I became interested in African fingerstyle guitar years ago and bought a DVD with instructions on playing some songs by Kenyan guitarists. In another book I had on Acoustic guitar, there was a section on playing World music, with a short section of different African styles. One in particular was called “Sikyi” which is associated with the Ashanti people of Ghana. I believe it is a drum rhythm, but the book had several shorts riffs to simulate it on guitar.
I found this song on YouTube called “Sikyi Medley” by a Ghanian artist named Nana Tuffour. It’s a modern, upbeat tune with wicked bass lines and nice repetitive electric guitar licks you hear in a lot of African music. It reminds me of the soukous style they play in the Congo. Sit back, relax, close your eyes and before long your head will be bobbing and foot tapping. You may even want to throw your hands up and start dancing. I call this music “Happy” music because it always brings a smile to my face. 😄
If you liked that, show him some love and get his album titled “Hilife Tropicana” available on iTunes.
I learned one of the Sikyi licks in the Acoustic guitar book I mentioned earlier, and tried it out on my baritone ukulele. My brother and I came up with an original instrumental song around it called “Sikyi Groove” using some non- traditional instruments (ukuleles, Middle Eastern doumbek and Irish penny whistle). You can check it out at the video below. Skip to 1:55 minutes into the video to bypass the baritone ukulele tutorial for the song.
You should be able to download the song at the link below:
Other styles of Ghanian music you may hear are Palm Wine and High Life.