The maiden edition of the Highlife Music Awards which came off at the National Theatre in Accra on 6th September 2019, has been hailed as a revolutionary initiative by some notable stakeholders of the Highlife Music fraternity in Ghana. The Public Relations Officer of the Highlife Music Awards Nana Adwoa, stated that the main purpose of the awards was to uphold authentic Highlife Music in order to preserve its legacy and authenticity. Her statement has received support from big names like Rex Omar, Bessa Simons, Zapp Mallet, and other young Highlife musicians.
The maiden edition of the Highlife Music Awards saw patrons from both the young and older age groups not just occupying seats at the National Theatre on Friday but also dancing to the various Highlife songs that were performed. The Public Relations Officer of the event Nana Adwoa, said in her opening speech that appreciating Highlife Music was the sole aim of the initiative and not necessarily about the personalities involved. “Highlife Music Awards is not just celebrating musicians, but also celebrating authentic Ghanaian music. With this edition, there was no nominations as the selection was done through a four member board with adequate insight and experience in the Highlife Music industry”, she said.
Nana Adwoa added that the current trend of young musicians taking up music careers in Highlife Music was a sign of the growth and future longevity of Highlife Music. She said this in response to the public perception that Highlife Music is fading and almost dead. “I strongly believe that growth is a global phenomenon, and when growth happens, inclusiveness cannot be absent. And that is why today we see a lot of young Ghanaian musicians going back to their roots to do Highlife Music”, she explained.
The Acting – President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) Bessa Simons, expressed his satisfaction and gladness at the event. He said it was necessary for young musicians to consider a career in Highlife Music and appealed to corporate bodies to support it. “I think the Highlife Music Awards means a lot to Ghanaian musicians. In fact, I have been impressed by the performances tonight; especially the young musicians. This is the beginning and I pray it gets better. We also want young musicians to play Highlife Music and they should be assured that in due time they will be also recognized for their works. I hereby appeal to corporate bodies to support this initiative because it is our culture”, he said.
There were some solidarity messages from young Highlife Musicians at the event. One of the award winners of the night Kumi Guitar of Zylofon Music, said “I have been waiting for this for sometime now and I’m glad it’s finally here. I commend the organizers for a job well done and I pray that this event comes to stay because Highlife Music really needs attention.”
Also, Highlife sensation ‘Bless’, expressed his joy of being able to attend the event. “Highlife Music will forever stand on its own. Highlife is a genre that portrays the Ghanaian culture and as Ghanaians it will always be ours. Personally, I feel so great to have been part of this show”, he said.
The event had performances from Highlife Music bands and musicians namely Akwaboah, Wulomei group, and Rex Omar. But it was ‘Bless’ with his 2017 release ‘Cho Cho Mu Cho’ that had everybody dancing in the auditorium including Nii Kwashie Gbolor IV – Traditional Ruler of Ngleshie Amanfro, who couldn’t help it but get out of his seat and danced throughout the entire performance.
The organizers of the Highlife Music Awards have stated that the event will be replicated next year.
Highlife Music Awards 2019 – Winners:
Traditional Highlife music of the Year – ‘Dwom Krɔ’ by Maame Ode
Palmwine Highlife Music of the Year – kwanpa Music
Urban Highlife Music of the Year – kumi Guitar
Highlife Music Guitar Band of the Year – Dada Hafco
Highlife Song of the Year – MAFUTUSƐM by Akwaboah Jr.
Highlife Artiste of the Year – Quarme Zaggy
Highlife Music ‘Big Band of the Year’ – ‘Made in Ghana’ by Okyeame Kwame
Lifetime Achievement Award – Ebo Taylor
By Jerry Wonder