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Don’t look down on traditional music —Wiyaala

For years, there has been a perception that there isn’t a ready audience or market for traditional music because it is not in the mainstream.

But for neo-traditional musician Wiyaala, who believes there is a market for it, traditional music is probably not getting the attention it deserves because Ghanaians look down on it.

“We look down on ourselves as a people, we do not value what we have, we rather appreciate the ones abroad when they take what we have and add some spice to it.

“We forget that we have the original ones and it is wrong. We should change our mentality and attitude towards our music and start appreciating it,” she told Graphic Showbiz recently.

Often, traditional music artistes have to travel outside the shores of Ghana where their craft is more appreciated or find a way to enter the mainstream with a collaboration or two with an artiste who has popular appeal or give up altogether.

The likes of Atongo Zimba and King Ayisoba are more popular abroad than in Ghana, and the same is true for Wiyaala.

Read more: Love for awards kills careers – Shatta Wale

However, for her, she has the conviction that there is a market in Ghana for their brand of music, but it only needs a little attention.

“Yes, there is a market for it because irrespective of where we take our music, it all started in Ghana. The only thing I think we lack is hype. We do not get hyped up like the other genres. But then again when the talent is there, it will speak for itself with time,” she added.

According to the Rock My Body singer, though there was a market for them, she also thought Ghana was yet to accept their style of music. “I don’t know when and if Ghana will accept our kind of music; and if traditional music will enjoy the kind of publicity the other genres enjoy,” she said.

When asked what could be done to change that attitude, Wiyaala, who is in her 30s, said it all boiled down to publicity. “We need publicity, the hype which will motivate us to work harder, we need it more, just like they give to the other genres.

Read more: Reintroduce music as a subject at all levels —Abiana

“However, you cannot blame them too, that is how the youth of today are. The young people have their energy level so they would like to shout and jump, and the kind of music we do goes with a live band which may be too dull for them, so we do not get what is due us,” she noted.

In spite of all the challenges, Wiyaala was optimistic that things would change.

“Things will change, not at a fast rate but they will. In fact, I am happy that some award schemes have some categories for our kind of music, and that should tell us that some people in the industry are thinking about us. The thing is, some people will act like they are not interested but deep down, they are,” she said.

In answer to whether she would have survived in any other genre, Wiyaala, who plays the guitar, said, “I would have survived but in a financial sense, I don’t think so, and that is why I did a u-turn.

“Thank God I am very versatile. When I was doing the Rock My Body style, it earned me attention but it was for the wrong reasons, which I wasn’t comfortable with. I want to do music that will reflect who I am.”

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