Muyei Power

Sierra Leona in 1970s USA

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Sierra Leone in 1970s USA compiles tracks recorded by the Afro-pop ensemble Orchestre Muyei Power while on tour on the West Coast of the United States in 1975 and 1976. Formed in 1971 by manager Abu Sillah, and led by bandleader/musician Abou Bakarr Whyte (who went on to a successful solo career), Muyei Power was an extremely popular live act in Sierra Leone. As with many of their contemporaries, including Big Faiya, Dr. Dynamite, Afro-Nationale, Sabannoh 75, and others, Muyei Power turned their love of Western pop idioms inward, and began reinventing traditional West African music, mixing it with rock, pop, and funk. Originally released in-house by the Brooklyn-based African Record Centre in the late '70s, most of these recordings fell into obscurity after Muyei Power disbanded in 1979. Primarily, cuts like "Wali Bena," "Yamba Sowe," and "Bi Loko," are bright, optimistic tracks with a groove-oriented quality that showcase the group’s love of jangly electric guitars, shiny keyboards, exuberant group vocals, and frenetic traditional African rhythms. Ultimately, as Muyei Power never recorded an official full-length album, and since much of their legacy resides in the memories of those lucky enough to have experienced their live shows, this five-track compilation works as a vivid, and rare, document of their unique sound.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick