A brief introduction to Palm Wine Music
Palm Wine music, or as it's know in Sierra Leone, Maringa, dates back to the days when Portuguese sailors introduced guitars to West Africa. Early African guitarists played at gatherings where revelers drank palm wine, the naturally fermented sap juice of the oil palm. The music with it's origins in the Kru-speaking people of Liberia combined elements from Trinidadian calypso with local melodies and rhythms. The music was first made internationally famous by Ebenezer Calender and his Maringar Band. He recorded dozens of records in the 1950 and early 1960's sadly none of which are available on CD. Palm wine guitarists had a tremendous impact on most of the West African music and their influence can be heard in both High Life and Soukous guitar players. The songs were were mainly sung in Krio, the creole English spoken in Freetown. Unfortunately, Palm wine music is on the decline, the last well known exponent Sooliman (S. E.) Roogie died in 1994. The music has been kept alive by Ghanian Daniel "Koo Nimo" Amponsah and a number of expatriate musicians living in London (where S.E. Rogie died), such as Super Combo and Abdul T-Jay, although the excellent music they have recorded is not specifically maringa.
"Koo Nimo" Amponsah - Joe Latham's pages
Abdul Tee Jay - African Musicians' Profiles Site