The WAYout Studio in Freetown, Sierra Leone, supported by the Strummerville Foundation, offers a facility for recording live music and electronic music that is free to street youth – one of the few studios with engineers trained in recording and mastering live instruments.
Sierra Leone is a country with a deep love and passion for music. Live music was a key part of its culture and heritage, and Sierra Leonean musicians would record using a range of local instruments, performing concerts across the country and recordings using live bands.
But this live music culture died down after the country’s decade long civil war. Following the war, many instruments had been destroyed and musicians increasingly turned to using digital equipment , computers and software to make music, with Western, electronic and other popular African influences becoming more prominent in the Salone sound. Now, there is less appetite, less training and very little capability and facilities to record with or using live instruments.
This style of electronic music changed the sound of most popular Sierra Leonean musicians, and is enormously popular with younger audiences in particular. However, some local musicians are working to reverse the trend and bring Sierra Leonean live music back to the fore. Alieu Turay AKA Zebulon from the group Asho Packer says “Live music is part of us and we should not frown away from it.” he said. They continue singing live music so that the future generation will learn from them, as it has been the tradition. “We should not allow it to die like that.”
The WAYout Studio offers a facility for recording live music and electronic music that is free to street youth – one of the few studios with engineers trained in recording and mastering live instruments.
Through opening up this accessible recording studio and media hub for disadvantaged Sierra Leoneans – live musicians and street youth alike – WAYout is working to both support a resurgence of live music in Sierra Leone whilst continuing to engage young disadvantaged street youth through a free studio to produce contemporary music-making, media and arts projects.