It makes for history when a reverend father appears in bowler hat and offers revolutionary music that rivals Bob Marley’s offerings for class. Reverend Father Emmanuel C. Umezinwa, aka Fada Omega, is indeed a class act. A Professor of Music at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Father Umezinwa wowed the audience with his accomplished performance in the forecourt of Testimony Place, near Arroma Junction, Awka in the evening of Sunday, December 5.
“A Cry for Nigeria” was the first number dished out by Fada Omega. In his brief introduction of the song, Father Omega narrated that he was inspired initially by the riffs of Bruce Springsteen. Even as reggae is the underlying beat of his music, Fada Omega is quite eclectic.
The ace music prelate followed up with “Undertakers”, a no-holds-barred rendition of the state of a nation being buried in installments by the leaders.
Fada Omega upped his ante with the pulsating number “Stop Fooling Yourself” that got the audience singing along with gusto.
His rendering of the fourth number, “Revolution”, laid bare the revolutionary ethos of the priest who would not sit idly by while the underclass suffered.
There was a short interlude of a conversation between Father Umezinwa and the Managing Director of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC) Sir Chuka Nnabuife.
Sir Nnabuife started out wanting to know whether Father Umezinwa preferred Fada Omega or Fada Emma as his stage name. