Sikul Sel Song – by pupils from a Sierra Leone school

SIKUL SEL by Sam Macauley

In 2017, Dr Maria Berghs, a colleague of Professor Simon Dyson at De Montfort University, went to Sierra Leone in 2017 and got their ‘Guide to School Policy‘ adapted to the local context. (The guide is also available in many other languages).

Whilst there someone took the guide, wrote a sickle cell song about it in KRIO (Creole), and the people involved have now all agreed to share this wonderful music through a Creative Commons License.

The lyrics and song

Here are the lyrics to SIKUL SEL by Sam Macauley so you can join in!

Sikul sel na blod siknes
We Mamie en Dadi kingina bele
No fred se yu go get am,
Bot epam fo liv in yon layf

And most importantly, you can click here to hear the fabulous song.

Or click on this link to download the .WMA file. SIKUL SEL Song Sierra Leone

The star performers!

The performance involved the following people:

The Sierra Leone Sickle Cell Disease Society – Amelia Eva Gabba and Annie Sesay. The wonderful singing was provided by the Methodist Girls High School, Freetown, with Edwina Kamara (teacher) and pupils Fatmata Kargbo, Haja Fatmata Sesay, Vicresa Momoh, Fanta Kabba, Lina Kanu,Tushiatu Bangura, Jessica Johnson, Francess Kamara, Naizmiyeh Turay, Fatmata Mansaray and Tenneh Samura.
We thank everyone involved for their wonderful musical creation.

Marvellette founder dies

The death of Marvellette reminds us of an earlier sickle cell disease death. Today, 28th January, the BBC News Service announced the death of Gladys Horton, founder and lead singer of the 1960’s all-female Mowtown band, The Marvellettes on 26th January at the age of 66. The Marvelletes are best remembered for their 1961 number one hit “Please Mister Postman”, later covered by both The Carpenters and The Beatles.

“Please Mr. Postman”

The Marvelettes in a 1964 promotional photo: (clockwise from left) Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman and Wanda Young.

Marvellettes photograph – Tomasupten,

(Source: Tomasupten,

What is less well known is that one of the backing singers and founding members of the group was Georgeanna Tillman, who married Billy Winter of male Mowtown band The Contours in 1963. Georgeanna is reported to have had both sickle cell anaemia and lupus. Complications of her illnesses are reported to have been behind her stopping touring in 1965 and subsequently leaving the group for good. She is variously reported to have died from complications of her sickle cell anaemia/lupus on January 6th 1980, aged only 36.