Nigerian Music: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries

Photo By: Tom HamilAs with the fabulous smiting and magical eloquence that talking drums, ‘ilu', such as: bata, gangan, sere, sakara and gudu-gudu have accorded the Yoruba music industry, the Igbo's have equally enjoyed the overwhelming effect of Ekwe, Udu and Igba in the Igbo music scene.

Interestingly, the exhilarating sounds of those drums combined with the enchanting soulful voices of musicians have made Nigerian music what they were back in the days.

You dare listen to the evergreen highlife of Haruna Ishola and you'll appreciate the impelling power of music, or the immortal sounds of Yusuf Olatunji (Baba Legba) and you'll realize that music is life.

Other musicians such as Oliver de coque,(Ogene 1 of Africa), Tunde Nightingale, Ayinla Omowura and so on have shaped the Nigerian music world. For them, the essence of music is to convey a compelling message, entertain and teach; thus, their songs were composed with the combined powers of proverbial wisdom, wit and other weapons of inciting expressions.

"I'm just a musical prostitute my dear," as Freddie Mercury once put, equally expresses not only the innermost mind-set of many of us, but the affectionate relationship between our souls and the captivating power of music, but wait!

There's a missing link - a missing link between contemporary Nigerian music and the grand oldies of the 60's to the 70's. Where are those beautiful, elevating, inspiring, soul lifting, galvanizing, inflaming and scintillating voices of the 70's?

Where are our local and classical traditional orchestras? Oh No! Where are the great highlifes and the big bands that defined the Nigerian music industry in the early 70s? Where are those proverbial songs and sounds filled with gongs and lyrics and vibes and pipes with their words of wisdom (Oro Agba) that thrills us to forget our political problems and socio-economic inequalities?

Where are the true songs that gives us extra strength and sensational breathes even when we don't feel like it?

After the demise of musical icons like the Yusuf Olatunji's, the Ayinla Omowura's, the Oliver d' Coque's and their likes, most of whom have reigned from early seventies to the mid eighties, good music have (later) only come from very few sets of musicians, like the King Sunny Ade's, the Ebenezer Obey's, the Sikiru Ayinde Barrister's, the Fela Anikulapo Kuti's and few.

In contemporary Nigerian Music, one interesting thing is the continuous emergence of young talents from the Edo music scene to the Igbo's and the Yoruba's including the Hausa's who have never been known in history as music producers or fans as such.

To measure the socio-economic influence of music, go to Ajegunle and see the extraordinary people of success such as the daddy showkey's, the danfo driver's, Baba fryo and so on, guys who have grown from literally nothing to become icons in their own niches of the Nigerian music industry.

Today, our musical scene is filled with young brains from the hip-hop world to souls, Rand B, Gospel, Rap, Fuji, Juju, Apala, Afro beat, etc…talk about Fuji musicians like, Shanko Rashidi, Muri thunder,Osanle Iyabo, Alao Malaika, Saridon P, Atawewe, Ajibola Alabi Pasuma (importer and exporter Lomo) etc, and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Or talk about the world of Souls and R and B and you hear names like 2face Idibia, Banky W, or my two favourites, 9ice and Asa, the young lady with so much difference and a host of them.

Believe it or not, all things been equal, the Nigerian Music industry in three years would have contributed to socio-economic growth more than oil in terms of wealth distribution and effecitve engagement of youths. But one sad thing, the musical industry is loosing it.

It is losing those fundamental elements that gave it value at its onset, Nigerian songs are gradually lacking the power to inspire, as someone recently put ‘they are more of nuisance than inspiration which they're meant to be', contemporary songs in the Nigerian music world nowadays often lack rhythm, tone, symphony, good voice and soothing words.

In short, they are simply becoming an unbecoming. I have heard songs like, (Orii mi wu ooo, ela igi mo), meaning: my heads are swollen somebody spank me some dirty planks, including (kolomental, Oya start to dey craze), or (Oriie ofo ka si be, Otu ka sibe, Oyapa sibe) etc, these are songs that aim to entertain their listeners but without any moral message and not even good tones and orchestrated lines of symphony.

The germane issue here is that, westernization is a canker worm that has percolated down the reasoning faculty of our young artists and talented musicians, rendering them confused as to what side of the divide they belong or they ought to be.

The deception of modernisation has polluted their thoughts, carted away their sing-ability and left them with nothing but musical bankruptcy and lyrical deficiency. For me, it is simple, I'd simply stick to my numerous collection of the grand oldies, but what about our young innocent kids and the nuisance that the nonsense contemporary music are causing causing. Should we simply ignore and build a meaningless society all for the benefit of the social economic growth and impact of the musical industry or do something about it.

