by Ore Fakorede
R&B artiste Ego Ogbaro gained popularity as a prominent member of masked Afro-jazz artiste Lagaja’s band. Referred to as ‘The Lagbaja Girl’, Ego was the lead female vocalist on such hits as ‘Konko Below’, ‘Anything For Me’, ‘Skentele’ and the chart-topping classic, ‘Never Far Away’. In 2007, Ego broke away from the Lagbaja ensemble to pursue a solo career, but she has since been unable to re-enact the success of her days as a band singer. Her first single, ‘Fall In Love’ did not get much airplay and the accompanying music video was below par. With successive releases, younger and arguably less experienced female artistes have eclipsed Ego and seemingly consigned her to the periphery of the mainstream.
Ego‘s most recent single, ‘I Believe’ is a well-orchestrated attempt to shrug off the ‘underachiever’ label that the talented artiste has been wearing for a while now. The song’s uplifting lyrics are conveyed in near-perfection by airy vocals laid over subtle instrumentals in which a piano, chimes and strings feature prominently. Although ‘I Believe’ lacks the rhythmic punch of TY Bello’s ‘The Future’ and the complex arrangements of Omolara Ayodele’s ‘Transformation’, it triumphs in its simplicity. Best described as a love song for Nigeria, this excellent single soars to atmospheric heights on the wings of Ego‘s untiring voice.
The Kemi Adetiba-directed music video of ‘I Believe’ is a short documentary which chronicles the Jos ethno-religious crisis of 2010 in which many lives were lost. Using quotes and pictures taken by two photographers – Godswill Ayemoba and Jenevieve Aken – who risked their lives to record the event, cinematographer Kemi Adetiba creates an emotive, graphically-intense six-minute clip that is sure to draw tears from many eyes. This video does for the Jos conflict what Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion Of The Christ’ movie did for the story of Jesus – giving pop culture relevance to what a lot of people regard as mere history.
With most shot in a village setting, the live action parts of the video are visually-striking and point at a dedication to realism. Other deft touches include the meaningful use of retro television sets, a harp, video interviews, and a crying African doll. Clad in an understatedly elegant dress, Ego plays the mild-mannered minstrel bringing a message of hope to the broken-hearted. The singer’s act is right at home in the clip which is devoid of that notorious discrepancy between audio and video that has ruined several otherwise impressive Nigerian music videos.
This poignant and socially relevant video might well be a watershed in Ego’s music career. Also, the video is undeniable proof that Miss Adetiba’s recent success with TY Bello’s ‘The Future’ music video was no fluke. A job very well done.
Watch The Video Here