IT is indisputable fact that music is life and it is the food for the
soul, for that matter. Music can therefore positively transform a
society for progress and development; or on the other hand, it can be
used negatively to destroy the moral fibre of a society and ultimately
lead that society to degeneration and ruin!
Since music is a powerful cultural tool that can determine a society’s state of enlightment and advancement, it is very necessary for a society or country to concern itself seriously with the kind of music that is composed by its musical artistes for public consumption. This is because the musical artiste is highly influential by his creativity for the public consumption.
All creative artists including musical artistes have been in the forefront of revolutions of societies and their artistic output determines the direction of the societies either for good or bad.
Due to the good knowledge of the powerful and influential role that creative artistes such as musical artistes can play in the progress and development of the country, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory took much interest in the arts, and consequently founded the Arts Council of Ghana to inspire and encourage creative artists like musicians to lead the country to achieve progress and development.
One can vividly recall the memories of the good old days of the 1950s and the 1960s which saw the emergence of highly talented musical artistes such as E.T. Mensah, King Bruce, Jerry Hanson etc. who composed high life music that advocated hard work, patriotism and sacrifice for the development of the nation.
For example, the popular highlife composition of Jerry Hanson and the Ramblers Dance Band titled: "Work and Happiness" greatly inspired Ghanaian workers to work very hard for the development of the nation.
Looking at the contemporary Ghanaian musical scene, one can say that many musical artistes like King Bruce, Jerry Hanson, Nana Kwame Ampadu etc who emerged on the scene immediately after Ghana’s independence in 1957, have positively contributed to the development aspirations of the country by virtue of their musical compositions.
The typical Ghanaian highlife music which these musical artistes expounded did really inspire Ghanaians to love their country and work for her advancement.
Had this trend been sustained, the country would have benefited tremendously by now as far as her development aspirations are concerned.
It is unfortunate therefore to observe that the present generation of Ghanaian musical artistes are doing more harm than good by virtue of their creative output for public consumption.
In fact, the present musical vogue known as "hiplife," which is a combination of indigenous Ghanaian highlife and western cultural elements is much appealing and popular to the youth but it is really subtly and covertly destroying the moral fibre of the country.
The diction and themes employed in the creation of this type of music is permissive and dangerous to Ghanaian cultural values and practices.
Since the youth constitute the most active segment of the society and also forms about two thirds of the total population, the country is likely going to experience moral depravity and degeneration sooner or later if nothing drastic is done now to forestall this "madness" that has crept into the Ghanaian musical scene of late.
In order not to allow this moral canker to continue to the detriment of the aspirations of the country, I will make the following suggestions:
1. The Ghana Association of Musicians (MUSIGA) should devise an effective mechanism of examining all the artistic creations of Ghanaian musical artistes with the view to promoting progressive Ghanaian cultural values in the composition of music in the country.
2. MUSIGA should develop guidelines out of the existing cultural policy of Ghana published in 1994 to guide musical artistes in the country in their compositions.
should develop guidelines out of the existing cultural policy of Ghana published in 1994 to guide musical artistes in the country in their compositions.
3. MUSIGA should also find ways and means of sanctioning Ghanaian musical artistes who are found to be eccentric and permissive in their musical compositions.
should also find ways and means of sanctioning Ghanaian musical artistes who are found to be eccentric and permissive in their musical compositions.
4. The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture should collaborate with MUSIGA to ensure that Ghana musical artistes conform to decency and sanity in their creative endeavours.
The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture should collaborate with MUSIGA to ensure that Ghana musical artistes conform to decency and sanity in their creative endeavours.5. The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture should give adequate financial and moral support to MUSIGA so that it can function effectively to monitor and check recalcitrant musical artistes who violate the rich values in their compositions.
In the light of promoting progressive Ghanaian cultural values to enhance development of the country, I strongly appeal to the present generation of Ghanaian musical artistes on the Ghanaian musical scene to be circumspect and prudent in their creative endeavours.
They should not portray negativity and filth in their creations but portray progressive Ghanaian cultural values that will inspire Ghanaians to love and work for the development of the country as their predecessors did in the early, post-independence era.
Finally, in my view, contemporary Ghanaian musical creations should be tailored to promote the advancement of the nation. Ghanaian musical artistes must therefore become conscious of this noble ideal and contribute positively towards its achievement in their creative enterprise.
Ghanaian musical artistes have a great task to achieve in the development of the nation.