Drum Rhythms and Highlife on the Gold Coast
Ghana, which gained its independence under Kwame Nkrumah in 1957, is also known as the land of 1000 festivals. Whether in the modern melting pot metropolis of Accra, in Kumasi, the stronghold and residence of Asantehene, the king of the Ashantis, or on the border with Burkina Faso in Bolgatanga, the art of drumming is highly valued and cultivated everywhere, whether the local chief is announcing, the harvest festival needs to be celebrated, or a wedding or funeral is being planned. Drummers are highly respected throughout the country and drum making has a long tradition, whether in Aburi or Tamale. The drum sounds are almost always accompanied by cymbals, vessel rattles and bells / bells. Mustapha Teddy Addy from the Ga people and the formation Adesa are considered outstanding masters of their trade. Instruments such as the saxophone, trumpet, bass and guitar were brought to the country by the colonial power England. Thus, through their use in local brass bands and gospel choirs, the still popular highlife slowly developed from the 1940s onwards. Ebo Taylor, E.T. Mensah, Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band, Kofi Dabanka’s Tribes Head,…..the list of highlife stars is almost endless. Osibisa is considered the most famous band, which also enjoyed great international success. Today, the youth dance to their version of highlife: hip-life. This Ghanian hip hop style has its heroes in singers like Sarkodie, Reggie Rockstone, Obrafour or Batman Samini.
Adesa 26. International Africa Festival / Photo © Bugs Steffen
Adesa was grounded 1989 by Nii Ayi (Reinhard Conen) from Germany and Korikoi Odamentey from Ghana. Adesa was one of the groups who played at the 1st Africa Fetival back in 1989, and that with great sucess. On stage Adesa is a firework of music and dance. Adesa’s songs – sung in her Ga language as well as in the languages of other ethnic groups such as Fanti, Hausa and Twi – pick up on the wisdom of the proverbs that still play an important role in the Ga’s everyday life today, or comment on social injustices.
Adesa – Traditional
The singer with the deep voice comes from the savannah in the north of Ghana. He knows how to play the Molo, a self-made two-string guitar which is made of a calabash. This musical instrument is totally unknown in Europe. He plays the joyful, highly danceable, traditional music of his home country. His lyrics are written in the language of Ghana, Fra Fra, and Pidgin English.