World News

Musician of the Week column is back

21 July 2016 at 22:21 | 1600 views

By Gibril Koroma

In 2014 we had to suspend our popular Musician of the Week column due to the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. The whole country was mourning and Sierra Leoneans abroad were in a state of shock and sadness as news of the daily death toll hit them continuously.

Now that the deadly scourge is behind us we have brought back Musician of the Week to entertain you and help you think about the brighter side of life. Remember what the wise King Solomon said: All is vanity. No need to hate and kill each other in this world for ephemeral and transient, material things. Not even for power which can leave you at any time. You came to this world with nothing and will go back with nothing. What matters is living a good life and making sure you do not hurt any one. Serve humanity while you are here, that’s what really matters.

This week’s musician is the great Sam Fan Thomas who many Sierra Leoneans and indeed many Africans will fondly remember. Many Sierra Leoneans thought he was one of them when they first heard the name Sam Fan Thomas (Sanpha is a common name in northern Sierra Leone).

Thomas popularized what is known as Makassi music and he was actually one of the first African musicians to produce video clips of themselves at a time when digital technology was very new and in some places on the continent non-existent (80s and 90s). He not only sang and produced the Makassi rhythm but also showed how to dance it, as the video below demonstrates.

Thomas, who is now in semi-retirement (he is about 64 years old) spends his time these days at home in his recording studio in Cameroun producing the work of young Camerounian musicians and sharing his knowledge and experiences with them.

Here is Sam Fan Thomas doing Nooha, one of his unforgettable songs: