Meet our man crush for this week, Morlai Bai Kamara Jr.
Morlai Bai Kamara Jr. is a Sierra Leone singer, songwriter, guitarist and performer who was born and raised in Bo Town, Sierra Leone where he spent his childhood. He moved to England to continue his studies at the age of 15, living in Bath and then Manchester where he wrote his first songs. In 1990, he moved to Brussels and decided to pursue a career in music rather than continue with his business studies.
Morlai Jr style of music – a mix of soul, blues and Afro-rock combined with powerful vocals that are sobering and intimate – runs deep into the African politics, self-reflection on politics, traveling and migration, exploring different angles of reality and adding an echo of Afrobeat/Highlife in some of the tracks. His style developed due to both his parents’ involvement in government jobs, he was exposed to the harsh realities of African politics at a young age.
His works have received recognitions both in his home country and around the world. One of his album which he released with his band -The Voodoo Sniffers – ‘Salone’ got nominated in the Best Acoustic Blues Album category at the Blues Blast Music Award ceremony to be held in September 2020. Recorded in collaboration with German label Moosicus/MIG Music and his international management agency Zig Zag World, Salone is dedicated to the his country of birth (Sierra Leone). Songs from the album also gained wide airplay in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA, and was also named the best album in February 2020 by the French-speaking Blues Radios Collective (CRB).
He has worked with Youssou N’Dour and the Refugee Voices, for a UNHCR project entitled Building Bridges, and released in 1998. . In 2007 Bai worked and toured with Vaya con Dios, where they covered one of his most well-known songs, Substitute. He also currently works with Nader Hamid, an electric guitar player and singer-songwriter originally from Iraq, and they are recording their second album together.