Highlife is a musical genre that originated in Ghana in the 1800s and spread to Sierra Leone, Nigeria and other West African countries by 1920. 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)