Let Naija music play!

Wednesday Aug 7, 2013 -

I was a guest speaker at the Rotary Club last two weeks. Speaking on the subject of the state of our music industry, I had the opportunity of answering a question I have interest in sharing with you all.

Just like a curious student, a gentleman asked, “What are Ghanaian musicians doing about Nigerian music since it is taking over the music industry?” Immediately, my mind was taken aback into how the Ghana meets Naija billboard had Wiz Kid take the center frame whiles R2bees, Edem and myself flanged sideways as the true supporting artistes as we were for the event.

Also, I thought of how P Square’s “Beautiful Onyinye” is played in every club, radio stations, pubs and even TV channels more than contemporary Ghanaian music. And then it pricked my mind that the quality of a Ghanaian artiste is measured in the amount of impact he or she makes internationally, especially in Nigeria.

Yes, it is true that Nigerian pop music has colonized Ghanaian and even African music. It is true that Nigerians compete for the same attention and airtime space in Ghana, which Ghanaian musicians do not get in Nigeria. Reasons for this are countless, but paramount of it is that few Ghanaian songs are designed to cross the borders.

There are two basic answers that popular people give when they are asked questions. One is to tell the truth or give the answer that is most appropriate for PR. For a brief moment I didn’t know what type of answer to give, I opted for the truth, at least in my opinion.

My answer was simple, Ghanaian musicians must do nothing about the current situation, because I believe it is a good thing. My reasons are simply because Nigerians are our cousins, we have the same culture, eat the same food, same type of music, look alike, we are all ex colonies of Britain, speak the same English, in fact, Ghana is a smaller version of Nigeria, or Nigeria is a bigger version of Ghana.

I don’t see why their music shouldn’t be loved, played and performed in GH. After all, twenty years ago Nana Ampadu, Amakye Dede, Abrekyireba Kofi Sammy and many Hi-Life acts were the main stream artistes in Nigeria, so if the reverse is happening, why you for bore?

There was a time this music xenophobia was social. In the early 70s the government through the Aliens Compliance Order repatriated Nigerians out of Ghana, and when Nigerians reciprocated in the same kindness, it raised eyebrows. Don’t forget the number of armed robberies and coup d’états that followed.

Let us not even consider the Nigerian national agenda to spread their culture through music, the capital investment in their entertainment industry, the respect and support for talent. The involvement of knowledgeable managers…O! Their aggression towards success.

It is funny how a Ga father might say ‘NO’ to an Ashanti marriage for his daughter because of distance, but when the daughter brings an American, everybody in the family is happy. One major cause of disunity in Africa is due to the fallacy of separateness.

Ghanaians are worried about the influx of Nigerian music but nobody is worried about the continuous dominance of American music on the minds of the youths and culture. It is because of American music (Hip hop) that our young brothers are walking around with their dross showing; it is because of American music that my four-year-old son says ‘sh*t’ and ‘f*ck’; arguably this same American music is contributing to ‘sakawa’ through the Hip hop concept of get rich or die trying.

So back to Nigerian music, I believe that it must play on. I believe that we should research, learn and understand how they have colonized Africa. I believe that we must collaborate at the individual and music union level.

I believe Ghanaian musicians should compete positively in this capitalist environment and let our music be played, heard and loved in Nigeria the same way we love theirs here.

I believe it is the biggest extension of our market, not only for our music but for a total cultural exchange if we have to be wary of any form of music, it should be an American music, but I believe we should let Nigerian music play!

At least in my opinion this is the way, what do you think?

37 comments on “Let Naija music play!

  1. Again, another well articulated piece or thought. I cannot hep but add my thoughts to this topic. There is an inherent tendency of Ghanaian to believe that what is made in Ghana or what is Ghanaian is more inferior that what is “imported” So people will prefer to eat “polished” rice from Asia rather than our very own rice. Is it not the same rice? The how is it that we import more rice and yet we allow our own grown rice to rot in the silos. I had the privilege to be in a meeting with 4X4 a couple of weeks ago and I was astonished to learn that Nigerians respect and adore their “Celebrities” but is that the case here in Ghana? Hell No! I was shocked when I learnt many young musicians take swipes at legendary musicians such as Reggie Rockstone and this then leads me to ask, How do we intend to develop our industry if we do no have respect for those who paved way for us? Is it because we take them and their efforts for granted or we think they do not deserve to have attained the statuses they have reached. If you do not respect your own product how else do you want someone else to respect it? Competition is good and I believe it is helping us properly shape our industry. Till we stop crying foul and actually reflect on what we are doing wrong, am sorry but we will be stuck right where we are.

