Today marks the final part of our exploration of Highlife in Ghana, but fear not I will be showcasing more of the genre in the near future. We already touched upon the influence of the music from the West such as Funk and Jazz and how this was incorporated into modern Highlife music.
In the early 1970’s there was a movement in Ghana to bring music back to its roots and ignore what was going on in the rest of the world, instead to focus on the country’s cultural and musical heritage. The Ga-Adangbe people of South-East Ghana, started this movement taking music back to its early simple form and often fusing it with traditional folk tales. Nii Tei Ashitey, himself a Ga and the percussionist with E.T Mensah‘s Tempos Band, famously set up the band and cultural group Wulomei, meaning “Fetish Priest” in Ga, who embraced the ideals of the movement.
Today’s band, Dzadzeloi, “bards” in Ga, followed in the vein of Wulowei, incorporating traditional stories into their stripped back music. The album, Two Paddy Follow One Girl, tells the story of how two men fall in love with the same girl.
The band was formed and led by Nana Nelson in 1974 and they recorded this LP the following year. Today’s track Wonshe Hunu, is a traditional Ga folk story and has had nine previous versions according to the sleeve notes. The song itself is stripped back mellow music with lovely drums, a simple melody and harmonious vocals.
Enjoy the weekend!
Dzadzeloi – Two Paddy Follow One Girl (1975) – Agoro Records (AGL 010)