By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
A group of talented musicians led by bassist Emmanuel Ofori recently proved the revitalization of Ghanaian highlife is firmly on course as they progressively exhibited what may be termed as “neo-highlife”.
Performing at the Goethe-Institut in Accra, the band showcased highlife with swift and skipping rhythms alongside a pristine sound quality that revealed a tight and stretched stage coordination.
With rigorous rehearsals for an impeding Europe tour, the group offered the audience a topic for discussion on the future of Ghanaian Highlife as they showcased a massive display of raw talent, which is fueled by a passion to preserve Ghanaian musical heritage.
Comprising multi-instrumentalists who alternate in their arrangements during recording and live performances, the band exposed some sort of a musical liberation as they waxed from diverse genres with Highlife as a foundation.
With Dominic Quarchie (guitar), Prince Larbi (drums), Emmanuel Agyeman (keyboard), Robert Koomson (lead vocals), Norbet Arthur (trumpet), Bernard Gyamfi (trombone) and Emmanuel Kuntu-Blankson (percussion), the band did put up a robust show that elicited constant applause.
Also on stage was the veteran highlife musician Anthony Kobina Yeboah (A.K. Yeboah), who brought nostalgic feelings to the elderly members of the crowd with a brilliant rendition of classic highlife tunes from the 1950s and 60s.
Full of energy, the 80-year-old living legend surprised the audience with his dancing skills while interspersing his performance with anecdotes of life in Ghana prior to independence.
Santrofi has an album “Alewa” to its credit – indeed, it reveals a great deal of influences from diverse sources while interweaving the compositions with highlife from different eras.
Goethe-Institut Ghana supported the pre-tour concert, which will take place in five European countries.