S.E. Rogie

S.E. Rogie (Sooliman Ernest Rogers) was one of Sierra Leone's most enduring and popular recording artists. His inimitably warm and loving musical style, called Palm Wine music (for listening pleasure whilst enjoying Palm Wine) was developed during the course of a career spanning nearly 50 years.

Since leaving Sierra Leone in the early 1970’s, Rogie lived both in the USA and the UK, returning only much later to the country of his birth to play a series of benefit concerts for people displaced by the political turmoil of 1993. By the time of his homecoming his fame has spread far beyond the boundaries of West Africa.

His last recording Dead Men Don’t Smoke Marijuana was released in May 1994 by Real World Records. It has since become a classic of world music.

Rogie was born in 1926 and began performing early, while supporting himself as a tailor. In the 1960s, he became a professional musician, singing in four languages. His hits include ‘Koneh Pehlawo’, ‘Go Easy with Me’ and ‘My Lovely Elizabeth’. He formed a band called The Morningstars in 1965, then travelled in Liberia and the United States. In the US, he performed at elementary and high schools across California, and received awards from the US Congress and Senate, the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, California. He lived in London from 1988.

S.E Rogie died on 4 July 1994, aged sixty-eight.

 

Further reading

Simon Emmerson (1956–2023)

Peter Gabriel remembers the life and musical career of Simon Emmerson.

Long-awaited release of Kayhan Kalhor and Toumani Diabaté collaboration

The album is a spiritual meditation by two culture bearers of centuries-old musical traditions.

Track of the day: ‘Gnawa Beat (Bayaka Remix)’ by Bab L’ Bluz

A new remix of 'Gnawa Beat' by Italian DJs and producers Bayaka.

Africa comes to Real World: revisiting albums by six legendary artists

Jane Cornwell explores our new reissue series 'Africa Sessions at Real World'.