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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Social History of Ghanaian Popular Entertainment Since Independence
Author:Collins, John
Periodical:Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana (ISSN 0855-3246)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Ghana
West Africa
Subjects:popular music
History and Exploration
Architecture and the Arts
Economics and Trade
History, Archaeology
social history
Entertainment events
Abstract:Foreign music was introduced to southern Ghanaian towns and sea ports from the 1880s. The different genres were gradually Africanized and by the 1940s, 'highlife' had become the generic term for all the new forms of Ghanaian music, whether played by brass bands, guitar bands or dance orchestras. After World War II, under the influence of the mass independence movement and nationalist ethos there was a more self-conscious Africanization of the highlife dance and guitar bands and associated 'concert party' popular theatre groups. Many of these supported Kwame Nkrumah's Convention Peoples Party and when Ghana became independent in 1957, Nkrumah in turn supported the local popular music and entertainment sector. In the 1960s African American soul music and its associated Afrocentric fashions triggered an Africanization of imported western pop music, leading to Afro-soul, Afro-beat and Afro-rock. With the general collapse of the Ghanaian economy in the late 1970s, the political instability of the early 1980s, including a night curfew (1982-1984), and the imposition of luxury taxes (160 percent) on imported musical instruments, the local music industry slumped. However, new forms of popular music evolved to fill the vacuum, including local gospel music which operates within the untaxed spaces of the churches, 'techno-pop' music styles (like burgher highlife and hiplife) that are cheap to produce as their drum machines and synthesizers cut down on the large personnel of old-time highlife bands, and a proliferation of 'folkloric' and 'neotraditional' groups related to the growth of foreign tourism and an international interest in African and 'world music'. Recognition of the potential economic value of the popular entertainment sector has led to new government policies. In 2004 the massive import duties on musical instruments were reduced and in 2005 the entertainment industry was added to the current Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]