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I AM RISING UP AND STANDING TALL
Owuro Lojo Eni Ma Rire oo!
Saturday, May 3, 2014
THE DEARTH OF CONSCIOUS MUSIC AND THE BUSINESS OF BEATS AND POLITICAL PATRONAGE IN NIGERIA
I was a guest on
a life radio programme with Cynthia
Aseogwu, president Visionary Impact Netwox to talk about “Visonaries Hub
Hangout” an initiative that was designed bring young minds that are interested in
rebuilding Nigeria together to discuss and chart a way out. I bared it all because it was my first time on radio, and an opportunity to shell
out things that I've thought up in my head with the world around
me, maybe it will get somewhere and inspire someone to change something in the
direction of our common goal of a better, safer, more responsive, caring and
people driven Nigeria. I decried the comatose and dearth of conscious music in
Nigeria and without fear or favour took a swipe at Nigerian musicians for contributing
to the decay in the country. I mentioned names, especially those that portray themselves as “Abami Eda” incarnates. The host and my
dear Cynthia were caught off-guard by the direction I took on music and musicians,
and she eventually struck a balance that I quite agree with because I know that
music is an essential food for the soul. My stand is still the same though, and will
only change when our musicians end their hypocrisy and sing the truth.
Music in Nigeria
as gradually moved from being a tool for change and pleasure to an antidote for
frustration. An average Nigeria youth is now autistic in nature and our only
way out of our new reality is constantly plugging our head into the uninspiring,
contentless/comatose music that rent the airwaves. Instead of joining our strength
to find a solution to our problems, and perhaps get into action on a way out,
our search for Caro has distracted us so much that we don’t even remember that
the Chibok girls are still missing. The best we do is retweet when @enyola,
@toluogunlesi or @omojuwa tweets it and that’s the end. We are so lost in the
crowd we created with mindless music that it will require a full “Search and
Rescue” operation with experts from Israel to find us and bring us out of our delusional
pot-pourri. Instead of working hard and risking it all, we are all searching for
the easy way out and that sounds like music to me. Now we are all musicians,
and we are either dancing “shoki” or “skelewu” in shame, working and sweating
away in the clubs, hoping to drown our frustration with the sound of music with
no lyrics worth remembering in it, while we hope the clueless GEJ will save the
day. We’ve gone beyond redemption and we need to be re-injected back to reality
by less beats and more words that will help our heart pump with the truth and
stand for change again like our heroes past.
Less on the
listeners and “wannabe’s” and more on our musicians, the supposed evangelists
of our time. Even in the remotest part of the uncivilized civilization of Jigawa
State in the North East of Nigeria, in an hamlet called Fandum, the first song
I heard oozing from a radio in 2010 on my first visit was the song of our
favourite duo P-Square. The first outdoor music experience I had in Frankfurt in 2011 was the song of Fela and I almost
broke into a dance without music when I walked into another store in Berlin in the
same year and I saw Fela, Femi and Seun Anikulapo-Kuti’s CDs on the stand in a mall
very close to the Reichstag.
üThat’s the strength of music, beyond entertaining,
it breaks the defense of those who know and conquer the naivety of those who
don’t, forcing them to find its meaning and learn from it while they enjoy it.
üThat is strength of music; it covers millions of
miles with not just the melody, but the message in it.
I so wish that
the music we have today carry’s a message at least, even if it’s not the
message of hope.
There is almost nothing
to learn from Nigerian music today beyond the dance steps, no musician or
artist is singing with wisdom and value, it is just and all about the money,
booty and designers and nothing about value. I stand to be corrected on this,
maybe with the name of one artist with a clear message of value, change or
hope. The last prophet we had was Dagrin, he was the last artist to question the government and demand “Where is Mr. Yar Adua?”
in a song. (“God bless his soul”). Nigerian
artists only hang on the scent of Afrobeat, claiming discipleship of the great
change maestro Fela, dressing like him and riding on the waves of his fame but
not representing what he stood for a fraction of a second. The odour of their
charade is devoid of the value “Abami Eda” represents, and the
expertise with which they alienate value from this new Fela identity chokes me, and amazes
even Baba in his grave.
You see them,
they throng to the shrine during Felabration, sweating backstage in the holy
smoke of the grey sativa for hours, just to be in the spotlight but hey, that’s
all they do, entertain to keep their share of the fans uninspired but preserve.
234 girls are missing but no Nigerian artist raised a word about it even on
social media, not until the likes of Tinie Tempa a UK based artist of Nigerian
descent, Mary J. Blige living in faraway America and other black musicians from
outside Nigeria took to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that a Wizkid manage
to put up a picture on Instagram. Don Jazzy perhaps is still caught up in the
euphoria of Tiwa’s wedding or #dorobucci that he only managed to put something up
on 30th of April, 2weeks after the abduction and it took him less
than 10mins to get in a twitter war with Wande Coal over that “Babyface” song. I
bet most of them must have already eaten bananas by now, famzing the heroics of
Dani Alves against racism, but not a word against that which destroys their
motherland. Even the female artists are as quiet which is quite unbelievable!
God forbid if an artist is injured or lost in a bh attack, I’m sure the
airwaves will be filled with the stinking voice of this bigots called
musicians, calling for an end to bh or the head of GEJ, but since it’s still just
fans that gets burnt alive or gifted to terrorist as brides, the sleeping dogs
can lie. No artist should come up with the stupid excuse of doing something underground,
I understand the business, talking or mentioning names will:
ü“Deny you the opportunity to get an invitation
to perform at the president’s daughter wedding
üOr getting that endorsement with political
undertone or other events that pays more than show promoters pay when they
organize events for the ordinary people to attend.
üTotally deny you the chance to be a party
ambassador or flag bearer for coming political rallies like D’Banj of yesteryears. That will bring you lots of money so we understand your silence.”
are afraid of arrest or death. BULLSHIT Abeg!" Our musicians are not a minute better than the politicians
that plunder our resources and they should be stoned at sight sometimes soon. I
will however praise the heroics of some of our comedians like BaskeMouth,
IGoDye, Bovi et.al, although it sounds funny when they say it, they say the truth
and put a name to it. They may not be richer than
the musicians, they are not broke or in value dearth like the "beast of no
nations" that hang on the thread of Fela. Please tell them not to show me poems and idioms they wrote in wisdom, tell them to mention names and say the truth in a song, the truth tastes better when it’s
put in a song, even if it’s a love song.
I eagerly await
the return of conscious music; maybe it will return some sanity to our land...
God Bless the Soul of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Sunny
Okosun, Gbenga Adeboye, Dagrin and other real Nigerian Heroes past and living
in the entertainment industry... and to
all you living only to collect our money without standing up to decry
corruption and still sing "Fela oo!"
or "Fela na my mentor...
", may your careers be thrown from the 3rd floor (a floor higher) like
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti by unknown soldiers, never to rise again as you are
forgotten even while alive... God punish loosers.