Music of Sierra Leone

Music of Sierra Leone
Music of West Africa
Benin Benin
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso
Cape Verde Cape Verde
Côte d'Ivoire Cote d'Ivoire
The Gambia The Gambia
Ghana Ghana
Guinea Guinea
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau
Liberia Liberia
Mali Mali
Mauritania Mauritania
Niger Niger
Nigeria Nigeria
Senegal Senegal
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
Togo Togo

Sierra Leone's music is a mixture of native and French, British, and [Pidgin Krio] influences. Palm wine is representative, and is played by an acoustic guitar with percussion in countries throughout coastal West Africa. Palm wine, the drink, is the source of the name of the music and the clubs where it was both drunk and played.



Sierra Leonean palm wine music is known as maringa, and it was first popularized by Ebenezer Calendar & His Maringar Band, who used styles that came from freed slaves from the Caribbean, especially Trinidadian calypso. Calendar's most popular song was "Double-Decker Bus", which was commissioned by Decca to promote the launching of a double-decker bus line. Calendar was a skilled instrumentalist who played the guitar, trumpet, mandolin and the cornet. Calendar eventually moved towards socially and spiritually aware lyrics, while also penning some of the most oft-played songs in Sierra Leonean music in the 1950s and 60s [1].


Gumbe (goombay), a genre more closely associated with the music of West Africa, has also had a long presence in the form of milo-jazz. Milo-jazz is a distinctly Sierra Leonean style named for a brand of chocolate powder, empty cans of which were filled with stones to form a core percussion instrument of the genre. Dr.Olo is the most widely-acknowledged innovator of milo-jazz [2].


Beginning in the 1970s, rumba, Congolese music, funk and soul combined to formed a popular kind of Afropop. Major bands of this era included Sabannoh 75, Orchestra Muyei, Super Combo and the Afro-National. Sierra Leoneans abroad have created their own styles, such as the Spanish Seydu, German Ansoumana Bangura and the Britain Abdul Tee-Jay ,United States of America[Bosca Banks],[Daddy Rahmanu],[Patricia Bakarr],[Sidike Diabate].].

New Music of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, just like much of West Africa is experiencing a change in its popular music culture. Western style Rap, Reggae, Dancehall, R&B, and Grime (music) have begun to have an impact on the new music generation of Sierra Leone. The wars and civil conflict throughout West Africa [3], have resulted in a decrease in the presence of the traditional music artists.One of the newest celebrities to emerge out of Sierra Leone is new Urban artist iGniTer ( also known as "Lj". The internet and spread of western culture has encouraged the youth, of countries like Sierra Leone, to express themselves through new styles of music. Many of these songs have had political and social themes in them and have played a role in informing the populace and checking politicians. The independent film, Sweet Salone, displays many of these artists, fans, and their music [4].


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