The inevitably spread of music genres across the globe has spawned some excellent musicians and Ghana is no exception to this feat. As the originator of the highlife genre which spread to other African countries such as Nigeria, Sierra-Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia and others in the 1900s, Ghana set a musical trend that still survives to this day. But it seems that the role has been reversed: now popular Nigeria artists have set a trend that Ghanaian artists are aspiring to follow.
No one can doubt the popularity of Nigerians artists such as D’Banj, 2Face Idibia, P-Square, Wande Coal and 9ice here in the UK. Their music continuously graces our dance floors at many Ghanaian parties as well as clubs. The obvious success of Nigerian music overseas has prompted some prominent Ghanaian artists to learn from their Naija counterparts, and this is being done through a series of collaboration between Ghana and Nigerian artists.
In the past couple of years, we have witnessed some excellent collaborations and remixes of songs between Ghana and Nigerians artists such as ‘Yahooze’ by Olu Maintain ft Okyeame Kwame, ‘Kind of Girl’ by Batman Samini ft Faze, ‘My Love’ by 2Face Idibia ft VIP, ‘Kiss Ur Hand’ by Wande Coal ft R2Bees and the popular ‘Nwa Baby (Ashawo) by Flavour Nabania ft Asem & Stone to name a few.
One noticeable feature about the songs mentioned above is most of them are in English or pidgin English. This undoubtedly contributes to its appeal and popularity, as they can be understood by many Africans and others regardless of where they’re from. Indeed many Nigerian artists sing in English as well as their native tongue. Having said this, Ghana has its own musicians who have a worldwide audience due to this versatility, such as Batman Samini, Kojo Antwi and Rhian Benson.
I am sure many of us were proud to see Batman winning ‘Best African Performer’ at the International Reggae & World Music Awards in New York just this year. However, it can be seen that artists that have continental or international success are few in Ghana. R2Bees recently said in an interview that they’ll be ‘doing Nigerian types of songs’, in other words singing more in English and focussing more on dancehall and hip-hop rather than hiplife. This way, they can appeal to a wide variety of audiences, not just Ghanaians alone.
This direction of making music is increasingly becoming very popular with Ghanaian musicians, who combine hiplife with reggae and dancehall beats. Most notable of these is Batman.
However that this mean that the hiplife genre is on its way out? No way. A new generation of Ghanaian hiplife artists have emerged that are doing wonders for the genre, such as Sarkodie, Bradez, Asem, Richie, Ayigbe Edem and others. With excellent beats and catchy lyrics, these artists are set push Ghana music to next level.
These developments in the music industry can therefore be seen as a good thing: interactions between us and Nigerian artists can help promote Ghanaian music within Nigeria and vice versa. And with new and upcoming artists within the Ghana music industry proving themselves to be a force to be reckoned with, it seems that all round Ghana music is on its way to launching itself firmly on the international music scene.
By: Benni Moi/GhanaCelebrities.Com/United Kingdom
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