For the longest time the popular believe that HIGHLIFE music is from Nigeria has been generally accepted but here we have a British professor, John Collins, who is refuting that claim and saying this genre of music is originally from the Coast of Gold now known as present day Ghana.
Professor Collins, who was reacting to a claim made by Ghanaian dnacehall artiste, Jupitar, in a recent interview that “Highlife genre of music is not a Ghanaian music.” said that comment was not correct, according to reports by Myjoyonline.
On a recent radio show, the UK born professor who has lived in Ghana since 1969 has this to say:
“Highlife is not Ashanti. It was originally Fanti and Ga and then, he [Jupitar] said it wasn’t Ghanaian. At the moment, Nigerians are trying to claim highlife, so he should be careful about saying that.
“The word itself was invented in Ghana in the 1920s but what we call highlife goes back maybe 20 or 30 years earlier”said the scholar.
The professor, during the radio show gave an extensive history on the this highlife genre of music. Professor Collins noted that in 1938, Highlife was taken out of Ghana to Nigeria by the Cape Coast Sugar Babies and then in 1950s by E.T. Mensah.
“When I first used to go to Nigeria in the 1970s, all the older generation knew that highlife came from Ghana. It’s the younger generation on both sides, who seem to have forgotten where it comes from,” he further explained.
The younger generation really believes that Higlife music was invented by the likes of Oliver De Coque, Ebenezer Obeh, Osita Osadebe, Sir Victor Waifo etc but Professor Collins throwing more light on this has really opened a new portal for argument, especially coming at a time when the long age debate between Nigerians and Ghanaians about who makes the best jollof rice. This is definitely going to be another social media issue to slander each other with.
Africa music has evolved over the years, with new generation artistes infusing new funks into the old sound and creating new ones with sophisticated technology. In Nigeria, the earliest genre were the Highlife and Juju music, then, in the 80s and 90s, a reggae kind of funk emerged in the language of music in Nigeria, this lasted for decades before the emergence of the millennial generation took it a notch higher. Even though, the modern day music has a new tune, one cannot ignore the tinge of highlife and juju in these new creations