An “Amazing Evening” With Salia Koroma
I found this reminiscence about Salia Koroma by a certain Tim (adopted Sierra Leonean name?)/Tamba on a discussion forum of accordion players. I thought I should share it with you, the Lucky Few. The link’s at the end of this post. Here’s Tim/Tamba in his own words (and my thanks to him):
In 1989 I went to work in Sierra Leone. In my first week in the country I had a course of (Mende) language training in a town called Kenema. One night I entertained (?) my colleagues/teachers with my pokerwork. My teachers became extremely animated and started talking amongst themselves heatedly. The next day they asked if I could go with them to meet someone so I agreed with some trepidation.
They took me to the compound of Salia Koroma, a famous musician, poet and owner of three battered old Hohners! So I spent an evening playing, talking and listening to Salia. By this time he was in his late 70’s and was delighted to get his hands on instrument that was in tune and that had not yet suffered from the ravages of an African climate!
I will never forget that amazing evening, only a week out of England, in the backstreets of an African town, communicating through music with a charming and talented man whom, the longer I lived in Sierra Leone, I came to recognise as a living legend and cultural icon. The few riffs that I learned from Salia stood me in good stead throughout my two years in Sierra Leone and I played many times in many places but people always loved it the best when I played (a bit) like him! I never met another melodeon player during all my years in Africa although I think there may be a few in South Africa.
So that was my amazing experience, any more out there…