Play Ghana Initiative: Why Ghana needs to define its genre of music to succeed

Since the question of Play Ghana is making rounds on our airwaves for these couple of days, it will be fair to identify ourselves first with the question: what is our genre of music?

Play Ghana Initiative

Music as a form of art and creativity is not only the combination of musical instruments for rhymes and rhythms but the art of the heart for the cultural identity of nations and history in arts and culture.

When l was a kid growing up, the only genres of music l knew heavily of in Ghana were: Hiplife which was dominated by Obuo, Tinny, Okyeame Kwame, Lord Kenyan, Obrafour and Shatta Wale; and Highlife which was dominated by Amakye Dede, Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, Oheneba Kisi, Ofori Amponsah et al.

Unfortunately, today, we cannot vividly mention the very genre of music that we pride ourselves on as a people. To put it succinctly, there's no denying that Nigerians are the custodians of Afrobeats and are extremely popular across the globe, topping charts on various streaming platforms and shutting down huge auditoriums with this genre even in our country as the likes of Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, Rema, Tems and Ayra Starr which have earned them Grammy nominations. Burna Boy and Wizkid have even won one apiece.

It's because these musicians have identified with their culture in music, so there's no one competing with them. Just as South Africans have identified with Amapiano and Kwaito, Tanzanians with Bongo Flava, and Congolese with Rumba and Soukous, we should find our roots, go back to our culture and take what's ours.

But the omniscient pundit, Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo, trashed the idea and called Shatta Wale names in a petty and disgusting manner, disregarding the focal point of having identified for global recognition because times have changed. This is easier to do in our society because perception clouds our intelligence.

While l understand that doing Dancehall and Hip Hop may be good for the music business, it's also evidently fair to find our roots because l don't see how Hip Hop legends like Jay Z, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar will be nominated in the same category with Joey B for Grammy Awards and one will expect the latter to win.

Finally, l would like to appeal to the stakeholders that while l support Samini and his colleague's call for the Play Ghana initiative, it'll be fair to find our traditional rhythms again. If not, Ghana music will be in a maze forever.

By: Elikplim Doe Kwashie Zevor

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