Gyedu Blay Ambolley, a legend of Ghanaian highlife music, is irate at the rate at which local highlife music is being overshadowed by Dancehall music by Ghanaian artists and VGMA organizers.
He claims that the plan has changed over time to give foreigners a false image of Ghana’s musical representation.
“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 artistes with the topmost prizes,” he told Graphic.com.gh in an interview.
He further stated that the media in Ghana has been a major collaborator to the trend.
“The media cannot be absolved from what is happening to highlife music now. They don’t do their own research to ask critical questions.
“For instance, if an artiste plays Reggae beats and sings Twi or Fante, we call it highlife music which is totally wrong because highlife has its own beats.
“Also, the members on the Selection Committee of VGMA are also guilty because they don’t make the right selection. So if critics say Highlife music is dying, it means some people are not doing their homework well,” he added.
The list of nominees for this year’s event, which is scheduled to take place later in the year, was announced by the VGMA, Charterhouse on March 18, 2023.
Kofi Kinaata, Akwaboah, Adina, and Kuami Eugene were nominated as contenders for the Highlife Artiste of the Year category.
The highlife legend commented on the list, saying, “I’m not shocked the Highlife category only has four artists because the young ones think that playing other music genres will get them more fame and prizes.
Thus our artistes are switching to other music styles but that is not helping the positive cause of Highlife music,” he stated.