African music specialists Mogadisco collect the continent’s finest sounds from afrobeat to soukous, Nigerian jùjú to Ethiopian jazz and everything in between. We invited them to share their top 10 highlife tracks and the elusive records that hide them. Have a read and listen over the next few pages and then fill out our poll to tell us about your favourite highlife record.
The majority of stuff we collect and play is from the ‘Golden Era’ of African music: the ’60s and ’70s. One of our favourite genres is highlife which originated in Ghana and spread to other West African countries. Highlife is itself a diverse genre made up of many sub-categories and influences that range from coastal sea-shanties of seaman, to colonial brass bands and indigenous dance and drum music. It is a guitar and vocal dominated music with a variety of percussive elements and often a fluttering of electric organ or sometimes brass. Famous artists include the African Brothers Band, City Boys Band, King Bruce & the Black beats, E.T Mensah and Alex Konadu to name a few. The genre was also interpreted in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Have a read through our top 10 highlife tracks and records over the next few pages.