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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 06:23 GMT 07:23 UK
Sierra Leone's music crusader
By Lucy Fleming
BBC News Online

Sierra Leonean musician Daddy Saj
Daddy Saj started out as a church chorister
Sierra Leonean hip hop singer Daddy Saj shot to fame last year chanting his anti-corruption lyrics.

His album Corruption e do so, meaning in Krio, corruption - enough is enough, struck a chord not only in Sierra Leone, but across Africa.

The 26-year-old sees his mission to make great music with a message, in a society where corruption is on the rise.

"Most musicians sing about love and women, but I'm different," he says.

After the decade-long civil war ended in 2002, corruption in Sierra Leone has become a way of life, a way to survive, he says.

Ear of the nation

But has his song, which has made him a superstar back home, had any impact at all on corruption?

"Definitely, everyone is aware of it now, it's not just a word. Now people know corruption is a disease - before they thought it was a way of life," he says.

Sierra Leonean musician Daddy Saj
When you sing in your own tongue, people feel it more, because they can understand it
There is still a long way to go though, he admits, but he has seen changes over the last year.

And with politicians and even the president attending his concerts, he does have the ear of the whole nation.

Music, he believes, can change things for the better, as was evident during the brutal civil war.

"Music brought peace to Sierra Leone. During the war all our songs were based on peace, reconciliation, love and unity. Then we had peace.

"Now there is another war, which is corruption."

Targeting the bosses

At the age of eight, Daddy Saj, whose name is short for sir junior, joined a church choir and in his teens he found inspiration from western rap artistes.

But his rap is a blend of hip hop and traditional goombay music. With lyrics in Krio, Sierra Leone's national language, he says, his music has more impact.

I tell the bosses and the big guns that it's a bad practice
"When you sing in your own tongue, people feel it more, because they can understand it."

His new album Densay Densay (Rumours, Rumours), also aims to change attitudes, with sexual harassment his next target.

Women in Sierra Leone often have no choice but to sleep with their employers to keep their jobs, he says.

"In my song Watin dae be - what's happening, I tell the bosses and the big guns that it's a bad practice.

"So the government and media will take up the message that it's not a way of life."

And does Daddy Saj ever think of going into politics himself?

"Absolutely not. I'm a musician - I attack the negative to bring positive changes to society."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Listen to Daddy Saj's anti-corruption song



SEE ALSO:
Can musicians save Africa?
15 Oct 04  |  Africa
Battle to be reggae's Mr Cool
15 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
In pictures: Sierra Leone's recovery
20 Jun 03  |  Photo Gallery
Country profile: Sierra Leone
21 Jul 04  |  Country profiles


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