Legendary Ghanaian Highlife musician Kwabena Kwabena has called for the need to project our sense of identity in relation to the Highlife music genre within Ghana’s music space, devoid of external validation. In a conversation with the Culture Squad on 3Music TV’s Big Conversation, he revealed that most artistes especially within the Ghanaian music space have lost their self identity, focusing on what is popular than pushing their own originality while making reference to efforts by some Nigerian artistes who have continued to push the ever-growing Afrobeat genre until its global recognition and acceptance.
According to him, it is necessary for Ghana to focus less on belonging and be driven toward being heard. He added that the time had come for the establishment of a music academy within the Ghanaian industry, comprising music geniuses – legends from an earlier period as well as the current generation capable of identifying and establishing the structure of our music as it is only then that we will, as a people, be able to have a sense of self.
He pointed out the role of the media in giving artistes a sense of direction in their creative process with the kind of art they project with their platforms, advising that artistes be careful not to be swayed by what is popular but focus on originality in order not to lose themselves in forms of art they do not identify with. He also charged the media and other stakeholders to be intentional in amplifying and upholding their responsibility of defining the identity of Ghanaian music genres enough to be recognized, accepted and projected both locally and internationally.
Additionally, he addressed another section of industry stakeholders - the Ghanaian public - to do better with regard to channeling energies toward constructive criticism as it contributes to either motivating or demoralizing artistes. He concluded by highlighting the importance of investing in a single agenda of safeguarding and projecting the Ghanaian identity. He also hinted on a yet-to-be released feature with Nigerian highlife musicians, The Cavemen.
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