Videos May 31, 2023
John Collins lecture on Ghana's musical history

Longtime listeners to Afropop Worldwide, particularly our coverage of music from Ghana, will know of Professor John Collins. John’s English father taught in Ghana and John spent much of his childhood there. When his family returned to the U.K., he moved back to Ghana in 1968 as a young guitarist without any deep knowledge of local music, but a keen interest. He soon found himself touring with the Jaguar Jokers, a concert-party highlife band. So began a first-hand education on the golden age of Ghanaian post-independence popular music.

Fast forward to today, and John is a distinguished author, professor, government advisor, and in short, among the world’s most knowledgeable authorities on Ghanaian music. In recognition of John’s unique history and achievements, the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) recently made him a fellow, and invited him to give a lecture on his work over the years. The lecture was webcast over Zoom and now lives on YouTube. It is a remarkable short course on Ghanaian music, past and present, full of fascinating details all delivered with John’s trademark clarity and wit. There are music samples and rare historical images as well. Highly recommended for fans of palmwine music, highlife, hip-life and Afrobeats.

Here's a link to the video. There are introductory remarks. The lecture itself begins about 20 minutes into the video.

Thumbnail photo by VGOOD.

John with Eric Sunu and his palmwine ensemble. Photo by Cary Sullivan.
John with Eric Sunu and his palmwine ensemble. Photo by Cary Sullivan.

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