Highlife is a music genre that started in West Africa, along the coastal cities of present-day Ghana in the 19th century, during its history as a colony of the British and through its trade routes in coastal areas. It describes multiple local fusions of African metre and western jazz melodies. It uses the melodic and main rhythmic structures of traditional African music, but is typically played with Western instruments. Highlife is characterized by jazzy horns and guitars which lead the band and its use of the two-finger plucking guitar style that is typical of African music. Recently it has acquired an uptempo, synth-driven sound.Highlife gained popularity and the genre spread throughout West African regions. Pioneers like Cardinal Rex Lawson, E.T. Mensah, Victor Uwaifo, all perfected this sound by infusing traditional Africa drums and western “Native Blues.” After the war its popularity came back within the Igbo people of Nigeria, taking their own traditional guitar riffs and the influence of the diverse culture and flavor of Nigeria, mixed and perfected it to form Igbo highlife which became the country’s most popular music genre in the 1960s.Highlife has remained a part of popular music for Ghanaians and their diaspora globally through its integration with religious institutions and the positive effect it had on immigrating Ghanaians leaving their homeland.

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