Ghanaian highlife legend, Gyedu Blay Ambolley has accused organisers of Ghana’s foremost music awards event, Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) of causing the collapse of the indigenous genre.
According to him, the scheme over the years has evolved into giving foreigners a false impression of music representation in Ghana.
“It is unfortunate that people think when you sing in Twi or Fante over a Dancehall or Reggae beats it automatically makes it highlife music. That is not true but it has become the norm over the years because these are the kinds of music VGMA rewards.
“Today, if anyone wants to have an idea of what Ghana represents in terms of music, I bet the person will not count any highlife artiste since all the perceived big acts currently are not doing highlife.”
“We have buried our own and pursuing Dancehall music and the likes and interestingly, the VGMA has been promoting the agenda by rewarding such artistes with the topmost prizes,” he told Graphic.com.gh in an interview.
He further stated that the media in Ghana has been a major collaborator to the trend.
“The media cannot be absolved from what is happening to highlife music now. They don’t do their own research to ask critical questions.
“For instance, if an artiste plays Reggae beats and sings Twi or Fante, we call it highlife music which is totally wrong because highlife has its own beats.
“Also, the members on the Selection Committee of VGMA are also guilty because they don’t make the right selection. So if critics say Highlife music is dying, it means some people are not doing their homework well,” he added.
Organisers of VGMA, Charterhouse on March 18, 2023, announced a list of nominees for this year’s event expected to be held later in the year.
For the Highlife Artiste of the Year Category, Kofi Kinaata, Akwaboah, Adina and Kuami Eugene were named as contenders for the category.
Reacting to the list, the highlife legend tod Graphic Showbiz that “I’m not surprised the Highlife category has only four artistes because the young ones believe that doing other music genres will win them more recognition and awards. Thus our artistes are switching to other music styles but that is not helping the positive cause of Highlife music,” he stated.