  2. I dont share the writer’s sentiments.I lived in nigeria for many years.while most Ghanaians see nigerians as ‘brothers,cousins’ whatever,most nigerians see ghanaians as rivals and enemies.we just have to encourage our artistes.we have some good ones

    • JAMBO…u are a lair. I know for a fact that Nigerians dont see Ghanaians as rivals or enemies or whatever…on what basis may I ask? Most Ghanaians blend into Nigeria like they are one of us. In most celebrity events in Nigeria,Ghanaian celebrities are always attending fraternizing freely with their Nigerian counterparts without any animosity. So please,stop spreading lies here.

      • Donbaba Well said… Am Nigerian. I went to Tech, my closest friend is Nigerian. I love Ghana and so do many Nigerians… This stupid pettiness must stop. We all have challenges in our respective countries and we must come together to share ideas as 1 black race.. Outside Africa no one sees that you are Ghanaian or Nigerian! You are seen as Africa. Lets work together to build a better tommorow collectively!

        • Donbaba Well said… Am Nigerian. I went to Tech, my closest friend is Ghanaian. I love Ghana and so do many Nigerians… This stupid pettiness must stop. We all have challenges in our respective countries and we must come together to share ideas as 1 black race.. Outside Africa no one sees that you are Ghanaian or Nigerian! You are seen as Africa. Lets work together to build a better tommorow collectively!

          • if you read this message very well,you will know that Okyeame kwame be coward,every speech in his message shows that he would have love the nigerian music not to dominate in the Ghana music industry,but because he is a musician he cant make it clear or known just like that so he is just combining the two sides together as if he can deceive us,we know who you are and where you stand especially me….

    • bossu even if u hv had a negative experience.I bliv we must learn to forgive and grow together.I think we are one.

      • stillyoung, this writ-up is not about me but a relationship between two countries. Its about opportunities for growth. Its about strategy for exchange; love, logic, diplomacy. So yes I’m a, ‘coward, as u put it and these are my fears; that u will criticise naija music and eventually shut it out and they will do same to our music b4 it is even given an opportunity and we will eventually lose their market too. This is who I am and where I stand. If u don’t know me like this then u don’t know me. If u didn’t understand it like this then u dnt knw where I stand.

  3. JAMBO where are you from? Why poison the mind of others without any reason. The rap doc has said it all and he made very good points. Nigerians and Ghanaians are one in everything, so lets keep it that way.

  4. There’s a rivalry between Nigerians and Ghanaians.There’s nothing bad with a healthy rivalry, it challenges you to rise to the top. Until, we see Nigerians as our competitors, we’ll resign our daily lifes and economy to them. Rivalry even exists among siblings. Its sad, we don’t seec these things as rivalry…Rivalry is not Evil. Chinese are at rivalry with the western world…and this is what challenges them to put up…

    Lazy people fear rivalry! When it comes to football, what do you think Nigerians are to ghanaians?during the last CAF, i remember many nigerians jubilating Ghana lost…that is rivalry, and its healthy.

    Until, we push these rivalry (competitiveness) harder into many aspects, we won’t develop and innovate.

  5. Okyeame has said it all. Let us promote our Own Ghanaian music to its highest level and blend it with the Nigerians which is the taste of the majority.

  6. Very well put together Okyeame Kwame…..by the way the term is “DRAWERS” and not “DROSS”.
    Thanks and much love Okyeame Kwame,I have a great deal of admiration and respect for what you do.God bless!

