Prof. John Collins launches book on Highlife

By: Graphic Showbiz
Prof. John Collins
Prof. John Collins with some musicians at the launch

‘HIGHLIFE Time 3’, a new book about Ghanaian Highlife music written by Prof. John Collins has been launched in Accra at +233 Jazz Bar and Grill at North Ridge recently.

The author, Prof. John Collins, is a retired lecturer at the Music Department at the University of Ghana of British parentage but naturalised as a Ghanaian in 2008.

The book traces the origins of Highlife from its early days around 1880 and how the music spread across the West African Coast.

In the process, it profiles prominent Highlife musicians such as E.K. Nyame, Kwame Asare, Kobina Okai, Kwa Mensa, Kakaiku, P.K. Yamoah, King Bruce, E.T. Mensah and Ebo Taylor

It includes information on palmwine music, adaha brass bands, concert party guitar bands and dance bands, right up to off-shoots such as Afro-rock, Afrobeats, Burger Highlife, Gospel Highlife, Hiplife and Contemporary Highlife.

The 632- page book which has 10 sections and 64 chapters, also features Ebony (Priscilla Opoku Kwarteng) who passed on a few months ago. Also mentioned are Shatta Wale, Okyeame Kwame, M.anifest and Hewale Sounds.

Nigeria is the other place where Highlife gained ground from and the book references to musicians like Victor Olaiya, Sunny Ade, Rex Lawson, Ebenezer Obey, Segun Bucknor and Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

“My argument is that Highlife never died. It has gone through different types of styles. It has always been there, though sometimes under different names,” Prof. John Collins pointed out.

When it was released, ‘Highlife Time 3’ captured the top spot on the Amazon chart in the International Music books category for three weeks.

The book was produced by DAkpabli, a publishing house in Accra in collaboration with Dr. Wereko-Brobbey’s Anansesem Publications.