S.E. Rogie

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African guitar hero brought electric guitar to the "Palm Wine" music of his native Sierra Leone.
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Gentle, fingerpicked, acoustic guitar melodies and smooth-as-silk baritone, vocals were combined via the palm wine music of S.E. Rogie. While remaining rooted in the high life music of his birth place, Sierra Leone, Rogie incorporated influences of western pop and folk music to create his unique, heartfelt, music. As a youngster, Rogie was heavily influenced by the country music and yodeling of Jimmie Rodgers. Emigrating to England, in 1973, he worked frequently in schools as a cultural ambassador, introducing eager students to the art and music of Sierra Leone. Forming his own label, Rogiephone, he released his debut album, African Lady, in 1975. Rogie's self-produced 1986 album, The Sixties Sounds of S.E. Rogie, was reissued by Cooking Vinyl the same year. Rogie was featured in the 1990 film Acoustic Sounds from Africa, performing his songs "Please Go Easy with Me," "Clua Koonde," "Don't Touch Me Tomato," and his best-known tune, "My Lovely Elizabeth." Rogie's final album, Dead Men Don't Smoke Marijuana, released in 1994, was recorded in London with upright bassist Danny Thompson and lead guitar player Alfred Bannerman. The album also featured Rogie's band featuring Simon Clarke (keyboards), Zozo Shuaibu (percussion, electric bass, background vocals), and Emile Ogoo (guitar, background vocals). Shortly after the album's release, Rogie passed away at the age of 68 in June 1994.