Highlife is a music genre that originated in Ghana at the turn of the 20th century and incorporated the traditional harmonic 9th, as well as melodic and the main rhythmic structures in traditional Akan music, and married them with Western instruments and ideas. Highlife was associated with the local African aristocracy during the colonial period. Highlife spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia and Nigeria via Ghanaian workers, among other West African countries, by the 1930s. It is very popular in Liberia and all of English-speaking West Africa, although little has been produced in other countries due to economic challenges brought on by war and instability.
This arpeggiated highlife guitar part is modeled after an Afro-Cuban guajeo. The pattern of attack-points is nearly identical to the 3-2 clave motif guajeo shown earlier in this article. The bell pattern known in Cuba as clave is indigenous to Ghana and Nigeria, and is used in highlife.