The Man Who Created Demand for Liberian Music

first_imgLegendary Morris Dorley.-The story of legendary singer Morris DorleyBack in the early 1960s, Liberian Broadcasting Corporation and top hangout spots like the Ducor Hotel ballroom primarily kept their fans entertained with foreign music, creating a situation that made Liberian music unfamiliar and unpopular.This forced bands like ‘Melody 8 Dance Band’ of J. Richard Snetter’s to focus on performing foreign hit songs back then. However, this limited their ability to record their own songs. But things changed when Morris Dorley came to the limelight with the song “Grand Gedeh Oh! Oh!”The song became an instant hit, virtually a  national anthem, and was performed during the 1969 birthday celebration of President Tubman. Producing his own song, Dorley became the first Liberian artist to have performed at a presidential event.FameA native of Bomi County and a Gola by tribe, Dorley fought against all odds and became the first Liberian musician to break away from the influence of American songs and record ‘Afro-Liberian’ music.Veteran music producer Charles Snetter, who was a longtime close friend of Morris Dorley, described him as the “forgotten father of Liberia’s music industry.” Both friends started to know each other in Caldwell, a township in the outskirt of Monrovia.Charles Snetter added that if it were not because of Morris Dorley’s bravery to break away from foreign music, there could have been no huge demand for Liberian music like it is done nowadays.“Although Dorley may have been forgotten, he led the movement that made Liberia music loved by its own people. He laid the foundation for others to follow. Indeed Dorley inspired a lot of musicians who came after him, whether female or male. His music was soulful and touching. Lyrics on point. And he was a musical genius and good performer who always thrilled his audience. He was a regular person who lived a simple life,” Mr. Snetter said.Zack Robert of the defunct 1980 hit group Zack and Geebah, said: “Dorley was the precursor for many of us and even today’s generational Liberian artists.“He laid the foundation of which we came and benefit from. He was more than a talented guy. He was a musical genius. He was a person who knew good music and what is soulful to the ear,” Zack said.Born in 1946, according to oral history, Morris Dorley discovered his musical talent when he started to learn how to play a traditional guitar. After moving to Caldwell, he began pursuing his musical career. The talented singer released a little over six LP compilations, which include the hit singles “Who Are You Baby”, “Osia” and “Voinjama,”—two bangers that rock every corner of the country and cemented his status as a godfather of Liberian music.However, this was not Dorley stopping point. The legendary singer when on to gain international recognition in the West Africa sub-region when he performed the song “Who Are You Baby,” at FESTAC 77 and won an award for it.According to music pundits, the sub-region got to start liking Liberian music after Dorley performed his Who Are You Baby song. Pundits added it opened the ears of citizens of the sub-region to new songs and a style of music that was hard to resist.“Upon introduction, he could immediately form a coherent mental image from which he would spontaneously compose a song to accurately describe that person. This instantaneous song composition was his unique talent,” veteran radio personality George Kiadii Kiadii said of Morris Dorley.“Frankly speaking, Dorley was truly talented and gifted, with that enchanting music voice that was pleasant to the earth. At FESTAC 77, he overshadowed all the big African artists who attended the event with his performance. That clearly showed how talented he was,” Mr. Snetter said. “It was through him that Liberian music became exported to the sub-region and the rest of the world.”Career missesUnfortunately, despite the fame and international recognition, Dorley was not able to capitalize on it to have a successful monetized music career. Although he made some money from his work, Dorley suffered a lot from serious financial circumstances since he was usually exploited.Mr. Snetter explained that Dorley’s financial struggles came about as a result of not willing to have a management team or manager to negotiate fair and favorable contracts on his behalf.“His financial woes led him to become an alcoholic and later on a street singer. He never trusted anybody to manage him but rather drop in the boxes, which has to do with pocket change. Worst of all, he sold his intellectual property rights just for anything, so he found it difficult after retiring from music to make money. Since he was not educated and never wanted a manager, producers exploited him a lot by paying him to make music for them.According to a post from blogger Mulubah quoting acclaimed music producer Toniah Williams, she explained that Dorley never trusted or accepted management.