by Bidemi Oderinlo
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 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.
That’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.
That 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:
1. “Deny you the opportunity to get an invitation to perform at the president’s daughter wedding
2. Or 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.
ü Totally 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.”
“Perhaps they 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.
#WhereIsConsciousMusic #BringBackOurSisters #WhereIsOurMoney #BringBackNigeria
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.