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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Highlife is a musical genre that originated in Ghana and spread to Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the 1920s and other West African countries. It is very popular in Liberia and all of English-speaking West Africa, although little has been produced in other countries due to economic challenges brought on by war and instability. "Joromi" is a sub-genre.

Highlife is characterized by jazzy horns and multiple guitars which lead the band. Recently, it has acquired an uptempo, synth-driven sound (cf. Daddy Lumba).

Saka Acquaye and His African Ensemble are featured on Nonesuch Explorer Series album Ghana: High-Life & Other Popular Music (Voices of Africa: High-Life and Other Popular Music 1969/2002). Other artists include:

Highlife in Jazz

  • Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders recorded a song called High Life on Rejoice (1981)
  • Pierre Dørge and his New Jungle Orchestra played in the Highlife style, e.g. on Even The Moon Is Dancing (1985)
  • Guitarist Sonny Sharrock had a song called Highlife on the album of the same name (1990)
  • Craig Harris (trombone) had a song called High Life on the album F-Stops (1993)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Highlife" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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