The fusion of traditional African rhythms with Westernized brass and melodies is the core of Highlife music. Its capital is Ghana. It originated on the coast and spread through West Africa, via the vehicle of colonialism. It uses the poly-rhythmic tribal beats, which just roll like a wheel (as opposed to the more punctuated phrasing of western rhythms). The music has been around and evolved for the better part of a century - through the jazz age, and electronification, and war.
This is the first of a series of posts relating to Highlife music. Unfortunately, due to very funny restrictions here (in Ghana), a lot of the following tracks are abbreviated. However, I hope they still give you an idea of the spirit out here. Enjoy.
First, I'm posting a couple catchy examples of the early Highlife. For anybody looking for good hooks or vocal samples - this is an absolute gold mine. These are the pioneers of the music, laying the foundations: