Gospel Reggae & Afrobeat topshot, Akesse Brempong, via a recent tweet has shed light on the significant role of Gospel music in preserving genres, particularly highlighting its influence on highlife music and the need for Gospel nominations in all Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) categories.
Ghanaian Gospel music has long been recognized for its profound impact on both local and international audiences.
This raises an important discussion about the inclusion of Gospel acts in other secular categories in prestigious awards like the VGMA.
By recognizing Gospel music as a powerful message shared through diverse genres, it presents an opportunity to acknowledge its artistic contributions and its influence on the musical landscape of Ghana.
Gospel and the Revival of Highlife:
Akesse Brempong’s tweet draws attention to the symbiotic relationship between Gospel music and highlife.
Through the worship experience in Pentecostal-Charismatic churches, a captivating fusion has occurred, reviving highlife music with an aesthetics of liveness.
Gospel highlife has emerged as one of the most successful genres of popular music in Ghana and its diaspora. Scholars like F. Carl and Atiemo have extensively documented this phenomenon, emphasizing the cultural significance and immense popularity of gospel-infused highlife music.
Affectionately nicknamed “The Lion”, Akesse during a recent Twitter Space was of the view that Gospel music has been the preservative for indigenous Ghanaian Highlife and its sub-genres that have been deeply rooted in the Christian religious activities in a country with about 70% Christians.
He argues that sub-genres of Highlife like Adowa, the Awoyo style propagated by the Mozama Disco Christo Church, PalmWine Highlife, Adademu, brass band Highlife, among other versions, were a large part of the catalogues of Gospel legends such as Mary Ghansah, Yaw Sarpong, Tagoe Sisters, Prof. Kofi Abraham, Elder SK Ampiah, among others.
Their Highlife songs spread through the church in Ghana and became a mainstream anthem during the signature Praise and Worship sessions characterized by every church gathering till date.
It was upon this premise that other Highlife Greats such as Nana Ampadu, CK Mann, ET Mensah, Koo Nimo, etc, found relevance to their music years after releasing till it evolved into the popular sound of Borga Highlife spearheaded by hits from Daddy Lumba, Amakye Dede, Jewel Ackah, Pat Thomas, right down to the modern day modifications of the likes of Kuami Eugene, Kofi Kinaata, Fameye, Kwaadei, among others.
The Importance of Gospel Music Preservation:
Ghanaian Gospel music serves as a vital cultural asset, preserving traditional genres while infusing them with a spiritual message.
By embracing a range of musical styles such as highlife, Afrobeat, reggae, and more, Gospel music has shown its adaptability and relevance in contemporary contexts. It provides a platform for both seasoned and emerging artists to express their faith, celebrate their culture, and impact society positively.
Akesse Brempong further stated during the Twitter spaces with other esteemed media personnel, Gospel industry key players and Gospel acts, “We are in an era where Gospel musicians are experimenting with other genres and perhaps, it will be Gospel music that preserves those genres as well”.
This is mainly due to the eternal nature of the Gospel message which will never pass away, the systematic operation of church services every passing weekend characterized by live band music ministrations and the obvious adaptability, acceptance & inculcation of diverse genres that present the same old gospel in a refreshing new sound to 70% of the Ghanaian population.
Expanding the VGMA Nominations:
As Gospel music transcends specific genres and delivers its message through diverse musical expressions, it becomes essential to reconsider its categorization within awards ceremonies such as the VGMA.
Including Gospel acts in secular categories recognizes the artistic excellence and cultural significance of Gospel music beyond its traditional classification. It acknowledges the versatility and impact of Gospel artists, opening doors for them to receive well-deserved recognition alongside their secular counterparts.
Fostering Unity and Collaboration:
Incorporating Gospel acts in a broader range of categories can also foster collaboration and innovation within the Ghanaian music industry.
By bringing together artists from different backgrounds, the VGMA nominations can encourage cross-genre collaborations and musical exploration. This not only enriches the creative landscape but also fosters unity and understanding among artists and fans.
Ghanaian Gospel music holds a unique position in preserving traditional genres while sharing its message of faith and hope. Akesse Brempong’s tweet highlights the significant influence of Gospel highlife and the success it has achieved both within Ghana and beyond.
Recognizing Gospel music as a diverse and impactful genre can lead to its inclusion in secular categories at the VGMA and other prestigious awards.
By doing so, we acknowledge the cultural importance, artistic merit, and wide-reaching influence of Gospel music, fostering unity, collaboration, and celebrating the diverse musical expressions that enrich the Ghanaian music industry as a whole.
Akesse Brempong is out with the latest Gospel Afrobeat banger on the airwaves dubbed, Bountiful!
It’s a daily reminder never to stress about the many cares and troubles of this life and to always lean in unto the peace that surpasses all understanding while always having an optimistic outlook on life, ever believing that soon, God will unlock the flood gates of heaven to pour out a life changing blessing!
Stream on here and don’t forget to follow Akesse across his socials and subscribe to his YouTube!
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