Music and identity Sticking to culture and identity in music does not show growth - Josh Laryea

In an interview with Abrantepa on Radio Univers’ mid-morning show, Brunch2Lunch, Pastor Laryea noted that if an artist adds a foreign element to a local one, that cannot be considered as drifting; rather, dynamism

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Renowned gospel artiste, Josh Laryea (Tseataa) has said that it is not enough for artistes to focus on portraying culture and identity in their music.

His comments came in the wake of Highlife legend, Gyedu Blay Ambulley’s claims that the current crop of Ghanaian musicians do not portray the country’s identity in their music. According to him, this generation of musicians are not learning music as they should.

But in an interview with Abrantepa on Radio Univers’ mid-morning show, Brunch2Lunch, Pastor Laryea noted that if an artist adds a foreign element to a local one, that cannot be considered as drifting; rather, dynamism.

“Every generation and the sound they introduce. Culture evolves. If we are talking about culture, actually, what music does is to explain the evolving culture of the people. So music speaks to the life of the people in the past, present and future. If you are talking about culture, then it means the melody, rhythm, lyrics, harmony and presentation come into the picture. All these have to do with the person. None of these elements have been static.”

He continued: “if you pick a ‘Yaa Amponsah’ kind of rhythm and you add something foreign to it and you feel the ‘Yaa Amponsah’ underneath, what you call it is not drifting. It is dynamism.”

Pastor Laryea opines that, sticking to culture and identity only introduces people to where that person is coming from.

“You can say that as much as we move into other things, we should not lose some of the elements of our music. That will introduce everybody to where we are coming from. If you want to wear something out of tune, you will be archaic. And that does not show growth and progress”, he said.

The youth singer commended the current crop of musicians for “sticking to the basic elements of the Ghanaian identity and adding foreign stuff to make it international”.

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