By: Lamin B Barra
Dear Gambian musicians, especially the upcoming ones. I wish to urge you to reconsider your lyrical choices. It is your responsibility to understand the importance of creating a legacy that withstands the sands of time. As musicians, your art holds the power to shape culture and leave a lasting impact on generations to come. It is a unique privilege, and with it comes a responsibility to create music that stands the test of time. In The Gambia recently, there has been a rising trend in songs containing insults and foul language.
While freedom of expression is a cornerstone of artistic creation and a constitutional right, it is crucial to recognize that words carry weight and leave indelible imprints on both listeners and the artists themselves. Songs filled with insults and swear words may garner attention in the present, but as time progresses, their significance may fade, leaving behind a legacy that musicians might not be proud to embrace in their later years.
As artists, you are architects of culture, influencing attitudes, shaping perspectives, and contributing to the social fabric. Choosing to fill your songs with insults and foul language risks alienating a portion of your audience, limiting the universality and timelessness of your work. The magic of enduring music lies in its ability to transcend the immediate, connecting with people across generations. A song that relies heavily on insults may find itself confined to a specific moment, losing relevance as societal norms evolve.
Consider the great musicians of the past, Ousu Njie Sr (RIP)., Tatadining Jobarteh (RIP), Lalo Kebba Drammeh (RIP) whose works have stood as pillars of inspiration for decades. Their lyrics often conveyed profound emotions, societal observations, and universal themes. The longevity of their impact stems from the reliability and timelessness embedded in their songs. Strive to create music that echoes on a deeper level, capturing the essence of the human experience without resorting to gratuitous insults or offensive language.
“As individuals evolve and mature, their perspectives on life inevitably change. What may seem edgy and rebellious in youth might be viewed differently in the reflective years of maturity. Musicians should aim to create a body of work that they can look back on with pride and satisfaction, knowing that their art contributed positively to the cultural tapestry” these are the words of the late Ousu Njie Senior. May his soul rest in peace.
This is a call to musicians to consider the enduring legacy they wish to leave behind. Embrace the power of words to uplift, inspire, and connect rather than to divide or offend. By choosing thoughtful and timeless lyrics, musicians can ensure that their artistic contributions withstand the test of time, resonating with listeners for generations to come.