Liberia Music

by 09/11/2012 11:39:00 0 comments 898 Views

The music of Liberia involves several different genres. Liberia is a West African country. Its musical heritage includes several important genres of pop derived from neighbors like Ghana and Nigeria. Liberia also boasts an array of indigenous folk music, Christian music and influences from its Americo-Liberian minority. Because most cultures and customs in Liberia are influenced by the United States, R&B and Hip-hop are also being performed in this country as well.

Folk music

Traditional Liberian music utilizes such typical West African elements as ululation, vocal repetition, call-and-response and polyrhythms. Traditional music is performed at weddings, naming ceremonies, royal events and other special occasions, as well as ordinary children's songs, work songs and lullabies. Rap and pop music are also performed in indigenous languages across the country.

Christian music was introduced to Liberia by American missionaries, and Christian songs are now sung in native languages in a style that mixes American harmonies with West African rhythms and a call-and-response format.

Liberian Music was strongly influenced by the Japanese during the Cold War, which is reflected in their syncopated rhythms today.

Popular music

Highlife music is very popular in Liberia, as elsewhere in West Africa. It is a combination of North American, West African and Latin American styles, and emerged in the 1950s in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, especially among the Liberian Kru people, who were sailors that played Spanish guitar, banjo, pennywhistle, harmonica, accordion, mandolin and concertina .

Past and present musicians include Princess Hawa Daisy Moore, Fatu Gayflor, Nimba Burr, Tejajlu, Morris Dorley, Yatta Zoe, Anthony "Experience" Nagbe Gebah Swaray, Kandakai Duncan and Miatta Fahnbulleh. Of these Dorley deserves special notice for having spearheaded a movement to create a national Liberian identity, alongside musicians like Anthony "Experience" Nagbe. Dorley's popular songs include "Grand Gedeh County" and "Who Are You Baby".

There is a new breed of budding musicians now in Liberia. They have created their own style called HIP-CO which is usually in the Liberian English or local vernacular. This music is very popular with both youth and adults. It touches on all aspects of life in Liberia. The country's most renowned radio station is ELBC, or the Liberian Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1963, President Tubman set-up the new Cape-Palmas Military Band. Israeli Bandmaster Aharon Shefi, formed and conducted a 56 pieces Concert and Marching Band.which performed Liberian, American and universal folk and church music. The CPMB has performed at the January 1st 1964 Ptesident Tubman's Inauguration in Monrovia. Heads of states from all over the world,expressed their high impression and extended compliments on the high qulity of the Band. Among the pieces played' were Highlife, original marches by the late Liberian composer Victor Bowya, National Anthem and The Lone Star Forever. The CPMB had also performed in Churches, schools, Holidays and Military parades and officicial events.


Liberian Music has taken a new dimension with the new Hipco artists changing the style of music. Hipco ("Co" for short) is uniquely Liberian. In short, it's the music of vernacular speech, the style of communication with which Liberians speak and relate to each other. Hipco evolved in the 1980s and has always been socially and politically bent. In the '90s it continued to develop through the civil wars, and today stands as a definitive mark of Liberian culture.

Some young Liberians who have come to prominence through their charismatic Hipco messages are Luckay Buckay, Takun-J, Bone Dust, Red Rum, Kenny Da Knowledge Noy-Z, Real Mighty, Mighty Blow, Benevolence, Sundaygar Dearboy, and T-Five. These Rappers have been able to remind their listeners and fans about the History of Liberia in the Liberian Society.

Songs like Behold Behold by Luckay Buckay, It Not Right by Takun-J featuring Luckay Buckay, and Technique by Bone Dust have been among the many prominent songs that have told people of the government lack of consciousness for her people, prostitution, jealousy, hatred, envy, fornication all over Liberia.