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Hilife shakedown at Legon 4/19/2007
The celebration of fifty years of Ghana’s independence is not over yet. Every programme on the street lately has some attachment to the commemorations. So when the University of Ghana, Legon, the World Bank and other partners put together a night of pure hilife at the forecourt of Legon’s Great Hall, it was still in the spirit of the celebration.

Although the night had a low tempo start, halfway through, the atmosphere was more than charged and all true hilife lovers were not the least bit disappointed. The night, themed ‘Time of Hilife’ was set up to establish the role of hilife in the development of Ghana. Many hilife bands supported Nkrumah’s CPP and helped in the independence struggle, as it was a means to get information across. It has traveled through the hands of time and is currently the root of our hiplife music genre.

After a resounding welcome from the Music Department’s brass band, the Pop Band gave another stunning performance, which was purely instrumental. It even featured a lady trumpeter. Prof. Collins from the Music Department also gave a short speech on the significance of hilife music in the country. In his speech he mentioned that hilife went all the way back to 1880 and he saw this as a time to bring back all the stars and encourage young talent in the university.

The Hilife Palmwine Band put up a good job, but it was not as resounding as that of the Ramblers International Band which picked things up. It took the dance skills of a couple that included one ‘obroni’ man to revive the rather dulled mood while the Palmwine Band was on. Led by Jerry Hanson Jnr., the Ramblers started with ‘Work and Happiness’ and evidently lit up the forecourt of the Great Hall with danceable hilife music as the students slow-marched in formation onto the dance floor. Even the white folks amongst the audience would not be left out as they tried to make sense of the rhythm, at the same time synchronizing their movements to at least three different beats at a go. In the process, they provided a chance side attraction with their enthusiastic footwork! At a point it was confusing who the audience clapped for -- the band or the dancers!

Following the trail of musical notes the Ramblers performed, people were cramming for a spot on the dance floor to show their steps. Even between cuts, they waited on the floor for the next music so they could jig on. It was really a time for everyone to truly appreciate hilife music. Ebo Taylor then strung his way onstage with ‘Yaa Amponsah’, ‘Gyae Su’ (don’t cry) and other popular tracks, aided by Orlando Julius’ working his fingers on the saxophone. The back-up singers were not that great and nearly put a kibosh on Ebo’s show.

C.K. Mann’s 30 minutes on stage was as energetic as any other. ‘Adwoa Yankey’ was a definite crowd favorite and made the night all the more worthwhile. The university’s dance department churned out the usual non-creatively renewed wide-grin dance routine, which excited some section of the audience.

Jewel Ackah and Gyedu Blay Ambolley went back-to-back and ended the night of timeless hilife music that broke through barriers of race, culture and social standing.


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