampong’s “Obi Dom Bie” song, but I don’t see the need to credit them because I played it on my own. I did everything fresh. I don’t see the need to give credit on our posters or artworks. I used my creative mind to play everything from scratch. What are they going to use the credit for? For data bundle?” he laughed.

Dr. Ray receiving some backlash for his comment rendered an apology. In a social media post, he stated that: “I will like to apologize for my statement I made earlier about the credit to our Legends Daddy Lumba and Nana Acheampong. I reverse that statement and I promise it won’t happen again.”

3. Sista Afia – Party

Coronavirus figures were still scary in August; regardless, 'man for party' and so Sista Afia dropped ‘Party’. The tempo was low compared to ‘Asa Bone’ and ‘1997’. ‘Party’ was produced by Willis Beat while the video was directed by Rich Sheff.