Ghanaian Afro Pop musician Rex Omar has warned that Ghana’s music industry may lose out as the originator of Highlife music if frantic efforts are not made to preserve the music genre.
According to him, “I can see Nigerians taking Highlife music and claiming it as theirs.” However, he said Ghana has every opportunity to own back the music which originated in Ghana at the turn of the 20th century by giving it priority over others.
“Highlife must be encouraged; Highlife must be redefined and encouraged because I can see Nigerians taking it and then claiming it as theirs. But it all depends on me and you—you, the media and we the musicians. Highlife by its nature, if we don’t make a frantic effort to promote it, we will not… We need to make frantic efforts to promote it. We should let musicians feel the necessity to go to the studio to record Highlife,” he told News One.
“If we know when we go to the studio to record it people will help in promoting it, then we will do it. Why should people go to the studio to record Highlife while they know Ghana is interested in promoting Dancehall? Why? Ghana will promote Dancehall and Ghana will reward Dancehall; Ghana will pay for Dancehall. Why should I go and record Highlife if I know the guy who is recording Dancehall, I can even do better Dancehall than him? It is business. Why should I go and record Highlife while somebody will record Dancehall and you are rewarding Dancehall? So there should be a frantic effort that this is our music, let’s promote it; and that is the only way even the Dancehall players will stop and go and record Highlife,” he added.
Rex, born Rex Owusu Marfo, is set to release his 17th studio album this year, 11 years after he released his last album. The new album, with the working title Restoration, will be a blend of Highlife, Afro Pop, Salsa, Hip Hop, Jazz, Adowa and more.
On Friday evening, Rex had dinner with a section of Ghanaian entertainment reporters at La Palm Beach Hotel where he also dropped hints about the upcoming album. Rex was full of praise and appreciation for the media for the exposure given him in all the years of his music career.
According to him, Rex Omar wouldn’t have been who he is now without the media, adding that he is bent on keeping the good relationship. But he said he is not happy with the current state of Highlife music.
Source: Francis Addo /News One
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