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Liberian Music and more...!

Liberian music is a testament to Liberia's mosaic and diverse culture. Liberian music ranges from the very rthymic drums, to soul, jazz and blues and the music styles reflect the culture from Grand Gedeh to Lofa, from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas.

It is said that the roots of "HiLife"/"highlife" played in parts of West Africa owes it's roots, to the Kru of Liberia. In "pre-Liberian" times, the sea-faring "Kru" mariners carried small portable instruments when they travelled the West African coast even before Europeans arrived and were later employed on British and American steam-ships.

They played accordion, concertina, harmonica, penny whistle, banjo, mandolin and especially the Spanish guitar with which they developed the oppositional thumb and finger-plucking style.

Today, Miatta Fahnbulleh remains one of the most popular Liberian musicans not only because of her incredible talent, but also because of her personal story.

Miatta Fahnbulleh “DD” - Doyen Diva of Liberian music.
Miatta Fahnbulleh

Liberian born singer Miatta Fahnbulleh remains one Africa's finest voices. She always wanted to sing, but the bug really hit her at 16. A desire that caused problems with her father, the Liberian Ambassador to Sierra Leone.Liberia was not very progressive and women, especially ambassadors' daughters, didn't sing in dance halls and clubs, so Miatta pursued her craft on the down low. [more]

Princess Hawa Daisy Moore

Princess Hawa Moore

Hawa Moore was born in Negban, Liberia, in the Vai tribe. "I grew up with traditional music all around me," she says. "Music and dance have been part of my life since I was a little girl. I can't live without dancing and singing: I feel like I'm sick or lost when these things are not in my life."

Music was very important in her family. Her father, from a prominent royal family, performed with a musical group, and his mother, the daughter of a tribal king, was entertained regularly by traditional musicians.

As a child, Ms. Moore began to learn these rhythms and melodies. [more]

Lack of Support Hinders the Growth of Liberian Artists

Like many aspects of its very rich tapestry, Liberia is blessed with many gifted and talented musicians. From Grand Gedeh to Lofa; from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas: the country's tapestry shows a richness and diversity that is yet to be harnessed to its full potential. But sadly, the continual corrosive effects of its politics have done more harm than good in elevating Liberia's cultural landscape to much greater levels.

In spite of this, Liberia has had many talented musicians; foremost among those was Molly Dorley. As a teenager, I recalled listening to his music - when listening to that "type" of music wasn't in tune with the times. Dorley's music was a struggle against the tide in a country that suffered a duality of personality - wanting to be a Western country in an African land (the formation of Liberia as a nation-state is a subject matter already extensively covered on the pages of this magazine, which I don't intend to further discuss). But Dorley's music give impetus to the first recorded expression of Liberian cultural music, which was repressed like many other aspects of its African culture by the ruling political class.

Such songs like, "Who are you baby, oh!" and "Grand Gedeh County Oh! Oh!" (a song Dorley sang in 1969 during President William V. S. Tubman's 74th birthday celebration in that county), which marked the beginning of Liberian music appreciation.

Dorley wasn't only a genius, he, like Anthony "Experience" Nagbe of the renowned "Tejajlu" musical group were pioneers who were proud of their indigenous backgrounds, therefore, elevated their "native" languages through the rhythmic cadences of their music.[more]

Click to listen to some Liberian Classics
I Like It Like That
Cio Lala
Hawa Moore
Pretty Woman
Who Are You Baby
A Yam Yam Sae
Popular African Music
Sweet Mother
African Mix
Aki Special
Jambo Bwana
Nkosi Sikelel'
She's my Choice
Afopop Feature






Let's Be Liberians And Appreciate Our Music

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