Deputy Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey, has disagreed with the assertion that highlife music is lost in Ghana’s industry after the rise of other music genres.
Speaking at his vetting by Parliament’s Appointment Committee on Tuesday, he said that the many music genres young artistes are experimenting with currently, has the highlife genre as the default rhythm.
“We still enjoy highlife, we are still producing highlife but it is in a different form for the youth of today. It will be difficult for highlife to die, because most of the music we listen to today, even the dancehall, or other genre of music, they all have the rudiments of highlife,” he pointed out.
The former President of the Creative Arts Council explained that highlife has never died, but it certainly evolved over the years.
He told Asawase MP Muntaka Mubarak, who asked the question on how to revive highlife, that it would be difficult to have the same kind of highlife that held sway in the 1980s, currently.
Mr. Okraku-Mantey stated that every generation put their own spin on highlife music and so has the youth of today.
“If you listen to the 1970s Nana Ampadus, then it came to George Darko who changed it using burger beat, making it burger highlife. Then over time, we heard people like Charles Amoah also coming in with their type of highlife, then Daddy Lumba, Kojo Antwi, Oheneba Kissi, then the Daasebre Gyamenahs also came to change it.
“After that generation we got Ofori Amponsah. If you listen to all these rhythms, you will see that almost everyone comes with different rhythms. You will see that almost everyone comes with a different form of highlife. So it will be difficult to have a particular type of highlife play for about 20 years,” he explained.
He added that he has been a part of many projects, including the MTN Highlife Festival, to ensure the continued growth of the genre.
Mark Okraku-Mantey however, promised to engage players in the entertainment industry to refrain from promoting promiscuity in their works.
Mark Okraku-Mantey started music production in 1996 as the Chief Executive Officer of Slip Music.
He worked with artistes such as Kojo Ashakan, Felix Bell, Ohene Kissi, Lord Kenya, Daasebre Gyamenah, Adane Best, Akyeame, Okuraseni Samuel, Bless, and Kumi Guitar.
Others include Nana Yaw Asare, Jamson, Kudjo Sasu, and Nana Quame, Swazzy B. Joe Frazier, among others.
Mark’s love for the arts goes beyond just music. At a time, he was the Executive Producer of ‘Efiewura’, a comedy series that is aired on TV3.
He has also been involved in organising some of the biggest events that the country has ever seen.