  7. Still Young, please even if you don’t like O.K as a musician, kindly respect him as a father.

  8. I believe that music is dynamic hence in the 70s when Nigerians were in love with the Ghanaian music and the opposite is now happening, then it is up to us to strike an equilibrium whereby each country would enjoy other in a wholes tic manner.It now befalls on the musicians to check their style, form and structure as as lyrics so that it would be accepted outside Ghana

  9. #Nana am very much proud of you. Little did I know you are such a harbour of truth and civilization. It’s hightime we as Ghanaians woke up from our “backward” state of thinking and embrace things that will pull us together toward a common goal as a continent. If we literally chase unity out of “our Africa” what would be left for us ? The only weapon we have as a continent now is unity, and if implements such as music can’t bring us together, but we prefer antagonism as a tool to dilute the effects of our weapon, then we must revisit what else could have united us. Am not fun of music though, I love my own kind of music; hymns. Music, whether Ghanaian or Nigerian, in so far as it makes meaning to us should be welcomed. Let unity reign and peace will be the resultant. Okyeame…..much respect.

  10. I cannot believe that someone read this sweet sensible piece of advice coming from a wise young man who is also in the music industry and made negative comments about it,ebei Ghanafuo whats wrong with us,we must learn to grow.Nigerians are not our enemies at all,infact I live in the US and my best friend is a Nigerian.We eat the same food and almost always watch the same movies, we listen to the same music and make the same comments about how things are than in both countries.Ghana and Nigerian are the only West African countries that have a lot of things in common.Our Ghanaian Artist do so well in Nigerian,they are loved and appreciated.We should put this negative attitude behind us and learn to grow.
    Let Naija music play!!!!!!

    • Well said my brother,I live in the US too and I have a lot of Naija friends,no difference from Ghanaians.

      • @Bonti Rabbit you are so right,I live in Atlanta Georgia and my sweet beautiful girlfriend is a naija girl,she attend all the Ghanaian functions and one can never tell she is not a Ghanaian unless she says it,Ghanaians and Nigerians are cousins like it or love.:)

  11. I LIVED IN NIGERIA IN THE EARLY NINETIES. I WAS A TEACHER OF ENGLISH AND WAS WELL-BELOVED BY THE THREE COMMUNITIES WHOSE CHILDREN I WAS TAKING TO PLACES. BUT IN 1986, WHAT MADE ME RETURN TO GHANA WAS THAT I WAS ASSAULTED [WITH ANOTHER NIGERIAN TEACHER] AT ONE OF THE THREE COMMUNITIES BECAUSE THEY WERE ON BAD RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER TWO COMMUNITIES. MY DISCOVERY IN NIGERIA WAS THAT THOSE WHO HAD BEEN IN GHANA BEFORE TURNED OUT TO BE ‘REAL BROTHERS’. THOSE WHO HAD NEVER BEEN TO GHANA AND HAD BEEN FED BY RUMOURS OF THE 1969 ALIENS COMLIANCE ORDER THAT SENT THOUSANDS OF ‘ILLEGALLY RESIDING’ NIGERIANS HOME. BAD AS IT WAS, NIGERIAN HAS REPLIED FOUR TIMES. MY POINT IS THAT AFTER MY NIGERIA EXPERIENCE. I STILL FEEL EVEN MORE STRONGLY THAT NIGERIANS ARE OUR BROTHERS. WE WERE BOTH RULED WITH GAMBIA AND S.LEONE AS ONE COUNTRY WITH ONE CURRENCY. THE CAPITAL ALTERNATED BETWEEN ACCRA AND LAGOSW DURING THE TIME OF LORD LUGARD.I PLAN VISITING NIGERIA THIS MONTH AND ALREADY, A VERY FRIENDLY KING OF IJERO-EKITI HAS INVITEDE ME AND MY FRIENDS. I AM CURRENTLY, THEREFORE WRITING A NOVEL TITLED: TWO COUNTRIES, ONE PEOPLE. I NEED ENCOURAGEMENT. IT IS WOUND AROUND MY ONE DY EXPERIENCE AT ARA EKITI [WHOM I HAVE FORGIVEN], FROM THE BEGINNING OF MY ORDEAL TILL MIDNIGHT WHEN I WAS FREED BY THE THEN AJERO OF IJERO [WHO HAS SINCE PASSED ON]. I LOVE EVERYTHING NIGERIAN AND ACTUALLY AM EXPERT IN PREPARING POUNDED YAM [IYAN]. I WAS EVEN GOING RAT-HUNTING WITH MY STUDENTS. NIGERIA WILL REMAIN ONE WITH GHANA AS BROTHERS, AND LET NAIJA MUSIC PLAY. OKYEAME, IF YOU READ THIS, CONTACT ME ON 0272257476. GODBLESS GHANIGERIA.

