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Rex Omar, Others Wage War Against Highlife ‘Killers’


Highlife musician and Chairman of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), Rex Omar is leading a group of music stakeholders to revive highlife music.

According to him, the initiative dubbed the iHilife Campaign is meant to set the record straight that highlife music originated from Ghana by Ghanaians.

In an interview with, he explained that even though highlife is originally a Ghanaian music genre, other countries are trying to lay claim to it while Ghanaians look on unperturbed.

Rex Omar added that highlife in Ghana is gradually fading out because most of its performers have decided to call it by other names.

In the wake of this, he said there need to be a whole renaissance of the genre.

“We need to o re-define highlife music brand to cover the other sub-genres of Ghanaian traditional music as branches of highlife, that is Adwoa highlife, osoode highlife, agbadza highlife, Kpalogo highlife, among others,” he noted.

To solve help correct this situation, Rex stated that an award scheme for highlife music will soon be instituted.

He also hoped to see an institution set up to teach highlife music which includes all forms our traditional music

There shall also be an annual highlife music fora starting from 2018 will be held to help evaluate the performance of highlife music genre in Ghana and around the globe and give direction.

The GHAMRO chairman also blamed the media, artistes and the entire nation for not paying attention to Ghana’s music heritage – highlife.

“We are rather busily promoting other foreign genres and sometimes even playing hi-life music and calling it something else hence most of the highlife artistes are discouraged and are not recording music again,” he further stated.

In tandem with this cause, he has also decided to release one highlife song each from his unreleased songs monthly for the next three years.

“My releases are to demonstrate and also encourage other highlife artistes especially the youth not to give up and to also demonstrate that good highlife music can never lose its attractiveness,” Rex said.

What is highlife music?

Highlife is a music genre that originated in Ghana early in the 20th century. It uses the melodic and main rhythmic structures of traditional Akan music, but is played with Western instruments.

The music genre over time, has evolved through different stages: there have been sub-genres like palm wine guitar style, guitar bands, burger highlife, among other spin-offs.

Countries like Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal and Cote D’ Voire.

Some great highlife artistes Ghana has produced are Nana Kwame Ampadu, AB Crentsil, Paapa Yankson, Amakye Dede, Obuoba JA Adofo and Rex Omar.

Others are Daddy Lumba, Pat Thomas, Amandzeba, Kwabena Kwabena and KK Fosu.

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