Author: nxtgenit

Our Music – The 1960’s

Ghanaians listen to hiplife, highlife, Gospel, Raggae and other African music. Musical trends have reflected changes in Ghanaian society over the last half-century. (1950s – 2000s)

1960s

In the early years of Ghanaian independence the popularity of highlife was maintained.

A number of guitar highlife outfits formed following the success of The Tempos, including Nana Ampadu and his band the African Brothers and A.B. Crentsil.

Nana Ampadu
Nana Ampadu
A. B. Crentsil
A. B. Crentsil

E.T. Mensah continued to perform, as did other highlife bands such as Ramblers International and the Professional Uhuru Dance Band.

Ramblers International Band
Ramblers International
Professional uhuru dance band
Professional Uhuru Dance Band

The rise of Congolese music in the 1960s resulted in a decline in the popularity of the genre.

President Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana into independence, was overthrown by a military coup in 1966. The upheaval saw many Ghanaian musicians that had flourished in the 60s emigrating. Many moved to the US, UK, Nigeria and Germany, among other countries.

kwame nkrumah

By the end of the decade pop music from the US and, to a lesser extent Europe, had come to dominate Ghana’s music scene.

Ghanaians listen to hiplife, highlife, Gospel, Raggae and other African music. Musical trends have reflected changes in Ghanaian society over the last half-century. (1950s – 2000s)

1950s

A musical genre that originated in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, fused African rhythms with western music. The sound, of which there were a few variations, generally combined multiple guitar rhythms with a brass band backing, as well as various percussion instruments.

Its roots can be traced back to the 1880s to the music of marching bands and sailors’ palm wine groups.

The term ‘highlife’, which was coined in the 1920s, is thought to be a reference to parties by the European upper-class. Local bands played the musical accompaniment to the lavish events to which people aspired.

Two main forms of highlife had emerged by the middle of the 20th Century. Dance orchestras played at the parties of the elite, while poor, rural musicians played a guitar-orientated version of the music.

The guitar-based style of music rose to prominence in the 1950s and became associated with a pre-independence sound as it came to incorporate elements of swing, jazz and Cuban rhythms with the emerging guitar styles of West Africa.

During World War II swing was introduced by UK and US servicemen based in Ghana, giving way to smaller highlife bands.

Describing this melting pot of sounds, Professor John Collins – a musicologist at the University of Ghana – wrote: “By combining…so-called high-class music with local street tunes, a totally different type of music was born – the highlife we know today.”

Professor John Collins “ a musicologist at the University of Ghana
Professor John Collins “ a musicologist at the University of Ghana

This music became the soundtrack to the birth of an independent nation in 1957. During that time trumpeter E.T. Mensah became the most famous proponent of the sound – first with his band The Tempos and later as a solo artist.

E. T. Mensah
E. T. Mensah
Our Music – The 1950’s
Back with a Bham! Nana Quame is back with “Bambam”

Despite the fact that he has been off the music scene for quite a while, he has never lost the energy he has for highlife and keeping in mind that he was off the music scene, he kept composing and recording sweet highlife melodies.

Created by Lazzy Beatz, ‘ Bambam’ is an adoration tune that talks about treating one’s sweetheart right so they radiate their best in a relationship.

Ghanaian highlife performer, Nana Quame has come back with another major tune after a a break in the music business.

Nana Quame is referred to for hit songs, for example, ‘Atea Donko’, ‘Yebesa’, ‘No Parking’, ‘Alimatu’, among others and can also be heard on the GhanaMusicMachine’s Video Playlist for the “One Time Number 1 Hits in Ghana“.

Have a listen to ‘Bambam’ below:

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