Monday, June 27, 2011

Time Changes

Photo by Nana Kofi Acquah (

I really like this short essay by writer Nana Awere Damoah about the personal significance he found as a child in the highlife song "Time Changes" by Akwasi Ampofo Adjei and his Kumapim Royals Band. This song tells the story of a teacher giving a lesson to his students on the topic of life, its theme: "time changes."

                 Read the essay HERE

Time changes - Mr. AAA  (A remake of the original song)

Time Changes  (The original song from the 1980s. Unfortunately this is only a short selection)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ghanaian PSAs

Ghanaian song texts, whether popular or traditional, are often concerned with didactic, educational matters. Traditional/highlife songs may extol particular morals and values, while storytelling serves to impress various lessons upon listeners. In more recent times, traditional groups (such as Adowa/Nwomkro ensembles) have integrated songs into their repertoire which deal with such current topics as HIV/AIDS awareness and the dangers of reckless driving. In this same vein, hiplife (Ghana's ruling popular music) may be used as a platform for a variety of public service announcements, whether advertising politicians or raising awareness about any number of issues. 

The four very catchy, sometimes amusing videos I've posted here represent hiplife/highlife PSAs broadcast over radio and television. These songs are rather unusual, and most are incredibly catchy. First (above) is a popular commercial from 2007, which explains in musical form the logistics of the currency change which occurred that same year. Unfortunately the artist is unknown. This is also one of the catchiest songs ever!

Keep the Money Clean - Akoo Nana & Castro

Second is "Keep the Money Clean" by hiplifers Akoo Nana and Castro. As demonstrated in the video, these artists urge Ghanaians to "keep our Cedi clean" by using wallets and avoiding crumpling bills.

    Efinye - Lucky Mensah

Third, Lucky Mensah (a somewhat older highlife musician) appears in "Efinye" dressed as a sanitation worker, telling listeners to keep Ghana's cities clean.

Ntom Tom Be Wu (Aha Yede Remix) - Nana Boroo

Finally, we have a remix of Nana Boroo's popular song "Aha Yede." In "Ntom Tom Be Wu," Boroo discusses ways in which Ghanaians may avoid malaria.  Highlights include a dance party in a giant mosquito net!