Amuah, J. A. & Sowah, E. N. A. (2021). Interrogating the sacred-secular binary in Ghanaian choral music
This paper examines the determining factors responsible for the idea of sacredness or secularity of a song, the relationship between the sacred and secular, and how the sacred and secular interplay in Ghanaian music. We focus particularly on the sacred and secular binary as reflected in what may be termed ‘Ghanaian Choral Highlife’, as both choral and highlife music initially emerged as distinct sacred and secular musical categories respectively. The research methodology in this work involves data from both primary and secondary sources including interviews, musical works and libraries. The musical elements of selected compositions are analysed, and compared to ascertain their relationship, areas of similarities and differences. Major findings in this study reveal the close relationship between the sacred and the secular in Ghanaian music and how both musical genres influence each other. It also reveals how this influence transcends into Ghanaian Choral Highlife music. Based on our findings we argue that Choral highlife has come to stay as a result of the relationship between the sacred and secular, that is, between Ghanaian choral music and Ghanaian highlife music.