Traditional / folk music of Ghana
Ghana is a country located in West Africa with many ethnic groups and tribes. The diversity of folk music and dances in Ghana is huge. The traditional music is bound to many different styles of rhythms and dances. And each region and tribe has it's own rhythms ans styles of drumming. They are performed for different rituals. Each of these rituals are part of the identity for each tribe. During the 20th and 21th centuries, as many of these tribes migrate from villages to towns, lots of their traditional music and style of drumming mixing together.
One interesting point is in Ghana, the word "culture" refer to traditional drumming, dance and songs. "Culture group" refers to bands who do it.
Ghana can be said as the most stable and economically successful country in Africa or at least in West Africa during the first decade of 21th century. Some presidents elected democratically after each other and it is the home of ex-United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Refer to history, before the 15th century there were a migration from Western Sudan, Mauritania, and Mali to Ghana. Then the first white colonies who arrived to Ghana was Portuguese around 1470 and later they followed by English, Germans, Dutch and Dances. The Europeans named the region the Gold Coast as they found rich mineral areas. These immigration and changes brings music and culture to Ghana and it can be said they form a folk music that we know today in Ghana. The other African immigrants brought drumming and rhythms to Ghana and made existing rhythms more diverse. The Europeans brought gospel music which still exists today as people of Ghana are highly religious. It is interesting that many Afro-Rythem from folk music of Western Africa (including Ghana) went to America (different part from north America to South America) and shape the folk music and culture of those regions and later these musics came back to West Africa through Jazz or other music genres and shape new music styles in West Africa. Part of the Highlife which is a big genre of folk music in Ghana is Afro-Cuban guajeo.
Highlife music is the most significant type of folk music today in Ghana. The origin of music come back to days of colonization. Western instrument came by sailors, soldiers and missionaries to west Africa. The first military bands shaped with guitars, accordions, banjos and horn instruments and soon it found it's way to bars and clubs. This type of folk music is actually the mixture of American Jazz with local music specially with melodies and rhythmic structures of Akan people. Later with the movements of workers to other West African countries, it spreads into neighborhoods like Sierra Leon, Nigeria, Liberia, ...
The spreading of folk music of Ghana and Highlife music is tighten with the name of E.T. Mensah who had a big role in developing and spreading of this folk music to other countries and also to the world. He established a band named The Tempos with some other professional musicians like Guy Warren who mostly played Afro-Cuban rhythm. They toured a lot and absorbed many musical concept and put them into Highlife music.
This music is sung in many different local dialect in Ghana like Ganti, Twi, Ewe and even Spanish and English.
The folk music of Ghana is huge and diverse. If you have more information about the folk music of Ghana, it's genres or instruments or you know specific songs on each genre, please kindly contact us and let us know about it. Also if you see any wrong information about the song tags on the list below please kindly let us know.
Traditional / folk songs for Ghana
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