IJenNeh goes to Sisters, Oregon!


10/3/2017 12:33:00 PM
World music comes to Sisters
Lasana Kanneh performed at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. photo by Katy Yoder
+ click to enlarge
Lasana Kanneh performed at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.

photo by Katy Yoder

By Katy Yoder

Visiting musicians from around the world brought their cultures, instruments and diverse perspectives to Sisters last week.

On Saturday night, OneBeat, comprised of 25 musicians from 17 countries, played music to an appreciative crowd. The Belfry was their first live performance after arriving at Caldera a week ago. Artists from countries like South Africa, Russia, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Zimbabwe played on unfamiliar instruments and brought new musical styles to audience members. Instruments including a komuz, mbira and kobyz were combined with more familiar ones, creating a sound unique to the group.

From Harare, Zimbabwe, Munyaradzi Nyamarebvu summed up the reason for the tour: “I believe that music should unify people and impact positivity, peace and love in the society. Music should touch on critical societal issues and speak for the voiceless as well as reflect culture.”

Performers brought the audience to their feet as they clapped, danced and sang. It took folks awhile to get warmed up, but once they were they transformed the newly renovated Belfry with their joyful dance moves. Co-produced by Sisters Folk Festival Inc. and Caldera, OneBeat also spent time in the schools broadening the horizons of students both musically and culturally.

Focusing on overcoming adversity through faith, a special African gospel service was held Sunday at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Pastor Ron Gregg introduced Lasana Kanneh to the congregation and opened the door to an amazing story and inspirational man.

Lasana’s life began in Liberia. He was born blind, and was ostracized by his community and abandoned by his father, who considered him a burden to the family. Music was a source of joy for Lasana and later turned out to be his salvation.

Raised in a Muslim family, his eventual conversion to Christianity gave his father another reason to be angry with him.

“I wasn’t too upset about that, since my father had already abandoned me,” he recounted.

Lasana’s mother did all she could to help him survive. When he was old enough, she dropped him off at a school for the blind. But unlike the other children, at the end of the school term, his family never came to pick him up. Eventually, when the school closed permanently and they didn’t show, it was clear he was on his own.

Eventually, a kind man of faith came to his aid and offered him a place to go.

“I was forsaken by my own family,” he recounted, “but I was valued by my new family.” Until that time, to survive, Lasana sang for food on the war-ravaged streets of Monrovia with other blind men and women. In the midst of rebel fighting, at times there were bullets flying over their heads. He recounted many stories including being forced to beg for his life from an infamous warlord.

A message of hope filled his presentation. He reminded the congregation that even when life is cruel and troubles seem insurmountable, faith in Jesus will get you through. “Even when my father rejected me, God turned it around,” he said. “There is always hope and you must never forget that. Continue to follow your dreams!”

Lasana opened with the song, “There is Power in the Name of Jesus.” He was accompanied by his wife, who he met in Liberia and married in 2005. They live in Portland and have four adopted children from Liberia. He still has family in Liberia, and his mother is still living there. He has not been able to return for many years, because it is too dangerous.

He asked the congregation to pray for Liberia as they face the upcoming election of a new president. He is hoping for a free and fair election and that former combatants will not rise up again and bring chaos to the region.

His final words included his memories of music carrying people through the terror of war: “There was still music. It brought us joy and encouragement.”

The congregation’s last song was a traditional hymn sung in the Zulu language.


My God is Real – IJenNeh and the New Song Worship Band live in Portland, OR

Hi friends,

I hope you enjoy my new YouTube video of me singing “My God is Real” with Paul Greenidge and the New Song Worship Band at New Song Community Church in Portland, Oregon. Thanks for your support and prayers and let us give thanks and praise to our mighty GOD who is real and alive!

Tribute to my mother


I want to pay tribute to my mother in Liberia with a song I wrote for her. She is living in Voinjama, Liberia so the song is naturally in our native dialect -Mandingo. The translation is; thanking her for taking care of me as a child and that she will always be my mother. I end the song with a chorus of encouragement that Jesus loves her as I do. It is a simple acapella song that I hope she enjoys and will keep in her heart as a reminder of my gratitude.

I love you, mom!

Trust and Obey (with lyrics)

Hi friends,

I just love old hymns: the music, the lyrics and the feeling they give me when I sing them. I created this video with lyrics for all who missed my live version of Trust and Obey. This song ministers to my my soul and yet the message is so simple ~ Trust and Obey and then God does the rest. You may ask how can it be that simple? But you see, Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. All we need to do is put our faith in Jesus with childlike trust and He will take care of our concerns. Don’t take matters in your own hands; fretting, planning and complaining. Turn that issue over to Him right now and enjoy the simplicity of the message to trust and obey for there is no other way.

I was accompanied on the piano by our music pastor and friend: Paul Greenidge. Who blesses me every time I get to make music with me. Please forgive some rustling noise at the beginning of the video as this was recorded live during the offering at New Song Community Church in Portland, Oregon. My music is my gift and offering to God and all who would listen and hear the Word. I love you all and wish you blessings in the New Year.

IJenNeh ~ Lasana

Beautiful faces of 2014


I have met so many new friends with beautiful faces that I wanted to share a few with you. This is only a tiny reflection of the souls I have come across in 2014. I thought it would be special for you to see the Lord’s creation in the many beautiful faces.20140316_115926

Some of the beautiful faces have become very special to me. Beautiful faces have no age limit as the soul is what transports the face into spiritual beauty.


I am blessed to have experienced so much love and beauty in one human lifetime.  Continue reading Beautiful faces of 2014

Hidden Art discovered in Bay City, Oregon!

Recently, I was invited to sing at Bay City United Methodist Church. We were pleasantly surprised what we discovered there. Beautiful works of art! Almost every window at the quaint old church has original stained glass windows created by the lay people in the 1950’s.

Mountain stain glass window Bay City UMC
Mountain stain glass window Bay City UMC

I did alittle research online on the history of the church. It cost $1,566.75 to build, was completed and dedicated on June 25, 1893. It is the oldest building in Tillamook County in continuous service as a church.

Continue reading Hidden Art discovered in Bay City, Oregon!

3 Things An African learned about North Dakota


Three things I learned from my tour to North Dakota:

1. North Dakotians are efficient: One of the few times when I started a evening concert right on time. In fact, it was stated “we always start on time and our people know it”. The people came to the concert well in advance. Everywhere I went, from the car wash to the airport, people were efficient, neat and time conscious.

IJenNeh in North Dakota
IJenNeh in North Dakota

2. People can cook! The home cooked food rocked. I was bitterly disappointed when I had Continue reading 3 Things An African learned about North Dakota

IJenNeh needs your help to make the final three

Hi friends,

I made the top ten for the Fish 104.1 Star Fish and I need your help to make it the top three.

IJenNeh at a church in Wenatchee, WA
IJenNeh at a church in Wenatchee, WA

Star Fish Finals

Here is the how to vote rules from the Fish!

How to vote

We want voting to be as fair as can be, so we’re limiting voting to the members of The Fish Listener Club (to make sure all votes are coming from real people), and we will only allow each person to vote once.

If you’re not a member of The Fish Listener Club, don’t worry! Just sign up today, and within 24 hours of signing up, we’ll send you a link to the voting page. Make sure you have added to your safe senders list. Continue reading IJenNeh needs your help to make the final three