Afrobeats is making it now but highlife is still alive – Nana Asaase


Poet and literary coach Nana Asaase has refuted claims that highlife is gradually dying out of the system.

A lot of people have expressed worry about the seeming extinction of the genre following the the rise of other music forms especially Afrobeats.

A few weeks ago, veteran highlife musician Gyedu-Blay Ambolley said the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards was responsible for the misfortunes of the highlife genre.

Nana Asaase, who is a member of the Ghana Folklore Board added his voice to the highlife conversation on Joy FM’s ‘Showbiz A-Z’ while explaining the current consideration of highlife to be listed as UNESCO’s intangible heritage.

“We are talking about highlife. Highlife is the common denominator for a lot of these things that are coming up. You can’t do Afrobeats without talking about highlife.

“There are individual doing highlife. There are bands doing highlife, there are people in the background promoting highlife. We might not have the numbers showing on Twitter, the number of people following this when we talk about the people who are doing the business of selling the music,” he told Kwame Dadzie.

Asked the people who now do highlife are visible Nana Asaase said: “there are different layers of the audience. I dare say Wiyaala’s music even ventured into highlife. Atongo Zimba too. I think sometimes we just discredit ourselves.”

Highlife, a music genre of Ghanaian origin is being considered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to be listed as intangible heritage. If this goes through, Ghanaian will duly be credited as the owners of the music genre.

UNESCO defines ‘Intangible cultural heritage’ refers to the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.


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