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Highlife Not A Ghanaian Music – Jupitar


Dancehall act Jupiter,says Highlife music cannot be considered as Ghanaian music. His assertion comes on the heels of calls to support and promote original Ghanaian music which many have identified as Highlife.

The 1930’s and the 1940’s witnessed the emergence of guitar bands that played highlife and indigenous variant known as the “Odonson” or Ashanti Blues.

Some famous exponents of this type of music were Kwesi Pepera, Kwame Asare (a.k.a. Jacob Sam or Kwamin), Appianing, Piasah, Mireku, Kwasi Manu, Kamkam, Osei Bonsu, Kramo Seidu, and Appiah Adzekum, to mention but a few.

Though Jupitar supports the idea of greatly promoting Ghanaian music, he argued that Highlife music is largely composed in Akan with foreign instruments so cannot be considered as Ghana’s main indigenous music.

“Highlife is not Ghanaian music…Highlife music is Ashanti music,” he told Doreen Andoh on Cosmopolitan Mix on Joy FM.

Jupitar insists that a genre of music played with foreign instruments and emanating from just one part of Ghana cannot be representative enough to be called Ghanaian music.

The artiste, who admits that his genre of music, Dancehall, cannot be considered as Ghanaian music as well, argued that there are traditional music played with local instruments in other parts of Ghana that are more indigenous than Highlife.

“We have different tribes here in Ghana… Do you know we have Borborbor? So when you say Ghanaian music, it has to be a mixture of all of that,” he said.

According to Jupitar, apart from the Akan language in Highlife music, many other elements in the music are adopted from non-indigenous sources.

The Dancehall artiste also revealed that he is set to release an album. This forthcoming album will be Jupitar’s first ever music album though he has recorded several singles.

The highlife music played by the guitar bands also became closely linked with the concert parties. The first artist to combine these two distinct forms that is highlife and stage acting or concert was E. K. Nyame. Born in 1927, E. K. Nyame, the leader of the E.K’s Band, began his career with Appiah Adjekum. He formed his concert trio in 1952 and later merged it with his guitar band and named this new group the Akan Trio.

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