Prof. Jones Dopoe, the musical icon celebrated for timeless hits like “Sweet, Sweet Cassava Leaf,” has died at the age of 87.
His death comes just a month shy of his 88th birthday, leaving behind a legacy that transcends generations through the tapestry of music.
According to the Dopoe family statement, the musical luminary died peacefully at a medical center in Saclepea, Nimba County, after a prolonged period of illness. The family emphasized that the late Dopoe served as probably the last guardian of traditional folklore music, which was satirical but educative.
“Uncle Jones was more than a musician; he was a guardian of traditional folklore music,” the family stated. “His music will remain a bridge connecting generations, a timeless legacy that will continue to inspire and resonate with the soul of Liberia.”
“As a family, we are grateful for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. Prof. Dopoe’s influence extends beyond the boundaries of our family, reaching into the hearts of all those who have been touched by his music. His impact on Liberia’s cultural landscape is immeasurable, and his memory will endure through the tunes he gifted to the world,” the family added.
Dopoe’s repertoire includes hits such as “Sweet, Sweet Cassava Leaf,” a noteworthy satirical educational piece, “Mama, I want to go to School,” and “If You Marry,” among others.
While his songs were satirical, they addressed issues of social, political, and economic significance that any generation can relate to. His music was also a testament to the vibrancy and diversity of Liberia’s artistic expression, earning him respect and admiration among many.
Born in the quiet and small village of Duanpay Town, Zoe Geh Statutory District, Nimba County, Dopoe was the second of five boys and six girls, born to his father’s second wife. He held the distinguished title of being the last surviving son of his father’s second wife. His life journey began with humble roots, receiving his primary education at Bahn Elementary before embarking on his academic pursuits at Sanniquellie Central High, where he ultimately graduated.
Dopoe’s repertoire includes hits such as “Sweet, Sweet Cassava Leaf,” a noteworthy satirical educational piece, “Mama, I want to go to School,” and “If You Marry,” among others
His thirst for knowledge led him to the University of Liberia, where he earned a degree in English, demonstrating his commitment to both traditional culture and intellectual growth.
However, in 2019, illness befell the musical luminary, and despite years of valiant fight. Earlier this year, his family had appealed for help as his stroke condition deteriorated, but says the support never came as they relocated him to Saclepa in Nimba, where he died.
The late musician leaves to mourn more than 19 living children, including four born to a Ghanaian woman currently residing in Ghana, as well as numerous family members.
He was also an academic who taught at the University of Liberia, Cuttington University, and African Methodist Espicoal University.
“In honoring Prof. Jones Dopoe’s memory, let us celebrate the rich tapestry of Liberia’s traditional music that he wove throughout his illustrious life,” the family urged. “May his melodies continue to echo in our hearts, reminding us of the cultural heritage he so passionately embraced and shared with the world.”
For inquiries, the family can be reached through Edwin A. Dopoe, Sr., the family spokesman, and nephew of the deceased, at +231 770 205 014.