Music is dynamic and music contribute to 90 percent of our everyday lives, whether listening or singing. Music and Culture in Ghana is exceptional and through culture, Ghana has been able to produce prominent and famous musicians.
Naturally, Music and Culture are two different words and have different meaning but when we dissect it on music perspectives they are the same and goes with each other. Well, I know a lot of people will be baffled and find it very absurd to understand me but I do hope you will understand me clearly as we go further.
Hope you will bear with me that music differ, we have various genre of music and this genres can go on and on and on, it all depends on the kind of music your country or culture exhibit. African music is different from Asian music, Asian music is different from American music and American music is different from European music, the list could go lengthy if we want to distinguish between music in which every continents and country plays, because every country on this earth or every civilization on other galaxies has their own way of playing music and this way of playing music is what we termed CULTURE.
The Percussion used to play music is also different from country to country, continent to continent or culture to culture, a percussion in which an European will use to play music will be different from the one an African or an Asian will use to play music, some countries play music using only metal bands, others use electronic devices, some carve wood to make drums, some use plastics and others use rubber. All these instances; the percussion and the way a country plays music is their Culture, they play or sing according to their culture because cultures differ from each, that is why there is a variation in the percussion of an African music and a percussion of Chinese or an Indian music. We are also able to create musical instruments that establishes a connection to the spiritual world with the right intentions and knowledge. In this way sound and music can assist in spiritual and consciousness development.
So therefore, Music and culture are the same and it goes with each other, they are cronies and one cannot flourish without other, both makes one just like how married couple becomes one. A music without culture is not music and a culture without music is not a culture. Music shows ones culture, we play music according to our culture because it is a way of life.
MUSIC AND CULTURE IN GHANA
Music and culture in Ghana is no doubt one of the things that keeps the flame of the country burning. Music and culture has been the bedrock of our development before and after independence. Music and culture were the main tool that fueled the fight for independence, it helped Ghanaians to feel a sense of patriotism, after the independence of Ghana, the leaders composed a song backed with culture and identity and this song is the National Anthem, a National anthem instill a sense of patriotism and identity, this shows typically what Music and Culture does to humankind. How do you feel when you hear your National anthem being played? what feeling and anxiety does it carry ? and how do your frequency react to it?
Our ancestors knew the power of music. Music is sound, sound is vibrations, vibrations cause everything to exist. Music can heal, affect the mood and alter your frequencies. That is why some people cry or feel happy when they hear or listen to a certain music.
Music and Culture in Ghana is fascinating and captivating, it is something which is Ghanaian’s use to determine ones mood, problem or situation such us peace ,war, happiness, troubles, anxiety, victory, melancholy etc. Our ancestors used music and culture to do so many benevolent things than malevolent, they sang and chanted inspirational, motivational and spiritual songs when going to war, again, our brothers and sisters (ancestors) who went into slavery used music as a weapon to fight the oppressor. Music plays vital part in our religious life and ceremonies, it is used to glorify and pacify the creator God and the gods, Music is played during rituals. Music is played when a new born baby is born as well as when a person dies. It is also played when one is working or busy like the fishermen, farmers etc. Music is played during naming ceremony, marriage ceremony, initiation, festivals, entertaining programs and events.
Music and Culture has accompanied each other from the ancient times, when you read Ghana, African or world history, you see a lot of cultures and every culture use music to identify its culture, for example An Ashanti will not dance Kete with Azonto or RnB, An Ewe will not dance Agbadja with Reggae or Hip-hop, why? because that music dont accompany the said culture, it goes contrary to the said culture. An American or European will come to Ghana to learn Ghana’s culture not Indian or Chinese culture.The percussion and the tone of music one is playing will showcase the persons’s culture.
High-life is known to be Ghana’s and Africa’s noted music and our current musicians who are obliged and vexed in their culture are trying to incorporate African culture into Hip-Hop, Hip-Life, Reggae-Dance hall, Jazz, RnB, Gospel etc. We call the African or Ghanaian cultured music AFRO-MUSIC or AFRO-FUSION or Simply an AFRO-BEAT.
Ghana has produce talented Afro-Beat musicians who are famous around the globe, they managed to reach that pinnacle because of their culture, some of this great musicians who put the name of Ghana beyond reach are Kofi “Guy warren” Ghanaba, Osibisa Band, Sol,Amarfio, Afro Moses, Nii Noi Nortey, Root and Anagbo, Kojo Antwi, Gyedu Blay Ambuey, Rocky Dawuni, Amandzeba Nat Brew and many other musicians we have not made mention as well as the various Traditional Ensemble groups who has sold Ghana to the world like the Ciltad Agro Group, Ashanti dance theater,Kusum Gbo dance ensemble, National Dance factory etc.
Culture differs, it is varied and different from country to country, tribe to tribe, ethnicity to ethnicity, race to race and many more. Culture and Tradition is something you cannot throw away, because a person who dont know his/her Culture and traditions is always lost, because you dont know what your culture and tradition is, just like a river without a fish. The name we use, the food we eat, the dress we wear and the music we play all shows our culture, so who are you if you dont know your culture.
To many musicians, the music fraternity is a platform to showcase swag, fame, wealth, culture and clothing (fashion), others use it as an exposure to exhibit their brand or style but at the end they are all trying to convey a particular message to the masses or the general public. That message can be good song, bad song, gospel song, inspirational song, love song, crime song, hate song, nudity/profane song, morality and immorality song. Every musician or a composer has a particular reasons why he or she sings or plays music ,likely, the recipient of that music also has reasons why he or she is listening or likes that particular music, in this way, there is an obligation for every composer or musician to be certain of the kind of music he or she is playing, whether the music is culturally good. To the majority of the music recipient, the vibration of the music beat or the instruments (percussion) moves them, to others, it accompanies or spells out their problems, issues or story of their lives, some also listen to music because of reminiscence or it brings out some nostalgic feelings.
However, one critical thing a music has to do is to portray culture, portraying of culture should be a way of promoting ones culture regardless of ones race, ethnicity, geographical location or nationality. Music and culture in Ghana should identify ones traditions and norms.
When music is used to portray and promote culture, it help solve and curb social vices and issues like crime, teenage pregnancy, indecency, indiscipline, drug abuse, unemployment, education (illiteracy and drop out), child abuse, water and sanitation and the environments.
Music in Ghana shouldn’t be a tool for war and segregation but rather something that will enhance and bolster peace and tranquility. Music is supposed to be use to showcase and revamp culture, it should be used to rekindle the spirit of culture, patriotism,peace and tolerance. It should put smile on peoples face instead of putting hate, lust and distraction in peoples heart.
There are some great and well known musicians from Africa and of Ghanaian descents who had used Culture to transcend barriers and bridged gaps because they used the music as their culture and culture as their music, one typical icon is an evergreen Angelique Kidjo, as soon as you see her you see her culture because she portray and promote culture through her music and a cultural music cannot be profane, because culture is pure, tradition and norm.
Again, we can use Music and Culture in Ghana to promote development, ideas and settle differences, we can use it to empower people to contemplate to aspire to be an asset and not a liability. Music should bring people together instead of separating them, it should ginger the ghetto youth to survive instead of death, a culture music helps women to be virtuous and authentic not sex tools and uncultured, culture music also help the men to be responsible and civilized.
A good music is CULTURE and it is a way of LIFE, it identifies and purifies ones soul because“MUSIC is the only FOOD that can FEED the SOUL”.
In Ghana we have our own culture and that Culture is our way of life, music should outline our way of life, such as how to talk to an elderly, how to be hard working, how to be independent and how to be culturally civilized.