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Thogolobea by Sorie Kondi : musical diamond from Sierra Leone

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Sorie Kondi has a strong powerful voice, full of emotion, unraveling like a long winding road, scorched by the sun, yet enduring and resilient to the hardship of life.

Sorie Kondi’s life is a vision of the struggles of many people in Africa, and specifically Sierra Leone, and there’s no doubt that these harsh struggles have formed him into a prodigious musical talent… but there’s another story here as well. Kondi’s life is also a vision of the rebirth of Sierra Leonean culture and art, the rise of Africa as a world power in the 21st century. Born blind in the Sierra Leone village of Mangiloko, Sorie Kondi turned to music at a young age, teaching himself to play the nearly vanished traditional lamellophone (thumb piano) of his home region, known as the kondi. Living in one of the poorest countries in the world, Kondi was unable to attend school, so he threw himself into his instrument, using his new musical abilities to play ceremonies and weddings outside his village. Sierra Leone’s bitter civil war, fought during the 1990s, forced Kondi to move to the capital of Freetown in 1996. There he took the name Sorie Kondi, after his instrument, and adapted the kondi for his compelling street performances, adding homemade amplification and speakers inspired by his need to be heard over the sounds of Freetown’s busy markets.

Composing new songs and developing a powerful performance style, Kondi began to get noticed on the streets of Freetown, though he still lived in a ramshackle house on the edge of a cliff. When rebels sacked the city in 1999, Kondi was forced to hide in his house after everyone had fled while Freetown burned all around him. Even his plans for a recording career were destroyed by the civil war when his manager fled the country and his master tapes were destroyed. From this period of hardship, the bitter song “Without Money No Family” became his anthem. Ironically, this same song would become his triumph and the invitation for him to travel abroad to the US for the first time in his life.

From the website HeartMusic.

Sorie Kundi – Without money, no family

Here’s an interview of Sorie Kondi for Afropop where he explains the song.

This month Sorie Kondi’s new album titled Thogolobea is being released on Dj Rupture, Matt Shadetek&Chief Boima’s label Dutty Artz. The least we can say, is that it’s an hymn to beauty, life and hope. Every note, every lyric is imbued with talent !

Watch this video of Thogolobea and let your feet do the job.

Sorie Kundi – Thogolobea

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