Blind reggae artist performing in Truckee, North Tahoe
If you go
What: The music of Lasana Kanneh
When: Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m.
Where: Kings Beach United Methodist, 8425 Dolly Varden Ave., Kings Beach
When: Sunday, June 28, 7 p.m.
Where: Church of the Mountains, 10079 Church St., Truckee
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Award-winning reggae singer Lasana Kanneh, a blind man with exceptional stories of life growing up in war-ravaged Liberia, will perform a pair of shows Sunday in Truckee and on the North Shore.
Kanneh began his singing career with Echoes of the Blind, a group that originated in Monrovia, Liberia. This group of blind men and women sang for food on the streets during Liberia’s civil unrest.
Kanneh says he remembers singing in the midst of rebel fighting, with bullets flying over their heads. At different points, he was even forced to sing for infamous war lords.
On his website, Kanneh recalls one story during a fierce period when a rebel soldier threatened his life solely for the reason that he was blind.
“I was sitting on the floor and he pointed the gun at my head and said, ‘No one cares about you and you have nowhere to go, so let me just kill you and then you don’t have to worry about where to go,’” he recalls. “I then got on my knees and started begging for my life, and that is when God intervened.
“A rebel commander came and ordered the soldier to stop and leave me alone. I have many similar stories of how God kept me alive during that brutal war.”
Kanneh then became part of Liberian Acappella, a group of 10 Liberian men that traveled out of Africa and toured 46 states in four years.
The goal of this group was raising funds for orphans left back in Africa, he said. One of the memorable times of this group was singing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for a crowd of more than 20,000 people.
Kanneh’s next group was the African Gospel Acappella, consisting of six blind men from the original two groups who toured the West Coast for four years.
Kanneh now has his own band, IJenNeh, and has been featured on NPR, VOA, and many other local and national stations, according to his website.
“Kanneh suffered much in his native homeland of Liberia. He was born blind and ostracized by his community for his disability,” according to his website. “He was eventually abandoned at the school for the blind in Monrovia. God intervened, and an evangelist took him home and preached the good news to him.
“He readily believed the Word of God and could not return to his home due to his conversion. He escaped war, persecution, poverty, abuse and personal failure to bring you these beautiful songs of faith, hope, and restoration.”
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