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Music in Ghana: High Life, Hip Life, and Gospel

As a generalization, African music is some of the best in the world.  In fact, most of the rest of the best music in the world is derived from African music, in one way or another.  Jazz, blues, bluegrass, rock and roll, and reggae can trace their roots to an African lineage.  I’m not sure why the number of African bands to make it on a global scale is so limited, but it is a missed opportunity.  Graceland by Paul Simon put Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the map, in part because the release of the album happened during apartheid, but also because the music was so good.  Fela Kuti, the Nigerian protest singer, and Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe, and Osibisa from Ghana (and other places), all have epic catalogues, but their international success puts them in the minority.  So, now that I have left Ghana, it is a good time for me to give a rundown of the music I’ve been listening to for the last six months.

High Life:

High life is among the most popular styles of music in Ghana.  It is breezy and upbeat with a quick drum line.  The most famous highlife group is called Osibisa.  It is an old school throwback band from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  The core members are Ghanaians who studied music in the UK and formed an international super-group comprised of different nationalities.

1.  Osibisa – “Sunshine Day”

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