Explore Music & Arts
Music & Arts
Music and dance is a big part of Sierra Leone’s culture, with unique styles of dance and song spanning across communities. Many of these dances are ceremonial in nature and incorporate symbolism and carefully carved wooden masks as a means of expression.
The most commonly used musical instruments in Sierra Leone include the slit-log drum, known as the kelei, the single-skin drum, called the sangbei, and a rattle, called a segbure. These instruments usually accompany the locals’ ceremonial dances but are also often played and enjoyed on their own.
Travellers will be hard-pressed to find local villages that don’t periodically thrum with music and song. The Mende people, in particular, are known for their beautiful traditional songs, inspired by various themes like religion, love and war.
The people of Sierra Leone are also talented visual artists. They focus primarily on woodwork and wood carving, ivory and stone carving, and cloth work, and it’s possible to pick up authentic, hand-crafted masterpieces at many bustling local markets across the country. Locals are well-known for creating colourful lanterns and floats for Freetown’s lantern festivals – parades which mark the end of Ramadan or celebrate important events such as national holidays.