  12. well said kwame. its up to ghanaians to make their own market n leave the blame game behind.

  13. Whatever reasons others feel that the niaja music should be allowed to destroy our national highlife music is their own affaire.
    As Ghanaians,we should be proud of and appreciate our highlife music. Nigeriens should not be allowed by any means to come stay in Ghana to replace our highlife music with that their cheap naija music.
    Go back to nigeria with your stupid music.

  14. Its not only in GH.i live in the states and anytime I go to the club I hear Nigeria songs yet hardly do I hear a GH song. Clubs like Jamaican gates,Aso rock,Roof top in Arlington and Dallas respectively play them and lot of people not Nigerians but other parts of the world enjoy them and sing along. But y not GH songs. What I realize is the language used in the music,which is English is widely spoken than the twi,fante and other local languages used. I hope our artistes work at ot

  15. There is a real international conspiracy led by nigeriens to let vanish the highlife music of Ghana. Only idiots and traiters like Okyeame Kwame(that’s where he gets his daily bread)want to be part of it.
    All ghanaian patriots should participate in efforts
    to revive our national highlife music.
    BOYCOTT NAIJA MUSIC. We have our own music– THE HIGHLIFE MUSIC.(From ages). Let’s uphold it, instead of following blindly these nigerien invaders.

  16. Personal experinces in nigeria and african unity have nothing to do with our national heritage(highlife music). Come to europe and see for yourself. The french protect and promote their music( state sponsorship for french artists) against the english invaision),same in italy,germany,holland etc.None of these countries is against unification.They know that the different colours of the rainbow, makes it look beautifull.Nigeriens should keep on with their music but in their country so that ghanaians keep theirs in their country. No one has to set up a strategie to destroy the other just to occupy the vacum created for commerciale purposes. Nigeriens are nice people.They can even use car tyres as” neck laces” to burn ghanaians. Ghanaian parents must stop their kids from learning anal sex through nigerien video clips. NAIJA MUSIC VIDEO CLIPS HAVE NO SENSE OF MORALES.They must go back to their country to poisoin their youths not in Ghana. An international organisation based in Paris is being set up to give highlife it’s rightfull place in the Ghana music industry as Jamaicains did for reggae. Let’s promote our culture.

  17. okyeame i agree with you. but the other area i find disturbing is in how we pick songs for our local movies. i would love to see a further sophistication of the themes we treat in our ghanaian movies, and with that i will love to see our songs sell with our movies. azonto ghost is a fabulous example. i think the musicians and the movie producers must start thinking together

  18. my worry is this is naija music forced on you? did naija artists say you should not promote ur music? like somebody observed naija music is a worldwide thing now even in latin america that is why ur artists copy them.So why the hate?. Pls promote ur music dont blame anybody. How could it hav been possible for nigerians to work agaist ur highlife? that argument is pro inertia and lazy. good music is good music anywhere and people will always go for something that is pleasant in their ear

    • My Ghananians i think is hi-time we stop decieving ourselves. Millions of Nigerians are fond of Ghana and its people. Which other country in Africa or in the world shows Ghana LOVE more than Naija? Healthy rivalry should exist between us but HATRED, JEALOUSY and spreading FALSEHOOD will do us more harm than good. How can one suggest that Naija wants Ghana highlife dead? When they likes of Flavour, Duncan Mighty, J Martins etc are taking Naija highlife to another level. Pls try and appreciate the resilience and resourcefulness of the youths of ur Naija cousins.Perhaps in there somewhere is a valuable lesson for Ghana. Peace and love.