Veteran Highlife Musician Rex Omar has described what he thinks is dragging the Ghanaian music industry back speaking on JoyFM’s Twitter Space with Kwame Dadzi.
Rex Omar has said that one of the reasons Highlife is losing its prominence is the lack of a collective agenda by Ghanaian music stakeholders to promote the genre. On Joy FM’s Twitter Spaces programme hosted by Kwame Dadzie on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, it is difficult for people in the music industry to embark on worthy causes.
“The various musicians and producers who operate within what we call the Ghanaian music industry do not think together. We have organisations like MUSIGA and GHAMRO but they are always involved in rancour, whatever, so there is no agenda.
There are no musicians who have sat down to discuss our sound and our approach. There is nothing like that. Everybody gets up, goes to the studio, and produces his thing. It’s like each one for himself, God for us all,” he said.
He said it is still possible to effect the desired change but proponents of a highlife agenda should not neglect its numerous variants while pushing and pursuing it.
He also stated that it’s still not too late for them to wake up from their sleep and start doing something about it if that is what the industry players really want as far as he is concerned they can still make a difference.
“It’s not too late. We can still create this highlife agenda if that is what we really want to do but we should not let highlife revolve around one sound. It is dynamic,” he noted.
Highlife musician @iamrexomar has cited lack of a collective agenda by Ghanaian music stakeholders to promote highlife, as one of the challenges of the genre.#JoyEntertainment pic.twitter.com/jwSxevym4Q
— Kwame Dadzie (@Kwamedadziegh) April 6, 2023
This comes a few days after highlife artist Gyedu-Blay Ambolley lashed out at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards for vitiating highlife. He told Graphic Showbiz that the VGMA has contributed to the slow progress of the genre.
“It is unfortunate that people think when you sing in Twi or Fante over a Dancehall or Reggae beats it automatically makes it Highlife music. That is not true but it has become the norm over the years because these are the kinds of music VGMA rewards.”
“Today, if anyone wants to have an idea of what Ghana represents in terms of music, I bet the person will not count any Highlife artiste since all the perceived big acts currently are not doing Highlife.”
“We have buried our own and pursuing Dancehall music and the likes and interestingly, the VGMA has been promoting the agenda by rewarding such artists with the topmost prizes,” he said. Rex Omar made the statement on Joy FM’s Twitter Spaces programme on showbiz while discussing ways of preserving and protecting the highlife genre.
In the meantime, the Cultural Forum of Ghana has proposed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to make Highlife an intangible heritage.