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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » SIERRA LEONE’S ALASKA TO ROCK WINNIPEG REGGAE FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND!

SIERRA LEONE’S ALASKA TO ROCK WINNIPEG REGGAE FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND!

By Lans Omar—

Sierra Leonean born, PegCity’s own reggae maestro, Alaska, is all set to thrill this year’s Soca Reggae Festival in Winnipeg, Canada. In has also been confirmed that he’s one of the main acts scheduled to perform at the three-night showcase commencing this weekend July 12th, 13th, and 14th, 2013.

I spoke to Alaska last week. He’s all fired up and ready to do what he does best with his band “The Peacemakers.”

“We have new songs already lined up and the band is scheduled to play on Friday, July 12 – 9pm to 10pm and Sat, July 13 – 8pm to 9pm,” He explained to me while humming his hit song of 2013 – “Feels like.”

I remember my first interview with Alaska about 15 years ago while I was reporting for Concord Times in Freetown. After all these years, I still believe he has the flaming torch to lead Sierra Leone’s music industry.

Few Sierra Leonean artists at home and in the diaspora have explored the possibilities of pop-reggae fusion as successfully as Alaska, who is enormously popular back home and in Canada, and has achieved a level of stateside success that other Sierra Leonean artists (with the exception of Emerson Njawah, Jr.) can only wish for.

His smooth voice and his comfort with the neo-reggae genre have only increased his marketability; and there’s no denying his talent is uniquely unseen across all of West Africa and beyond.

Alaska

Alaska

His hit song “Mystic Lady” finds him working in an explicitly western-reggae-influenced style. “My lovely Elizabeth,” a rendition of SE Rogers, is a seductive smooth groove ballad that has no noticeable connection to any reggae tradition, which is a standing witness that he can even sing beyond reggae.

Alaska sings a peaceful, roots-oriented form of Reggae music designed to inspire his audience and to take a more positive approach to life and social change. His looks clearly give you a picture of a Rastafarian but he’s not one at all; he infuses his music with a lighthearted, liberal-leaning dose of humor.

Alaska, whose real name is Idrissa Turay, started singing in 1988 way back in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He has earned a reputation in Sierra Leone and amongst other African musicians in the diaspora for the excellence of his musicianship and the excitement of his live shows – whether performing solo or with his band.

Come this Friday and Saturday, Alaska is ready to prove again that he can rock the audience with his band – The Peacemakers.

Here is Alaska doing Feels Like on stage in Winnipeg:

 

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