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Music of Friday, 5 February 2016


Palm Wine Music to Azonto; some Ghanaian creative genres

Before the white man stepped foot onto our soil, our type of music were basically traditional and didn’t involve a lot.

Every tribe in Ghana had their own way of their song and had locally manufactured instruments they used for music.

However, the Queen’s troop on our soil changed all that especially when we discovered our voices could be recorded on a plate and sold. This has brought about many different genres of music and we believe there are more to come with time.

Most Ghanaians love music but do they really know our genre of music? Come with us as we reveal to you the types of music genre that were actually invented by Ghanaians and sold to the world.

1. Palm Wine Music

Beside traditional songs, the first genre of music that caught on with Ghanaians in 1880 was the palm wine music.

This type of music involved the use of a locally manufactured guitar and the then colonial masters really loved the song created by this type of instrument and recorded some of it onto gramophones which were shipped to England.

Many were those who used it as souvenirs and showed them to their families back home in London and so, they were not produced in commercial quantities.

But the world got to hear of palm wine music with Agya Koo Nimo being the soul-drive behind it. He tried all he could to stop the dying of the music but unfortunately, it is gradually fading away. He went as far as to teach it in Universities abroad.

2. High Life

Out of palm wine music was birthed Highlife with more instrumentation. The song really caught on well with Ghanaians in the 50’s and 60’s. It was performed for only the elite in society back then, hence, the reason it got its name, High Class Life which was shortened to High Life.

E.T. Mensah was the first man to introduce this type of music to Nigerians and since then Nigerians embraced the genre and also sold it to the World.

It is this same genre that inspired the Nigerian legend, Fela Kuti to create marvelous masterpieces.

3. Burger Highlife

With time, the shores of Britain were closed to Ghanaians, thanks to Margeret Thatcher’s administration. So, most Ghanaians changed their direction towards Germany.

The influx of Ghanaians in Germany created a new form of music known as Burger Highlife. This genre is actually a fusion of high life, funk and disco. It is something that was created by Ghanaians and exported to the World.

4. Afro Beat

Around the time that high life was reigning, the Yamoah’s Band, which produced the likes of Nana Ampadu, came up with their own style of music and called it the Afro Beat, but it was short-lived after the 1966 coup.

5. Afro Rock

Within the period that Afro Beat was reigning, there were other bands that also came up with other styles of music that was termed as Afro Rock and incorporated more sharp beats with strong baseline. They all died with the 1966 coup. Bob Cole was one of those who pioneered this type of genre.

6. Hiplife

In the 90’s when hip hop was gaining roots in America, the pop culture traveled far and also gained root in the country causing the youth to sway from our own highlife music and doing more rap and hip hop.

Many were those who copied how to rap and showcased it during fan fairs. But mostly this rap music was done in English and very few Ghanaians could comprehend.

There were many such groups such as Mahony P, Talking Drum, Native Funk Lords, among others who tried their hands on Twi Rap but it didn’t go commercial till Reggie Rockstone made it big with his “Tsoo Boi” album which caught on quickly with the youth and since then the genre was born.

7. Azonto

When hip life gained its root, it gave birth to a lot of talents and beat makers begun incorporating a lot of different styles of beats by fusing high life beats with hip hop beats. Basically, it was like going back to the Afro beat genre but with more heavy sounds and dance-able beats.

This form of music gave way to a whole new dance that caused a storm around the world and the music that is accompanied to it was gave birth to a whole new genre … Azonto