The most popular message you hear in music is about romantic love. The old folks used to call them “love songs”. Even though the very perpetuation of the race may rely on sentiments like romantic love, it is the moral duty of the cultural musician to create music that inspires us beyond love making. The cultural artist must feed our spirits.
T. Kpan Nimley, one of Liberia’s famous cultural musicians, did his part and left music we cherish today. His 1990s recording, “Eat Some, Keep Some” needs to resonate through all layers and all sectors of our present-day Liberia.
We are encumbered with a pervasive greed ethic fueled by western consumerism. All the false rhetoric we hear daily about “sharing the wealth”, “grass roots empowerment”, and “working for the people” is just that – rhetoric and as such totally contradicts our cultural tradition of “Eat Some, Leave Some”. From the extractive industries exploiting our natural resources to politicians’ use of development funds, you see an ethic more like “Eat All, Leave None”!
The logging companies show no sincere desire to “Leave Some” of our precious forests. And this tremendous forest depletion coupled with population growth makes it impossible for farmers to “Leave Some” land to fallow bush for ten years as tradition dictates.
Even our families’ health can benefit from the tradition of “Eat Some, Keep Some”. How many women have given thanks and fed hungry families when they went to the old farm and found the eddoes or potatoes they hoped were still hidden there? And many old-generation elders still literally “Eat Some [and] Keep Some” at each meal. The special remembrance dish is filled along with everyone else’s and set aside in thanksgiving.
Thanks to T. Kpan Nimley for feeding our spirits and reminding us to “Eat Some, Keep Some”.