Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vida Rose & the Cool Guys - 7" (Gapophone)

I am rather fascinated by old-time highlife music featuring female singers, perhaps because these recordings are so difficult to come across. Female highlife singers in Ghana were largely marginalized through the first half of the 20th century due to social taboos and public perceptions of sexual promiscuity and impropriety. To quote concert party pioneer Bob Johnson, "A girl on stage would be branded a girl without morals." So, male actors took on the role of the female impersonator in the concert parties, while male "treble singers" strained to reach high, female-like vocal ranges. The few female singers who did make successful careers for themselves in the 1950s, '60s and '70s included Julie Okine, Charlotte Dada, Adwoa Badu, and Janet Osei, and these women surely faced some tremendous adversities.
Here we have a 7" single by "Highlife Sister no. 1" Vida Rose, released on the Gapophone label. According to John Collins, Rose was a guitarist in addition to being a singer, setting up her own concert party group in the late sixties. I've been intrigued by Rose since Voodoo Funk's "Big Mama Unice" mix back in 2007, and I humbly offer these two additional songs by the very cool Vida Rose.

    Vida Rose Single

Note: Vida Rose photos kindly borrowed from Voodoo funk.


  1. thanks for the post, but the link seems to be bad; unrecognized file type.

  2. Hi, You have some lovely music here. I have quite a few Highlife 45s including a Vida Rose on Gapophone and would gladly send you an MP3

  3. Cool! I would love to hear more music from Ms. Vida Rose, and I'm sure readers here would feel the same way. You can email me at if you like.
    Best wishes