By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of Liberian singers are using their musical talents to help make change right here in Philadelphia. A new documentary is set to premiere that tells their stories of survival.

Zaye Tete, Marie T. Nyenabo, and Fatu Gayflor are three parts of the four-part Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change.

These ladies were superstars singers: Zaye was nicknamed the Queen of Liberian Folk songs, Fatu, the Golden Voice of Liberia, and Marie was a dancer who turned heads with her voice.

img 8814 Liberian Singers Help Affect Change In Philadelphia

Marie Nyenabo, Zaye Tate, and Fatu Gayflor. (credit: Cherri Gregg)


“I started singing, dancing, and the war came and met me there and I fled to the Ivory Coast,” said Zaye.

Each of these women overcame war and displacement with resilience.

“About five years ago we started a program,” said Selina Morales, Director of the Philadelphia Folklore Project.

The group helped produce the film “Because of the War,” which tells the incredible stories of Zaye, Marie, Fatu, and Tokay Tomah. In Philadelphia they are factory, healthcare, and office workers but, back home, their music helped bring peace.

“Musicians were very, very powerful in Liberia to disarm the soldiers,” Marie said.

Music and dance helped build dialogue between warring factions in Liberia. Now, they’re using music to bring change to thousands of Liberian women in Philadelphia.

They’ve teamed up with women against abuse to empower women to break the binds of culture.

“To speak to women who are in trouble, who are in a home who is not safe, to save their marriages, their family, and to save themselves,” said Fatu.

More information on the documentary “Because of the War,” can be found on the Philadelphia Folklore Project website.

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