The National Folklore Board (NFB) in collaboration with Association of Ghanaian Unions in Switzerland (AGUS), and Ghana Embassy in Switzerland, has launched the Ghana Day Festival Highlife Concert and Business Expo 2023, in Accra.
The concert scheduled to take place from June 30 to July 1, 2023, in Switzerland, on the theme, “’See Ghana, Buy Ghana,” is aimed at taking Ghanaian highlife music to Switzerland to create a bigger platform for industry players.
Mrs Bernice Ann Deh-Kumah, Executive Director, National Folklore Board, said the concert represents a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts by stakeholders to foster partnerships and investments in Ghana.
She said music played an important role in society, as the universal language of cohesion and an excellent example of the power of intangible cultural heritage to unite humanity around the world, share values and aspirations.
She said cultural heritage was not just about the physical aspects of culture such as historical artefacts and monuments, but also about traditions or living expressions inherited from the ancestors and passed onto our descendants, including traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festivals events, knowledge, skills, and practices concerning nature and the universe, as well as music and dance.
According to her, this heritage was tremendously important because it was continuously recreated and evolved as communities adapted their practices and traditions in response to their environment. “It is inclusive, representative and community-based and helps to bond societies together.”
Mrs Deh-Kumah said Highlife music was an integral part of the intangible cultural heritage that was loved and treasured all over Ghana. It developed to the sound of the country’s history and to this day, it contributes to dialogue on issues on injustice, resistance, love and humanity.
“It is time to recognize the value of Ghanaian Highlife Music to take its place alongside Reggae and Rumba music.”
She noted that music was a powerful vehicle for raising awareness and reaching out to different groups of people in society therefore the prosperity of musicians was a priority to Ghana.
Mr John Yao Agbeko, Chief Director, Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, said Highlife had been a part of Ghana’s culture for many years and was one of Ghana’s cultural exports that had made great impact on the economy by way of attracting many tourists into the country.
He said organising such an event in a foreign land was a good feature for Ghana’s heritage sector and the Ministry was proud of such a milestone as it promotes and protects highlife music.
“Currently, the Ministry is supervising the revision of Ghana’s Cultural Policy to properly preserve Ghana’s intangible cultural heritage which includes Highlife music, and we hope that this concert and concert will effectively promote the Ghanaian culture and contribute to attracting investors from the diaspora.”
The Chief Director was hopeful that “through this Concert in Switzerland, Ghana would preserve Highlife music, highlife artistes and its cultural repertoire, brand identity for highlife music, possibly establish a space for highlife music as a genre in the music eco-system, create the sense of connection between Ghana and the world community through highlife music, amplify Ghana’s investment potentials, strengthen the Ghana and Switzerland bilateral trade portfolios, whiles promoting Ghana’s tourism, creative arts and culture.”
He commended the Board for taking up the initiative, saying,” over the years many bodies and individuals have made great strides to contribute to the promotion and exportation of Ghana’s culture both tangible and intangible”
Madam Abigail Lamptey, AGUS, expressed appreciation to the NFB for coming on board not only to join them celebrate the Ghana Day festival but also to bring in and reactivate Ghanaian highlife in Switzerland.
“There is a great difference between playing highlife and performing highlife, so I am sure it is going to be a great experience and would also open more avenues between Ghana and Switzerland.”
Mr Abdul Rahman Dialo, Country Director, UNESCO, said it was important to recognise the work of the artists as they played a vital role in social organisation.
UNESCO has adopted the recommendation concerning the status of the artists through the implementation of policies and measures related to training, social security, employment, and tax conditions particularly for self-employed artists to be organised in trade unions or professional associations that could represent and defend the interests of their members, he said.