“He was not formally educated, so he did not understand the proper role of a manager, which is to negotiate a better contract for the artist and for promotional purposes. Instead, counter-intuitively, Dorley would demand payment before appearing on a radio station for a live interview, even when the free publicity would have undoubtedly been beneficial to his career.“Understandably, many radio personalities refused to acquiesce to these demands, to the ultimate detriment of Dorley’s career. For purely personal reasons, Dorley chose not to retain a manager,”  blogger Berenice Mulubah quotes Mr. William in a social media.Despite Dorley’s numerous mistake, on some occasions, his musical colleagues and friends would step in to make sure he received his fair share. The legendary Dorley died of alcoholism.“The sad thing is Dorley died poor. Not just poor but as an alcoholic,” Mr. Snetter said.Although Morris Dorley died poor, there is hope:his family can still claim the intellectual property of his music; thus helping them to make money from his work.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Can’t outrace the GPS

first_img StarChase is installing units for free as part of the trial, but Sawyer would not say how many cars will be outfitted initially. StarChase officials would not say how much the units cost. The units will be thoroughly tested on training courses before being used in the field, LAPD Sgt. Dan Gomez said. “We look at the potential of the system as being extremely advantageous,” he said. “We look at all of the technological advances in the department and the community, and we look at this as a natural extension of that.” The GPS device is one of three technological advances Bratton announced for the department Thursday. The others are a newer, smaller Taser gun and a new crime analysis center. Now, LAPD officers use the Taser M-26, a large, bulky gun designed to send an electric shock to disable suspects without causing permanent or life-threatening injuries. The newer Taser model, the X-26, is significantly smaller, allowing officers to wear it on their belts at all times. “The larger models tend to be left in the car unless an officer thinks he’s going to need it,” said Capt. Greg Myer of the LAPD’s training division. “Agencies that use the smaller Taser have had dramatic reductions in injuries to suspects and officers and in the number of officer-involved shootings.” Fifty officers in four divisions will begin field-testing the X-26s this month, Myer said. The real-time crime analysis center, which began operating below City Hall East in early January, allows for greater communication and analysis between divisions and makes it easier for detectives to tap into federal resources and databases, Bratton said. “The way the department is set up, we have 19 divisions, and it’s almost like we have 19 autonomous police departments,” said Capt. Blake Chow, commanding officer of the crime analysis center. “They didn’t have the ability to look beyond their area in real time.” Now, analysts in the center monitor crime throughout the city, looking for trends and connections and mining information from federal databases to help local detectives. Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Then other officers can track the car from headquarters. Once the car stops, officers can close in on the location and track down the suspect. “When they’re out of the car, it’s a lot easier and a lot safer to get them,” Bratton said. The units, made by Virginia-based StarChase, can fire two GPS tracking devices, in case the first one misses or does not stick to the car. Like a gadget many motorists use to unlock cars, the trigger to fire the tracking device can be carried on a key chain. If a suspect pulls away at a traffic stop, an officer can immediately attach the GPS unit. “High-speed police chases are one of the most dangerous activities police officers get involved in,” said P. Sean Sawyer, president and chief executive officer of StarChase. “The StarChase system is designed to mitigate the risk.” The LAPD will be StarChase’s first beta-tester, so officials don’t know just how well the device will work. All tests so far have been performed on stationary vehicles, Sawyer said, so it’s unclear if the GPS device will stick to a moving car. Sawyer doesn’t know if it could be easily removed if the driver intentionally sideswipes another car. The Los Angeles Police Department will become the first law enforcement agency in the country to outfit cruisers with a device that can propel a Global Positioning System unit onto a fleeing car, allowing officers to track the vehicle without a dangerous pursuit, officials announced Thursday. As part of a pilot program, the department will install the devices in the grill of some squad cars in the fall, Chief William Bratton said. “In the car-chase capital of the world, this device is a very appropriate device,” Bratton said. “It reduces the need for officers to have an active pursuit.” The concept is simple. Instead of engaging in a high-speed chase, dangerous for both the police and the public, an officer can fire a GPS tracking device onto a car. last_img read more