Various Artists

Borga Revolution! Ghanaian Music (1983-1992)

Kalita • 2022

Halfway from highlife to hiplife. In the ’70s, Ghana’s highlife was still mainly electrified sounds from acoustic instruments that aroused international interest. However, things began to change in the ’80s. During the 70s, music styles like funk and disco had become native to the country, and at the same time the economic and political situation deteriorated towards the end of the decade. Many Ghanaian musicians took this as an opportunity to emigrate to the USA or Europe. There, they acquired a new sound based on western funk; instead of percussion and guitars, drum computers and digital synthesisers were increasingly used. Reggae also played an important role. Especially in the German cities of Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg, this gave rise to the »Burger Highlife« movement, whose artists the London label Kalita has been re-releasing for some time now, and for which »Borga Revolution!« is now available as a compilation of this kind for the first time. Musicians like Burger Highlife pioneer George Darko are represented, as well as singer Thomas Frempong, but also lesser known names like the excellent Wilson Boateng. Very ’80s and yet anything but remotely familiar. In the ’90s, things got even more electronic in Ghana with hiplife, a cross between highlife and hip-hop. But that’s something for the next chapter.