Sierra Leone, Republic of
- Cootje Van Oven
Country in West Africa. It has an area of 73,326 km² and a population of 4·87 millon (2000 estimate). Colonized by the British in the early 19th century, the state became independent in 1961 and a Republic in 1971. The population comprises the Mende in the south and the Temne in the north, with a number of smaller ethnic groups, including the Kissi, Malinké (Maninka), Fula (FulBe) and Krio.
Although Sierra Leone is a relatively small country, it has a rich variety of music. This is not only because it has different peoples, each with their own musical variety, but also because of their influence on each other. In addition, music is closely connected with dancing, drama, storytelling and the visual arts. Even carving and other arts and crafts are associated with music through the use of masks and costumes by dancers who act as the embodiments of certain spirits, and through the decoration of such instruments as the ...