Salone News

Freetown: Music Industry Confab Begins

26 June 2007 at 20:36 | 288 views

By Sorie Sudan Sesay, Freetown.

Sierra Leonean musicians and stakeholders in the music
industry, today converged at the Miatta Conference
Hall, Youyi Building in Freetown for a two-day
conference organised by Celtel/Premier Media.

The US Embassy in Freetown and British Council are
providing assistance by bringing in consultants to facilitate and provide expertise to the conference.

The confab, which will run from 26th June(today) to June 28th June is aimed at bringing together musicians,
producers, promoters, record labels and marketers in
planning the development of a thriving music industry in Sierra Leone.

The expected outcome of the conference is for those
involved in the music industry to have a clear
understanding of their roles and responsibilities and
also to establish a music collection society, while
calling for a renewed resolve of policy makers to
review and strengthen copyright legislation as well
as enforcement mechanisms.

Meanwhile, Celtel has been praised for coming to the
rescue of the local music industry with a conference and
local stars say they are happy that at last Celtel has
sponsored a forum for them to discuss and plan their
future and DJ Boxx of KallBoxx Records,
says he wholeheartedly welcomed the Celtel/Premier
Media initiative.

Boxx controls one of the biggest recording studios in
the country and has promoted quite a good number of
local artists.

“Some of us Record Labels just spend our money and
keep on spending on artists without much profit, if
any at all. At today’s Conference and on Wednesday
and Thursday 26-28th June 2007 at the Miatta
Conference Hall, we will be able to come up with
solutions to our problems. The issue of a copyright
law and its enforcement is a thorny issue which will
be discussed and thrashed out-thanks to Celtel”, he

He praised Celtel for trying to make life better for
the music industry as many other corporate bodies have
shied away from this kind of investment because, he observed, they do not
realize how it would help them in the future. ’Celtel
has a big heart and we must appreciate them’ he said.

Cassette Sellers Association CSA President Abubakarr
Kamara alias ‘DD Abu’ says for Celtel to even sponsor
the conference is a very big initiative. It is a
welcome development which goes to show, he said, that they are
concerned about the music business in Sierra

"We are hoping that this conference will help to solve
a lot of the problems in our industry. All the
stakeholders welcome this because everybody will
benefit. We in the CSA believe that if the musicians
are protected, then they will make more money both
nationally and internationally and we will be able to
get a percentage from sales as well, he declared.

“I know it is not easy to find a corporate body that will
care about whether the industry moves forward or not
but Celtel has done it again without asking for

According to Kamara, if all other stakeholders had
emulated the Celtel/Premier Media example, the future
of Sierra Leonean music would have been brighter.
Proprietor of Music Makers Alhassan Kamara says now
the sanity they all have been craving for in the music
industry will be realized.

He praised Celtel for
sponsoring the event without which it would not have
been possible and Premier Media for taking the bold
step to make Sierra Leone music move ahead.

The president of the union of musicians known as ‘All
Stars’, Base A Phoenix, said the conference was long
overdue but since no one came forward to help sponsor
it, everybody was just doing things without control
which led to a lot of losses to the artists.

He said he was happy that at least now, his members
will have the opportunity to speak with one voice and
discuss with other stakeholders so that they will get
the reward for their efforts. He thanked Celtel for
the sponsorship and the Premier Media initiative of
putting it together.

Prominent local star, Steady Bongo(photo) said with this latest
boost, musicians will now be able to actualize their
dreams, adding that although some of them have the
opportunity of traveling and doing shows to make
money, it is difficult to find even five Sierra Leone
musicians who can tell you how many copies of their
works have been sold.