Ghana’s Burger Highlife Musicians
Time is transient but the memories it leaves behind always make things look fresh in our minds.
Music is one of the ways by which people express their culture and dignity either in their native countries or on different soils.
Today’s special edition of the Ghana Month Diary by The Ghana Report will focus on Ghanaian highlife musicians who travelled to Germany to hone their talents for their music careers. These highlife musicians were known as ‘burger highlife musicians’.
The burger highlife artists evolved from the 1980s to the early 1990s.
The team decided to shift from the traditional way of producing songs to a new modern sound that embraced the latest technologies, incorporating West African melodies with synthesizers, disco, boogie, and funk.
Below are some of the burger highlife stars whose performances were mind-blowing in the 80s
- George Darko
George Darko is one of the Ghanaian highlife musicians who travelled to Germany to continue their music careers in the 1980s.
He was a vocalist, guitarist, composer and songwriter.
He used to perform alone on stage but draws over one hundred audiences at any show he organises.
Mr Darko became very popular in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and that period saw massive support for highlife music.
One of his songs that struck Europe and the African continent was “Ako Te Brofo” which literally means “The Parrots Speak/Understand English” which was released in 1983.
Other songs of Mr. Darko are ‘Kaakyire Nua’, ‘Obi Abayewa’, ‘Medo Menuanom’, ‘Mensei Da’, ‘MONI PALAVA’, ‘Prempremsiwa’, ‘Bire Bire’ and ‘Obi Abayewa’.
He is currently a chief in one of the towns in Akuapem in the Eastern Region.
- Nana Tuffour
Nana Tuffuor was one of Ghana’s legendary highlife stars who started music at an early age.
He was a vocalist and a pianist who performed with passion and drew more fans at shows.
He used to play most of the time with keyboardist Alex Konadu.
Nana Tuffuor before travelling overseas performed with the Waza Africo Band and released his first album Highlife Romance in 1979.
Nana Tuffuor performed with other Highlife musicians from Ghana all working tediously to achieve a common aim for the Ghana Music Industry in other countries.
Some songs by Nana Tuffuor are ‘Owuo Sei Fie’, ‘Odo Kakra Sika Kakra’, ‘Abeiku’, ‘Sikyi Medley’, ‘Sansankroma’, ‘Aketekyiwa’, ‘Odo Bi Ye Owuo’, and ‘Me Yere Dada’.
Nana Tuffuor was 66 when he died in 2020.
- Charles Kwadwo Fosu
Charles Kwadwo Fosu known as Daddy Lumba is one of the famous Ghanaian highlife musicians known by the 21st-century generation as well.
He is one of the Ghanaian musicians who had the opportunity to travel overseas to modify his music career.
Abroad, Daddy Lumba blended the traditional style of music and modern ways of singling to thrill fans at various live shows.
He was a member of the Lumba Brothers and currently has over 34 albums to his name.
Some of his songs are ‘Nom Nsuo Twen Ope’, ‘Ye Ne Wo Sere Kwa’, ‘Adaka Tea’, ‘Eye N’adom’, ‘Makra Mo’, ‘Ankwanoma’, and ‘Ofon Na Ɛdi Asɛm Fo’.
- Ernest ‘Owoahene’ Nana Acheampong
Ernest ‘Owoahene’ Nana Acheampong known as Champion Lover boy is one of the members of the Lumba Brothers singing group.
He is among the few Ghanaian highlife musicians who had the chance to travel abroad to make music.
He is the father of Ghana’s award-winning female artist Gyakie.
Some songs of Ernest ‘Owoahene’ Nana Acheampong are ‘Nanka Ebeye Den’, ‘Adakatie’, ‘Hwe Nee Okyere’, ‘Meko Odo Enkyen’, ‘Woa Anka’, ‘Nnaada Me’, ‘Obi Dom Bie’, and ‘Obaatan.’
Mark Gilbert Oduro Dokyi known in the entertainment industry as McGod is one of the award-winning Burger Highlife musicians whose amazing performance on stage was a charm to many across the globe.
McGod was a musician in Ghana who travelled to Germany in the 80s to make music which had an impact on their music career.
He won the 1993 Entertainment Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana (ECRAG) Music Awards in Ghana for his album ‘Okwaadonko’.
McGod is always remembered for his popular songs ‘Yoo bibio Na Masumo le” and ‘Okwaadonko’.
- Charles Amoah
Legendary Charles Amoah is one of the iconic ‘Burger Highlife’ musicians who travelled with other highlife musicians to Germany between the 1980s and the 90s.
The ‘So Medo Hwe’ hitmaker in Germany staged live shows that were attended by most Ghanaians in Germany.
After returning to Ghana, Charles Amoah organised a series of live shows at which he performed with some of his ‘Burger Highlife colleagues.
He is known for songs such as ‘Eye Odo Asem’, ‘Atisem’, ‘Fre Me’, ‘Scratch My Back’, ‘Aposese’, ‘Mene Wo Begoro’, ‘Di Ahurusi’ and others.
- Pat Thomas
Nana Kwabena Amo Mensah known in showbiz as Pat Thomas is one of the legendary Burger Highlife musicians whose work is still narrating a positive story about him.
Talking about talent and passion for music, Pat Thomas will always come to mind.
His great performance on stage made him win several awards and that motivated him to work harder in his music career.
He rocked stages in Canada and in Ghana his motherland.
He has songs such as ‘Me Ho Asem’, ‘Sika Ye Mogya’, ‘Mewo Akoma’, ‘Yamona’, ‘Odo Adaada’, .Oye Odo., .Gyae Su., and ‘Oye Asem’.
- Ben Brako
Bernard George Kobena Brako professionally known as Ben Brako is a Ghanaian highlife musician who performed on Ghanaian and international stages.
He was one of the fortunate Ghanaians who travelled abroad to make money through their music career.
He used to have a unique outfit for his shows.
He is always remembered for songs such as ‘Mawie’, ‘Moko Mekrom’, ‘Ntsaase’, ‘Nkwansan’, ‘Pepeepe’, and ‘Etuei’
- Lee Dodou
Lee Dodou is one of the pioneers of the Burger Highlife tradition. He was an experienced and talented highlife musician before travelling overseas in the 80s to perform to entertain fans.
He is known for songs such as ‘Odo Mpa’, ‘Monsom’, Its High Time, ‘Basa Basa’, ‘Nakasi Gyefo Ne Nyame’, ‘Mampong twa’ and others.
- Slim Young
Slim Young was one of the vibrant highlife musicians from Ghana who impacted many lives positively through music.
He was among the ‘Burger Highlife’ pioneers who performed in European and African countries.
His shows at the National Theatre then used to be attended by many Ghanaians and foreigners on diplomatic duty in Ghana.
He is known to have written and performed songs such as ‘Otan Hunu’, ‘Odo Ye De’, ‘Ye Obi Die Yie’, ‘Ko Man Bi’, ‘Waye Afere’, ‘Bisa’, ‘So Mi Mu Yie’ and ‘Moma Mensu Meho.’