Music of Liberia

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The music of Liberia is less modern than the music of neighboring countries; it uses many tribal beats and often one of the native dialects, or vernacular.

Traditional music[edit]

The indigenous ethnic groups of Liberia can be linguistically divided into three groups: those in the east who speak the isolate Gola language and the Mel languages (particularly Kissi) and those in the west who speak Kru languages (particularly Bassa). To these must be added the Mande people (the Kpelle are Liberia's largest ethnic group) in the north as well as Liberian repatriates (Americo-Liberians, Congo, Caribbean).

Liberian music makes particular use of vocal harmony, repetition and call-and-response song structure as well as such typical West African elements as ululation and the polyrhythm typical of rhythm in Sub-Saharan Africa. Christian music was introduced to Liberia by American missionaries and Christian songs are now sung in a style that mixes American harmonies with West African language, rhythm and call-and-response format.

Traditional music is performed at weddings, naming ceremonies, royal events and other special occasions, as well as ordinary children's songs, work songs and lullabies. Rap and pop music are also performed in indigenous languages across the country.

Popular music[edit]

Highlife music is very popular in Liberia, as elsewhere in West Africa. It is a combination of North American, West African and Latin American styles, and emerged in the 1950s in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, especially among the Liberian Kru people, who were sailors that played Spanish guitar, banjo, pennywhistle, harmonica, accordion, mandolin and concertina [1].

Past and present musicians include Princess Hawa Daisy Moore, Fatu Gayflor, Nimba Burr, Tejajlu, Morris Dorley, Yatta Zoe, Anthony "Experience" Nagbe Gebah Swaray, Kandakai Duncan and Miatta Fahnbulleh. Of these, Dorley deserves special notice for having spearheaded a movement to create a national Liberian identity, alongside musicians such as Anthony "Experience" Nagbe. Dorley's popular songs include "Grand Gedeh County" and "Who Are You Baby".

There is a new breed of budding musicians now in Liberia. They have created their own style called Hip-Co which is usually in the Liberian English or local vernacular. This music is very popular with both youth and adults. It touches on all aspects of life in Liberia. The country's most renowned radio station is ELBC, or the Liberian Broadcasting System.

In 1963, President Tubman set-up the new Cape-Palmas Military Band (CPMB). Israeli Bandmaster Aharon Shefi, formed and conducted a 56-piece concert and marching Band that performed Liberian, American and universal folk and church music. The CPMB has performed at the January 1, 1964 President Tubman's Inauguration in Monrovia. Heads of states from all over the world,expressed their high impression and extended compliments on the high quality of the Band. Among the pieces played were Highlife, original marches by the late Liberian composer Victor Bowya, the National Anthem and "The Lone Star Forever". The CPMB had also performed in churches, schools, holidays and military parades and official events.

Hipco[edit]

Liberian Music has taken a new dimension with the new Hipco artists changing the style of music. Hipco ("Co" for short) is uniquely Liberian. In short, it is the music of vernacular speech, the style of communication with which Liberians speak and relate to each other. Hipco evolved in the 1980s and has always been socially and politically bent. In the 1990s it continued to develop through the civil wars, and today stands as a definitive mark of Liberian culture.[1]

Some young Liberians who have come to prominence through their charismatic Hipco messages are Luckay Buckay, Takun-J, Bone Dust, Red Rum,[disambiguation needed] Kenny Da Knowledge Noy-Z, Real Mighty, Mighty Blow, Picador,[disambiguation needed] Benevolence, Sundaygar Dearboy and T-Five. These rappers have been able to remind their listeners and fans about the history of Liberia.

Songs such as "Behold Behold" by Luckay Buckay, "It Not Right" by Takun-J featuring Luckay Buckay, and "Technique" by Bone Dust have been among the many prominent songs that have told people of the government lack of consciousness for her people, prostitution, jealousy, hatred, envy and fornication all over Liberia.

Liberia Music Award[edit]

Liberia Music Awards Foundation, Inc is to show and prove that music is not just for entertaining, but also for education, uplifting, reconciliation and healing. So, with its mission being as such, the foundation is gearing towards uplifting rising stars for tomorrow’s entertainment world. We will help educate and teach musicians through voice training, instrumental skills building and through all and all keeping fit through physical exercise. All will be done while unlocking potentials for them to become world renowned musicians tomorrow.To facilitate the exposure, promotion and celebration of the arts thru music and fusions,Make African Liberian music a mass appeal genre,Identify and recognize hidden musical talents in order to give mentorship and needed exposure.Provide opportunity to learn about the rich musical heritage of Liberia.To promote moral values through the medium of music,Embarking on community development programs and supporting deprived communities through collaborative action.Through Liberia’s 15 years of civil war, so many people used music for uplifting themselves and others. Through music many people found the courage to stay alive and fight for their lives. Post-war, musicians made music for inspiration, spirituality, love, comedy and much more. Even though lives were lost, music made a huge contribution as far as encouragement and uplifting spirits. We exist to congratulate and thank those with these musical talents.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Takun J – Hip-Co in Liberia". Retrieved 2012-06-06.