Highlife

Highlife

Kulturna ali glasbena novica
18. 6. 2017 - 12:00

Highlife

Highlife is a music genre that originated in Ghana early in the 20th century and incorporated the traditional harmonic 9th, as well as melodic and the main rhythmic structures in traditional Akan music, and married them with Western instruments.Highlife has a part to play in most of the present day Ghanaian and Nigerian music as most of their artistes fuse it with their style of music.

Highlife is characterised by jazzy horns and multiple guitars which lead the band. Recently it has acquired an uptempo, synth-driven sound. This arpeggiated highlife guitar part is modeled after an Afro-Cuban guajeo. The pattern of attack-points is nearly identical to the 3/2 clave motif guajeo as shown below. The bell pattern known in Cuba as clave is indigenous to Ghana and Nigeria, and is used in highlife. 

In the 1920s, Ghanaian musicians incorporated foreign influences like the foxtrot and calpyso with Ghanaian rhythms like osibisaba (Fante). Highlife was associated with the local African aristocracy during the colonial period, and was played by numerous bands including the Jazz Kings, Cape Coast Sugar Babies, and Accra Orchestra along the county's coast.The high class audience members who enjoyed the music in select clubs gave the music its name. E.T. Mensah suggests that the "people outside [the clubs] called it highlife as they did not reach the class of the couples going inside, who not only had to pay a relatively high entrance fee of about 7s 6d, but also had to wear full evening dress, including top-hats if they could afford it. By the 1930s, Highlife spread via Ghanaian workers to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Gambia among other West African countries, where the music quickly gained popularity.

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