This week Sierra Leoneans will be re-introduced to their great composer, ethnomusicologist and teacher of music, Nicholas George Julius Ballanta, and get a taste of jazz, cultural, gospel, band and church music within a week.
The Ballanta Academy of Music has put together a unique fiesta to bring music to the fore and showcase some of the variety of musical genres and practitioners in our beloved country. The festival will commence at the Miatta Conference Centre on Thursday and Friday, March 13 & 14, 2008; the event will climax by a Jazz Jamboree at the Lagoonda with premier jazz bands from Ghana.
Dr Dyke Kiel will give the inaugural lecture on Ballanta’s ‘Afiwa’ and ‘Efua’, a history and comparison of African influences today at 5.30 pm. Among the artists performing on Friday March 14 from 2 pm will be the Fodeba Keita group from Guinea, the JT Jazzz, The Jazz tone All Stars and Native Vibe from Ghana, featuring Sierra Leone’s top notch jazz pianist, Wordsworth Filo-Jones. The Academy’s protégée, Joseryl Beckley, Masters graduate in Voice from Indiana University, will be performing and giving a vocal workshop at the Festival on Friday March 14.
From Nigeria, the Oduduwa Cultural Heritage will perform a dance drama, and the S.L.National Dance Troupe, the Sabanoh Dancers and Biana Players will thrill audiences to their own sounds of cultural music and dance, as will the Milo Jazz and the Goombay dancers from Kingharman School.
And if you are a band lover, the bands of St. Edward’s and Prince of Wales and the Ballanta Jazz will satisfy you too and for those who wish to hear the choir of the Milton Margai School for the Blind again, this is your chance. For pop and gospel enthusiasts, Slash G, and Anit, and G7 have their special programme for the event.
To fill in the literary and visual gap in our cultural education, the book and DVD, Music, Masks and Maestros by Yulisa Amadu Maddy and Ian Noah respectively will be launched. Except for the Jazz Jamboree, there is no admission fee.
The involvement of Studio 53 from South Africa makes sure that indeed this is a really special festival