Ghana is becoming the breeding ground for a lot of world class artist who are taking their music across the African continent and beyond. In 2022, Ghana hosted a number of large festivals from Global Citizen, Afro Nation to Black Star Line Festival. All these events attracting audiences upwards of 50,000. One thing that has been constant in all these festivals are a group of artist who are putting in the work to make sure that there is representation for Ghana.
How Ghana music has evolved from highlife to Afrobeat
African music, mainly West African music, contains a rhythmic pattern that has taken over the continent and the world. Ghana, a country with a wealth of cultural history, continues to supply musicians whose works of art have taken the world by storm. Whether you are familiar with Ghana’s pidgin English aka Kru English, or not, you cannot avoid dancing or nodding to a great Ghanaian beat.
Music lies at the heart of the Ghanaian culture, and year after year, musicians churn bodies of work that entertain, influence, change or relax its audience. The once laggard Ghanaian music scene has morphed into an internationally acclaimed powerhouse. The authenticity of Ghanaian music is equivalent to that of the patois-laced Jamaican music, raw, original, and danceable.
From iconic musicians of yore such as Nana Ampadu (Mar 1945 – Sep 2021),to current young tucks such as Sarkodie, the Ghanaian music industry continues to have a mushrooming field of musical talent.
>> Listen to some classic Nana Ampadu
There is no denying that Ghana is not in short supply of musical whiz kids that consistently turn the wheels of entertainment.
Here is a list of musicians from Ghana to add to your play list
Born Charles Nii Arman Mensah, Shatta Wale is a renowned “king of African Dancehall” artist whose music has earned him a global audience. Shatta’s most internationally acclaimed work was the song “Already” (2020) he collaborated with Beyoncé, setting himself up for a Grammy nomination.
Shatta Wale has several awards under his belt that validate his celebrity status. In 2019 he set the record by winning 11 awards at the 3 Music Awards as a reggae artist. In 2021, he was nominated and won the “Best Virtual Entertainer of the Year” award at the International Reggae and World Music Award (IRWMA).
Musical Style: Reggae, Dancehall
Search for Ghanaian rappers, and Sarkodie comes top of the list. Michael Owusu Ado, aka Sarkodie, is a rapper that has remained fresh, relevant and has written his name indelibly in the annals of African rap music. Sarkodie was bequeathed with the title Artist of the Decade at the Vodafone Ghana Music Award.
Sarkodie officially began his music career in 2009 and quickly rose to fame after performing alongside Busta Rhymes at the Busta Rhymes concert in Ghana. Sarkodie’s reputation precedes him, and being named the most successful rapper of all time is justifiable. In 2019, Sarkodie was the first-ever winner of the Best International Flow Artiste at the BET Hip-hop Awards. Rollies and Cigars (2021) Sarkodie doing what he does best, his lyrical flow is impressive.
Musical Style: Hip Hop
After a two-year break, MzVee returned to the music industry in 2019 and has produced impeccable works of art with other successful musicians such as Medikal, Sarkodie, Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo, Kelvyn Boy, among others. MzVee’s singles ‘Sheriff’, ‘Baddest Boss,’ ‘Baby,’ and ‘Who are You’ reintroduced her to iconic status. The consistency in creating good music ensures that she remains relevant and top of mind for music connoisseurs. Her Oct 2021 song “Coming Home” featuring Tiwa Savage was the anthem and dance for December in Ghana in 2021. So expect more
Musical Style: Dancehall
Larruso is the new kid on the block and has achieved tremendous success shortly after gracing the entertainment front. His single “Killy Killy,” released in 2019, made him a dancehall sensation, opening the stage for collaborations with heavyweights such as Shatta Wale, Samini, and Stonebwoy. Dj Khaled showered him with praise during the “From Milan with Love: Next Gen” virtual concert, compliments that validate his craft.
Musical Style: Dancehall
Stonebwoy, born Livingstone Etse Satekla, is a versatile artist par excellence. Stonebwoy is an Afro-pop dance hall artist and actor whose work has earned him international and local awards. His album Epistles of Mama has 24 tracks and features artists such as Sean Paul and Burna Boy. Stonebwoy has teamed up with other renowned artists such as Sarkodie (Ghana), Diamond Platinumz (Tanzania), Keri Hilson (USA), and Nasty C (South Africa).
Stonebwoy won the 2015 BET Awards for the Best International Act: Africa Category. Focalistic – Ariba (2021) have a listen >>
Musical Style: Afropop, Dance Hall and Reggae