The New Masters of the Universe

It’s always interesting to see the development of an artist’s ideas over any length of time. With this new posting we get to see how one particular Salia Koroma theme evolved over the length of over forty years. In ‘Ko Sao’ Salia identified with the changes that his generation was going through. In ‘Jia Yengele’ (Walk softly) posted here the theme of change’s treated a bit differently.

In the recording I’m posting here, the strutting younger man of yore is now a fuzzy memory, a memory rooted in the time he caroused with his patrons all over Mendeland. In ‘Jia Yengele’ the old man looks back at changes during his life. He reflects on the system of inverted values that have come to characterise society; it’s a place he doesn’t fully recognise; a place more restless than it had ever been. Here’s a generation bereft of sound values, ignorant of its past, and fed on the pap that their story began with the hook-up with the desultory history of the Sierra Leone Colony. From a hierarchical, if stultifying, system in which everyone didn’t always have their place in the sun, they’d been incorporated into a disorderly, even chaotic one. To this generation, Salia Koroma becomes a prophet, telling them to be careful for something comes. How could he have known that some five or so years after this recording, this chaos and tumult would turn into full-blown mayhem?

At the end of ‘Ko Sao,’ Salia Koroma used the metaphor of the fish basket stuck in a good fish hole (the accordion in the Bondo) and that of a strutting cockerel. No such arrogance now; and certainly no linguistic showing-off now. At the start and close of ‘Jia Yengele’ an old man calls for help. Given that those chiefly patrons who treated him as if he was royalty himself were now all dead, he turns to the new Masters of the Universe as we know them in Sierra Leone, those who’re men enough to storm the House (of Parliament).
That, in itself, is an inversion of values, enough to make someone who’d hobnobbed with the samanga cry!

Jia Yengele from Nikiibu on Vimeo.


Posted on December 7, 2008, in Salia Koroma and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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