The National Folklore Board in partnership with the Ghana Cultural Forum organized a conference to discuss an action plan by which Highlife can be enlisted as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’. The conference, which was attended by some Highlife legends including Gyedu Blay Ambolley, Smart Nkansah, Freddy Blay, Amandzeba, Bessa Simons, among others, discussed the roadmap by which the genre music could be preserved and safeguarded for future generations.
Speaking at the conference held in Accra, Mr. Mark Okraku Mantey, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture indicated that Highlife music represents the second flag of the country with regard to our identity. According to Mr. Okraku who is a celebrated Highlife curator, all music stakeholders were obliged to protect the Highlife genre because it represented our rhythm identity, something that cannot be taken away from us.
He noted that Ghana was known as the originators of Highlife around the world and urged stakeholders to come on board and concretize the agenda of it being enlisted as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.” Mr. Okraku urged the local UNESCO body in Ghana to assist the processes of Highlife being enlisted so that it would be preserved and safeguarded for the future.
Mr. Abdourahama Diallo, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, in his address stated the need for the proper documentation of the genre to help the easy facilitation of its enlistment which according to him would take about two and half years.
“Music plays an important role in society and a universal language of cohesion and excellent representation of the power of living heritage to unite humanity around shared values and aspiration.
“Highlife music is an integral part of the intangible cultural heritage in Ghana and the sub region and has over the years contributed to dialogue on societal issues,” he said. Mr. Diallo was however optimistic about the eventual enlistment of Highlife music on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage, but urged stakeholders to come together to aid in telling the story of the genre by documentation.
“So in the nomination process Ghana would be asked to demonstrate that Highlife music satisfies certain criteria and the need to sustain its visibility, awareness, as well safeguarding measures to protect and promote Highlife,” he said. Madam Bernice Dei Kuma, Executive Director of the National Folklore Board, in her remarks was convinced that Ghana was on the right path with regard to its enlistment as UNESCO’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’.
“Ghana is on the right path to make history and I am happy to be part of it. The National Folklore Board is mandated by law to administer. We are to protect, preserve, and promote them and pass them on onto the next generation. In view of that, folklore music like highlife music falls within our mandate to promote it.
“In these days and age when we risk the danger of foreign music sweeping our airways and entertainment venues, it is important to ensure that highlife music is well appreciated in Ghana,” she said.
Source: News Ghana