He's been a staunch critic of contemporary Ghanaian music and there seems no stopping for Afrobeats icon, Gyedu Blay Ambolley, in his mission to bring sanity to the music industry.
Ambolley, who has been celebrated around the world for his contribution to the music industry says Ghana is gradually losing its identity and place in world music.
He said his critique of contemporary music isn’t borne out of hatred but an interest to see a vibrant industry that produces world class acts.
For him, the latest trend where artistes make what he describes as “sharp sharp” music without recourse to creativity but which are hailed by the masses, is destroying the industry.
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“The introduction and popularity of computers for sound programming has contributed to these ‘sharp sharp’ songs. They just put words together and with the assistance of these computers, produce sounds and release them.
“ But you see, just as these songs become popular within a short time, that is the same way they vanish and no one even remembers them anymore,” he said in an interview with Showbiz on Friday.
To back his claim, he mentioned songs like Small Girl by Atumpan and Nana Boroo’s Aha Yede which ruled the airwaves for a while but faded too quickly.
Perhaps, Ambolley may be right in criticising the kind of music being churned out lately. In 2015, Koforidua based artiste, Atom rose to fame with the track Ye Wo Krom which went on to become the unofficial Christmas anthem.
The song’s popularity led to him winning Hiplife Song of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards in 2016. However, much hasn’t been heard of Atom or his music after that.
Today, Agona Swedru based Patapaa has fit into Atom’s shoes with his One Corner song which is the talk of the town.
However, just as Atom and others like him have disappeared from the scene, Ambolley is confident that Patapaa will soon “expire”.
“Today, I hear this One Corner song and I wonder what message it portrays. There are older people like myself who are ready to teach younger ones to be better but they won’t come for such important lessons and we are gradually losing out".
“We need to go back to the old times and learn how we used to produce great beats that got both the old and young to appreciate it. There are Highlife songs which are over three decades old but are still evergreen. Can we say same for these new songs? That is what I’m advocating for,” he said.
The veteran musician, who touts himself as the originator of rap music in Ghana, also criticised young Highife artistes for changing the style of the genre.
He contended that the rhythms of old Highlife tunes were quite unique but same can’t be said of recent times.
He, however, showered praise on Bisa Kdei for his Brother Brother and Mansa songs.
“Good music appeals to everyone and that was what Bisa Kdei did with his songs.
When you listen to these two songs, you hear all the Highlife compositions.
If you take your time to do good music, it stands the test of time.
I’m sure people will still appreciate these songs for years to come,” he stated.