by Emmanuel Osanedum
Title: The Legend
Artiste: Onyeka Onwenu
It can be difficult to define the iconic Onyeka Onwenu these days. Is she an iconic pop singer – which is how she started off her music career – with the best voice Nigeria can present to the world, is she a Gospel singer, focused only on salvation and faith, or is she a political, er, juggernaut, alternating between contesting for the chairmanship of one of the Ide-ato Local Government Areas and dancing vigorously as she sings ‘Run, Jonathan, Run’, same way – many will say – that she did for Umaru Yar’Adua, Olusegun Obasanjo and Sani Abacha, before him?
This album does little to answer these contradictions. It is a gospel album – she tells you, but then there is the song for Abuja somewhere in between and a tribute to Maryam Babangida – the only blot on what is otherwise an excellent album; not because of its subject matter, but because it takes a brilliant song like ‘Let there be Peace’ and turns it into a dour repetitive irritation.
Otherwise, Onyeka’s latest album, aptly named The Legend, is a perfect presentation: the songs come from a place of professional and spiritual maturity. Through It All speaks softly, but powerfully to faith and salvation; Falling in Love is an Onyeka special, a fine mix of cultural and urban tunes that are essentially a love-song to God; and Nso Nso is an Igbo dance song that is Onyeka at her very best – like Ekwe before it. Between Cobhams Asuquo and ID Cabassa, they have delivered an album worthy of this musical legend.
The shame is that, due to a failure of marketing and publicity, not nearly half of those who should have this album even know about its existence. Y!