Critically acclaimed British-Ghanaian producer, Juls, has in a conversation with the Culture Squad on the Big Conversation, shared his thoughts on the state of Ghana music, highlife music and its potential to transform the Ghanaian sound.
As a pioneer and an advocate for the promotion of Ghanaian and African music and the use of indigenous sounds in artistic creation, Juls has proven himself to be a true son of the land and a force to reckon with, having applied himself in such respect while working with some of the celebrated names in the history of contemporary African music since the beginning of its global transition and acceptance. From the likes of Mr Eazi, Wande Coal to Wizkid and Burna Boy, Juls has identified himself with production underlaid by traditional, highlife elements and has continued to evolve his sound in transitioning different periods and eras.
According to him, some of the Afrobeats giants in the world today have in one way or the other tapped into the Highlife sound in its true Ghanaian nature and have in the process made it theirs through projecting it through their own culture and indigenous understanding. This, coupled with other factors such as unity and an unwavering aggression towards achieving success by any means, has led to the global domination of Nigerian music as is being witnessed. As regards Highlife music, he made mention of some artistes who have incorporated elements in their music, from Sarkodie, M.anifest and Worlasi, while in current times the genre has been completely neglected by creatives and consumers alike.
Citing Camidoh’s Sugarcane as an example of Ghanaian music which has been conflated by several people as Nigerian music, Juls shed light on a massive misconception purporting the adoption of a Nigerian feel when instead those sounds have borrowed from sounds that have existed locally but have been underappreciated and underutilized.
He touched on the need for Ghanaian creatives and consumers to revisit their history, learn, understand and evolve it in ways that are unique to bring back the identity of Ghana music. He cited 60’s Highlife and its potential when understood to evolve the Ghanaian sound as is known today. He also called for the unification of creatives, consumers and stakeholders investing in the elevation of Ghana music to the world like was seen years ago with the Highlife, Hip life and Azonto eras while reaffirming his personal commitment towards the promotion of Ghana music, sound and culture through his works.
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