The Ballanta Academy of Music was founded in 1995 and it has grown in stature and reputation to become a household name in Sierra Leone. Ballanta Academy of Music has taken successful strides to promote music education and development in the country.
While the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music system (ABRSM) has worked well in the past we are increasingly finding that young people, especially our students are now appreciating African rhythms and beats and are looking for a different approach from the western dominated approach, particularly those who would like to perform contemporary African styles like Palm wine music, Afro-beat, High-Life and more. Students coming from the new Pentecostal churches who want to accompany the gospel style songs or those who simply just want to develop a career in popular music are also seeking a different approach.
In addition the rich music traditions in our continent are in danger of being lost. Sierra Leone occupies a unique position in the sense that it is very quickly losing the indigenous culture and values that form the social fabric of other countries. The extreme exposure to western music in recent years seemed to have captured the imagination of young talents to the point where most young people dream of becoming musicians whose music resembles the western style music more than African music. A closer look at this situation reveals the fact that in schools and in most media outlets it is very rare to see Sierra Leonean music being promoted or taught. At the same time, the practitioners of cultural music who are still alive or have either reached or are fast approaching old age do not have a structured way of passing on knowledge and expertise to a younger generation. Knowledge needs to be preserved so these traditions will not die out.
Creating a vibrant non-formal music education system will enable Sierra Leonean musician teachers and students to acquire the necessary skills to read, write, document and create new technologies so that they can revive and transmit our own traditions and own music cultures in order to bring them back into the main stream of Sierra Leonean life.
For more information visit the Ballanta website here: www.ballanta-academy-of-music.org