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Music (highlife)
Africa, Western
created on:
November 23, 2011
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Ghanaian Highlife

Ghanaian highlife record producer and sound engineer Appietus is also an entrepreneur with his own TV reality show. He works with the majority of Ghanaian music stars, and also runs his own record label Creative Records.
Appietus is a record producer/sound engineer based in Accra, Ghana. For the last ten years, he has been ubiquitous in the Ghanaian media, composing and producing hits for almost all contemporary Ghanaian ‘highlife’ artists. Highlife is known for its trademark combination of melody and rhythm, and the work of Appietus reflects the musical tradition as well as responding to contemporary entertainment needs.

But first a quick overview of highlife … for centuries the West African coast has been a cultural melting pot of music styles. Much to the dislike of missionaries and churches, the resulting new styles attracted huge crowds. Choirs and church bands, as well as the brass bands of the colonial military forces, also exerted their own influence on emerging music forms. Eventually, the merging of cha cha, foxtrot, waltz, calypso and rumba with local rhythmic patterns led to the new form known as ‘highlife’. As a display of their wealth and influence, rich Africans would fund bands of their own, and these dance orchestras would perform for an upper class audience (hence the origin of the name ‘highlife’). Highlife developed into a national music in the years following independence when highlife bands performed at the party rallies of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President. Drawing on the highlife tradition, but updating the recipe with modern technology, the melodic sensibility of Appietus has a cross-generation appeal.

As well as his production and engineering activities, Appietus (real name Antwi Boasiako Bright) is also a singer, and has developed his own vocal style using an invented nonsense language. According to the man himself, “my type of music is more like jazz scatting, where the singer uses sounds and melody to make music over a rhythm. I use different African language dialects sounds to form wonderful melodic formats, even though what I sing might not mean anything in words or any language in the world”.

Part of today’s media environment is of course the reality TV show, where young hopefuls can display their musical skills (if they have any). Following in the conceptual footsteps of Simon Cowell (creator of the X-Factor), Appietus created the Appietus Idolz reality TV show, with the winner being offered a contract with his record label Creative Records.

Latest signings to Creative include Tj, who was an Appietus Idolz winner. Other artists with whom Appietus has worked in the past include established stars like 4X4, Samini, Kwabena Kwabena, Tinny, Kofi B, D-Flex, KK Fosu, Castro and Wutah, as well as newcomers Mframa, Old Sodja and Mike.
Author: Martin Gordon


Appietus Compilation 1

Published Audio,
Creative Records

The Revolution

Published Audio,
Creative Records


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Worldtronics 2011

(30 November 11 - 04 December 11)


Website of the artist