Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Maybe the clarinet isn't exactly what we think of when we talk about highlife, but this instrument tends to appear in many, sometimes unexpected places. From the high-class dance music of E.T. Mensah to the rootsy guitar-band style of E.K. Nyame and the concert party, the clarinet adds something unique and quite out of the ordinary.
Here are three old recordings featuring the clarinet played in highlife style. Perhaps my favorite here is the second selection by the Osu Selected Union, in which the clarinet maneuvers dexterously in step with the melody while a playful argument is acted out between "Sowah" and his girlfriend "Ese" (drama ensues when Ese announces she is going out to attend the Homowo festival). You can find this recording on the collection "Ghana Popular Music, 1931-1957."
The Ga Quartet - Paulina
Osu Selected Union - Homowo Ese
E.K.'s Band - Agya Nyame Nka Wo Ho