There is a battle brewing between highlife and dancehall, somewhat needlessly, but still its happening.
Legendary singer Gyedu Blay Ambolley sparked the warfare when he passed comments in an interview to the effect that we have to go back to our highlife roots instead of this mainstream swallowing of the reggae/dancehall genre which did not originate with us.
“Most Ghanaian musicians do not use our local beats in their music and as a result of that they do not exhibit our culture to the world. The only beat they use is what have been created by the Jamaicans meanwhile you expect to rub shoulders with the creators. Is this possible?” Ambolley wondered.
He added that no Ghanaian could ever win a Grammy in those categories.
But hitting back on social media, Bulldog said Ambolley is wrong, and has the situation turned backwards – reggae/dancehall can get us that international recognition that highlife never can.
“Highlife music has never and will never bring any international recognition to the Ghanaian music industry not to even mention a nomination.” he wrote in a post on Facebook.
“The highlife genre needs to resonate with Africans to get that required recognition across the world, even our highlife singles don’t cross over for it to be considered in any music awards scheme in Africa except Ghana.”
He argued that the position that reggae is not African is flawed, and that it actually is.
“FYI “reggae and dancehall is not our thing” like you keep saying, is misinformation. Reggae music engendered right here in Africa and no where else, thus it’s acknowledgement and proclivity on the continent to ‘highlife music’ from Ghana.” he continued.
“Please take a critical and closer listen to your peers, the Kojo Antwi’s, Amakye Dede’s, Nana Acheampong’s, Lumba’s etc, all their biggest songs are reggae classics. Africa responds to reggae.”
“Some of Africa’s biggest musical exports are reggae heads like Kojo Antwi, Alpha Blondy, Lucky Dube etc. Big ups to Rocky Dawuni for opening the flood gates to the Grammy’s… Stonebwoy, Black Prophet oya! Enter make we go….” he concluded his response to Gyedu Blay.
Where do you fall on this battle – which genre has the better potential to export Africa to the world???
Read Bulldog’s full post below…