In the 1920s, Ghanaian musicians incorporated foreign influences like the foxtrot and calypso with Ghanaian rhythms like osibisaba (Fante). Highlife was associated with the local African aristocracy during the colonial period, and was played by numerous bands including the Jazz Kings, Cape Coast Sugar Babies, and Accra Orchestra along the county's coast.The high class audience members who enjoyed the music in select clubs gave the music its name. E.T. Mensah suggests that the "people outside [the clubs] called it highlife as they did not reach the class of the couples going inside, who not only had to pay a relatively high entrance fee of about 7 Cedis, but also had to wear full evening dress, including top-hats if they could afford it.By the 1930s, Highlife spread via Ghanaian workers to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Gambia among other West African countries, where the music quickly gained popularity.
In the 1940s, the music diverged into two notable streams: dance band highlife and guitar band highlife. Guitar band highlife featured smaller bands and, at least initially, was most common in rural areas. Because of the history of stringed instruments like the seprewa in the region, musicians were happy to incorporate the guitar. They also used the dagomba style, borrowed from Kru sailors from Liberia, to create highlife's classic two-finger style.Guitar band highlife also featured singing, drums and claves. E.K. Nyame and his Akan Trio helped to popularize guitar band highlife, and would release over 400 records during his lifetime.Dance band highlife, by contrast, was more rooted in urban settings. In the post-war period, larger dance bands began to be replaced by smaller professional ones, typified by the success of E.T. Mensah and the Tempos. As foreign troops departed, the primary audiences became increasingly Ghanaian, and the music changed to cater to their tastes. Mensah's fame soared after he played with Louis Armstrong in Accra in May 1956, and he eventually earned the nickname, the "King of Highlife.Also important from the 1950s onwards was musician King Bruce, who served as band leader to the Black Beats, an numerous other bands.
This has been the style of music I have always wanted to play, as a musician with a Jazz influence...Discover my few compositions that I have managed to produce on this album (my first ) and I hope you will enjoy Them.