Ghanaian Producer, Appietus in a recent episode of the Showbiz University podcast has debunked the assertion that Afrobeat has killed Highlife in Ghana.
According to Appiah Dankwa, there is no way Afrobeat can be a threat to Highlife as the genre was rather an evolution of Highlife that was borrowed and popularized by Nigerians.
Appietus, known for his contributions to the Highlife genre, highlighted the roots of Afrobeat, tracing its beginnings back to the cha-cha-cha and Jama rhythms that were prevalent in Highlife music.
“The main music is Highlife, Afrobeat music is highlife, it started with cha cha cha jama right ?? Then they started adding things,” he explained “But this kaka is like the Wulomei. This is where I used to play the jama. When I was young, that’s what I used to hear. Then we replaced it with the clap sound.”
He further explained how elements of Highlife were gradually incorporated into the emerging Afrobeat sound.
“And then Afro beat started from there. So Afrobeat has not killed High Life. No, it’s just evolution. But Nigerians took it. They are fast. Nigerians are smart,” he added.
Contrary to the notion that Afrobeat has overshadowed Highlife, Apietus shared that Afrobeat’s popularity is primarily due to the quick adoption and innovation by Nigerian artists.
He praised the Nigerian music industry for its efficiency and ability to recognize the potential of Afrobeat, quickly propelling it to international acclaim.
“Nigerians are smart and fast. They realized that Ghanaians are delaying too much with this Afrobeat. Because Afrobeat was what I was doing for Ofori-Amponsah. Remember the track Broken Heart? And then this guy took it, Wizkid and changed it. PSquare helped Nigeria a lot and all of them started doing it,” he pointed out
Appietus acknowledged that Ghana has a rich Highlife heritage and urged Ghanaian artists to reclaim their music and create something unique to their identity.
He also suggested infusing Highlife with other genres, such as Amapiano, to give it a contemporary twist.
“I have done a song for Pat Thomas and Sarkodie. You know, Mewo Akoma . Crazy tune. You know, High Life. Nobody is pushing. We should create something that we own. And even if you want to infuse, we know that this High Life, you have added a little Amapiano, simple,” he appealed.
Appietus expressed his hope that Ghanaian musicians can unite and collectively promote Highlife as a distinct and influential genre.
“Ghana is very powerful. We are not that many. But if we decide that, okay, we are all going back to this because now when they say Ghanaian music. People start looking at Nigerian music. And it’s bad. When they say Afrobeat, people don’t see Ghana as an Afrobeat country,” he submitted
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