High Life

ABROKYIRE ABRABO – Documentary [Pronunciation: Ab–Bro–Ch’TRay Ab–Bra–Bo]

In the 1980’s there was an explosion of African music in the United Kingdom, largely made popular through the Ghanaian music genre called ‘Highlife’.

For many West African immigrants this was the happening music of choice, proudly listened to on the very aspirational “must have” sound system; ‘The Radiogram’ – an old fashioned, multi-functional furniture centre piece made of highly polished wood. One Highlife tune that hauntingly remains in memory is the Akan language song ‘Abrokyire Abrabo’ (loosely translated as “Life in a White-man’s country”). I document why the Radiogram was so coveted and unearth the self-searching story behind the song – Abrokyire Abrabo, aloft waves of West-African rhythms.

  • Josef-Israel
  • SAM: Listen to your dad love. He knows.
    Extract from ‘Dave’s Murder Mile’ by Lyn Towers
  • ALBERT: (Clears his throat) Testing, testing, one two, three, testing. This is Albert higginbottom addressing the nation. (Sings) I left my heart, in San Francisco, high on a hill, it calls to me…
    Extract from ‘Albert’ by Janice Sampson
  • DARCY: I’m Darcy, and I’m sure that’s a charming little tale but maybe we could save it for another time or for someone who’s actually interested in the banalities of your life.
    Extract from ‘Followers’ by Ruby Clarke
  • CHARLIE: Don’t panic. I won’t be sleeping much either. I suppose you could say I’m in here because of William Shakespeare – and a woman.
    Extract from ‘King of the Castles’ by Frank Hill
  • TARIQ: Oi! Stop being disrespectful! Just because you speak ‘English’ so properly - you can’t speak Punjabi so good though do you, eh?
    Extract from ‘When George Came to Bradford by Nuzhat Ali
  • Aged 21 she gave in and tried it becoming addicted within weeks. It was in fashion, everybody did it
    Extract from ‘The Smoking Companion’ by Joleen White
  • The emphasis is the song ‘Abrokyire Abrabo’ what it meant to the band – their peerage and what it means to them now
    ‘High Life ‘ by Joseph-Israel