Sierra Leone Music and Dance

By | March 23, 2021

As one of 16 countries located in Western Africa according to zipcodesexplorer, Sierra Leone, the West African coastal state, which has been rebuilding and coming to terms with its history since the end of the civil war in 2002, has rich mineral resources and untapped potential in agriculture and fishing. To stabilize the peace, Sierra Leone is in a process of decentralization.


Well-known musicians keep performing in bars. The internationally known Refugee All Stars, who formed in a refugee camp in Guinea, now play live music at international festivals and in Sierra Leonean clubs. A film was made about her a few years ago. Concerts are also organized in cooperation with the Ballanta Academy of Arts, a music academy in Freetown.

Starting with peace concerts, for example by Jimmi B’s “Paradise Family”, a very lively music scene has established itself after the war. In the two years leading up to the 2007 elections, the musicians played an important role by denouncing the difficult situation of young people, social injustice and corruption with their lyrics. ” Bobor Belle ” (translated: “Men with bellies”) was the most famous song, which was even quoted by the politicians it was about and which could be heard on every street corner. Daddy Saj asked himself in the song ” Sorriest Part”(the saddest thing) whether better things can be expected from the next president, whoever it will be. During these years, the radio and discotheques were mainly listening to Sierra-Leonean music.

Now more Nigerian and international pop music is being played again, partly because the new Sierra Leonean copyright laws are strict and the regularly copied CDs with local music are twice as expensive as the illegally produced CDs with hits from other countries. There is still a Sierra-Leonean music scene, still with social lyrics and love songs, sometimes even declarations of love for one’s own country, such as ” Tay go – pass ar die ” (endless, until death).

Dance and theater

Dance group in Kissy Tong

Dance group in Kissy Tong

A prominent feature of cultural life in Sierra Leone is dance. In addition to traditionally embedded dance, there are also dance groups that perform on stages in Sierra Leone and abroad. The most prominent is the National Dance Troupe, founded in 1963.

An atypical dancer is Michaela De Prince, one of the best young ballerinas in the world. Born in Sierra Leone in 1995, she was adopted as an orphan by an American family when she was five.

There are very many theater groups spread across the country. In addition to entertainment and traditional content, they also deal with imparting knowledge, health education and peacekeeping. The Freetong Players are particularly well known.

Actors also produce the very popular episodes of ‘ Atunda Ayenda’, radio soaps that regularly address social problems and the living conditions of young people.

Lions Art - Studio for art, dance and theater in Freetown

Lions Art – Studio for art, dance and theater in Freetown

Sierra Leone overview

Sierra Leone is bordered by the neighboring countries Guinea and Liberia, and in the southeast by the Atlantic coast. With its various habitats, from coastal areas to mangrove swamps and savannah to the primeval forest, Sierra Leone offers a rich flora and fauna. Despite its wealth of natural resources, it is one of the poorest countries on earth.

History & State

After more than a decade of civil war, Sierra Leone regained peace in 2002. Two days before the war officially ended, it was decided to set up a special court for Sierra Leone. Two democratic elections have taken place since then. Since the change of government in 2007, the All People’s Congress (APC) has determined the country’s politics.

Economy & Development

The economy of Sierra Leone is determined by agriculture and mining and has grown by around five percent per year since the end of the civil war, and even significantly more since the start of iron ore mining in 2011, sometimes in the double-digit percentage range. Triggered by the Ebola epidemic of 2014-16 and the drop in raw material prices, there was a slump from which the country will only slowly recover. Reforms are intended to eliminate problems in the infrastructure, in the training of young people and in the poorly trained private sector and thus strengthen the economy.

Society & culture

There are around 16 ethnic groups in Sierra Leone that contribute to the country’s cultural diversity. Members of different religions live together peacefully. Efforts have been made to establish a national identity since colonial times. However, the main frame of reference for most Sierra Leoneans remains the family and local group.

Everyday life & practical information

Despite its challenges in everyday life, Sierra Leone has many beautiful sides. A passport with a visa for Sierra Leone is required for entry, which must be valid for at least six months upon entry.