Nicholas Ballanta

BALLANTA, Nicholas George Julius.  b. Kissy, Sierra Leone, 14 March 1893; d. Sierra Leone(?), 1961(?).  Ballanta was an ethnomusicologist, hymnist, and composer, known especially for his collection, Saint Helena Island Spirituals (1925),  which included the first musical setting of ‘Let us break bread together on our knees’*.  At the time of Ballanta’s birth, Sierra Leone was a British colony, and independence from Great Britain was not won until 1961 — the year that Ballanta is thought to have died.  Lucien White, after becoming acquainted with Ballanta, wrote that ‘Under English protection, his family has for generations enjoyed the privilege of education…and he numbers among his...

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