By starting to protest and speak against those emerging armchair MC's?

For me music is life and I will stick to my grand oldies. But we should never underestimate the future of the Nigerian music industry.

Ola Onikoyi Jr, ... olaonikoyijr@yahoo.com



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Re: The Nigerian Music Industry: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries
BiafranPrincess posted on 11-01-2009, 02:31:21 AM
I think music is a very subjective art. I love the oldies but there were also those who sang empty, souless songs back in the day. There are still deep musical talents in this generation who sing songs with lyrics that hit at the heartstrings and eloquently capture our joy, angst, frustration, helplessness....TuFace Dibia's 'Go down there' feat Sway is a work of poetic beauty to me, the likes of Asa, Nneka, the rapper ElDee'sMe I go Yarn and ofcouse Femi and Seun Kuti.... etc

Yes, there's a lot of western-influenced garbage passing for music being churned out but there's also sprinklings of socially conscious and artistically sound music coming out. What I like about the new generation is that they are able to make that elusive jump of actually converting their art to a solid means of livelihood. They understand the business of talkent and that my friend is very important. With a 'government' like ours, we need such artists of enterprise.
Re: The Nigerian Music Industry: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries
Nijalaw posted on 11-01-2009, 03:30:36 AM
As usual the fuddy duddies at it again; 'My generation is better than the next'.
Re: The Nigerian Music Industry: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries
Danmeka posted on 11-01-2009, 07:38:51 AM
Ola you are absolutely right.

I am tired of listening to our current artists trying to sound like Americans and having half baked accents. Songs and lyrics that make no sense and trust some narrow minded people buying and listening to nonsense.Asa stands out, the rest can learn from Wanlov De Kubolor who already creating headlines around the world. Rather than modifying his style to fit the mold of pre-existing genres, Wanlov created a space to share his music comfortably. The decision of non-conformity extends from the need for each person to realize and honor their uniqueness, which Wanlov does with great fervor. He hopes to inspire others to go the road less traveled; to create a personal evolutionary path for positive change.Tracks on his Green Card Album are Kokonsa, Smallest Time,My Skin,Never Die etc

Check and listen to this tracks on :www.guiasdecocina.com/videos/kubolor
Re: The Nigerian Music Industry: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries
Ikoyiesho1 posted on 11-01-2009, 08:43:05 AM
Naija law, You need to read again, No u didn't get the point.....
Re: The Nigerian Music Industry: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries
Netotse posted on 11-01-2009, 13:48:45 PM
the writer should put a sock in it jo, if he has a point to make he should make it using real facts, either he is not smart enough to understand what the song lagi mo means or he is too biased to consider that it might have a deeper meaning than the word give!

i'm not yoruba but i understand what the song says, for crissakes these old ppl need to grow up!
Re: The Nigerian Music Industry: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries
Doncontra posted on 11-10-2009, 06:47:19 AM
You have a great write up and most times i wonder what the present day musician sing about...but we have to know that music is subjective some gain inspiration from the beat while other gain from the lyrics e.g i see no sense in TerryG's songs but his got a nice beat which makes some guys love him. BTW pls remove this from the note "(Orii mi wu ooo, ela igi mo), meaning: my heads are swollen somebody spank me some dirty plank" u need to listen to the message behind the song which is simply saying 'GOD help us retrace our steps as pride is taking over us' its by Rooftop MC a xtian music group. Cheers
Re: The Nigerian Music Industry: Between The Oldies And The Contemporaries
Bill Carson posted on 11-10-2009, 19:07:54 PM
QUOTE:
I think music is a very subjective art. I love the oldies but there were also those who sang empty, souless songs back in the day. There are still deep musical talents in this generation who sing songs with lyrics that hit at the heartstrings and eloquently capture our joy, angst, frustration, helplessness....TuFace Dibia's 'Go down there' feat Sway is a work of poetic beauty to me, the likes of Asa, Nneka, the rapper ElDee'sMe I go Yarn and ofcouse Femi and Seun Kuti.... etc

Yes, there's a lot of western-influenced garbage passing for music being churned out but there's also sprinklings of socially conscious and artistically sound music coming out. What I like about the new generation is that they are able to make that elusive jump of actually converting their art to a solid means of livelihood. They understand the business of talkent and that my friend is very important. With a 'government' like ours, we need such artists of enterprise.
Biafran Princess,

Tuface is the real deal in Nigeria musicÂ…. I just wish the boy was educated. He is poetry in motion. DBanj and Co that latched onto his style are just poor imitation with good marketing skill.
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