Highlife is Ghana. For a century it's developed, mutated, and changed, played in many ways and styles by bands with any combination of instruments. This CD focuses on the 1980s and the output of one particular studio. So while it's not exactly a broad survey, it does offer a little slice of music, with the emphasis very firmly on electric guitars, whether the frantic rhythms of the Happy Boys or the more laid-back approach of the wonderfully named Beach Scorpions or George Adu's "Obina Mma Obi Kyere No," where saxophone weaves in and out of the lines -- not jazz, but some organic hybrid of music. With eight different acts, the compilation does offer a fair amount of variety, the wonky guitars of Guyoyo creating a particular affection on "Osikuni Atamio" with a garage amateurishness that's actually very professional if you listen a little more closely. The glorious thing about highlife is how inclusive it is, ranging from the soul/jazz inflections of "Niawu Be Ye" to the more formal "Ensuah Nzema Kotoko." So while hardly a complete look at highlife in any era, this remains a thoroughly enjoyable little bit of Ghana on your stereo.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson