GENRE: The Evolution of Gospel Music in Ghana
5 October 2020
Photo Courtesy: Dream Africa
By Naliaka Ktui
Introduction to the Evolution of Gospel Music in Ghana
Undeniably, gospel music in Ghana has come a long way to what it is now. It is evident that there has been massive evolution in the Ghanaian gospel music from the early days of 1980s to what we have now. At first Gospel music in Ghana started with Christians who received the great commission inspiration of Christ to preach using music. The Christians started to translate the word of God into songs that were attached to the legendary Ghanaian beats heavily laden with drumming beats and Yaa Amponsah tune (original guitar piece that is used as the foundation for many Ghanaian music).
Pioneer Gospel Artistes in Ghana
Pioneers of the gospel music in Ghana include; the Ahinsan Happy Gospel band, Bro. Asiamah and His ‘Som Nyame’ Gospel Band, Prof. Kofi Abraham, Wofa Asumani, Mc Abraham, Comfort Annor, YABS, and Elder Mireku, amongst others.
Gospel Music in Ghana in 1980s and 1990s
Late 1980s and 1990s saw another evolved group of musicians doing better composed music that had a great blend of foreign beats and melodies, tune lines, compositions, and vocal harmonies. This new group of musicians included, Tagoe Sisters, Bernice Offei, Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Amy Newman, Naana and Dan, Diana Hopeson, Rev. Thomas Yawson, Rev. Kusi Berko, Yaw Sarpong, Stella Seal, Rev. Mary Ghansah. Nonetheless, this breed of new music and musicians went on until the late 90’s, when another better evolved group of musicians and music came up.
Gospel Music in Ghana in the 2000s
During the final episodes of this breed emerged a generation of musical talents that were going to improve on the Gospel music sound to meet the demand of the contemporary Ghanaian in a fast-growing world. This era saw much improved productions such as the City Rock Productions, which produced albums from Integrity Music on cassettes for widespread circulation that attracted many music lovers and supporters who further supported the efforts directed towards the evolution of Gospel music in Ghana.
Ghanaian Contemporary Gospel Music Today
Nonetheless, today’s evolved music is as a result of a group of new artistes and producers who introduced what in today world is referred to as the sound of Gospel music in Ghana. The pioneering group was The New Creation group that was based in Kumasi, which had a taste of the new Gospel music sound that was performed in churches.
Another remarkable group known as Abundant Life successfully, fused foreign music with local gospel music accent to form a unique accent ha was embraced by many gospel musicians in Ghana. Such musicians include; Rev Tom Bright-Davies, Rev Eric Kwarpong, the late Danny Nettey, and Zapp Mallet.
The most recent gospel tunes in Ghana have been manipulated to match the foreign music and was made possible by a number of legendary artistes and instrumentalists that include Lord Listowell, Chalie Keys, Prince Sennah, Jay Zymera, Opoku Sanaa, Jay Loops, Ernest Eshun, and Emmanuel Bludo amongst others. Since then, Gospel music has received immense and music schools have been put up as well as recording labels to offer such support, which gave rise to what is currently referred to as Ghanaian contemporary Gospel Music, with great gospel artistes such as Joe Mettle, Diana Hamilton, and Joyce Blessings just to mention a few.