Highlife Giants

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‘Highlife is the only music in this country that has stood and will continue to stand the test of time.’ – Victor Olaiya

As West Africa’s oldest form of popular music, highlife was the soundtrack of the independence era. Its influence still resonates today.

Highlife Giants is an intimate portrait of the pioneering artistes of West Africa’s music scene from the 1920s onwards. It contains interviews with stars such as E.T Mensah, Kofo Ghanaba, King Bruce, Bobby Benson, Victor Uwaifo, and Ignace De Souza revealing priceless behind-the-scenes moments such as Louis Armstrong giving Eddie Okonta a trumpet with a golden mouthpiece after seeing him perform. Highlife Giants charts the development of this rich and varied popular form which is hugely influential on contemporary West African music from Afrobeat to hiplife.

Blending European and African-American styles with traditional African patterns, highlife music contributed to the development of post-independence national identity in both Ghana and Nigeria. As such, highlife remains crucial in generating social commentary, protest and contributing to the formation of a pan-African musical identity.

For those who lived through the era, Highlife Giants will be a compendium that invokes treasured memories. For their children and grandchildren, this book will inspire an interest in the rich musical history of West Africa


Author: John Collins | Print ISBN: 978-1911115298  | E-Book ISBN: 978-1911115304 | Format: Paperback | No. of Pages: 344 | Pub Date: 2016

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellah Allfrey, OBE.
Please credit: "Photographed by Charlie Hopkinson at Rye Books, London."

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is a Zimbabwean-born editor and critic. Based in London, she is the former deputy editor of Granta magazine and has also held positions as senior editor at Jonathan Cape and assistant editor at Penguin. In 2015 she served as a judge for the Man Booker Prize. She is series editor of the Kwani? Manuscript Project and the editor of Africa39 (Bloomsbury, 2014), Let’s Tell this Story Properly (Commonwealth Writers/Dundurn Press, 2015), and Flamingoland and Other Stories (Spread the Word, 2015). She sits on the boards of Art for Amnesty, the Caine Prize for African Writing, and the Writers Centre Norwich and is a patron of the Etisalat Literature Prize. Her introduction to Woman of the Aeroplanes by Kojo Laing was published by Pearson in 2012. In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for services to the publishing industry.


What she actually says is important. Here’s her warning: “And then it suddenly became old hat and it was almost completely dropped. So one swallow doesn’t make a summer.” https://t.co/H1c7tN6q9F

Me: I have a cow in my ancestral village
“African writer”: Ah. (Understanding significance). I had a herd of goats.
Me: Her name is Butler. I want her to die of old age (because - vegan). What happened to your goats?
African writer (you! @aminattaforna): 😁 We ate them!

Word.
But I don’t know if I want to laugh at how funny it is (Sally... Mary...) OR cry at the fact that I’ve heard exactly the same responses.
Think I’ll just pour some gin. https://t.co/n0SYRWyaTf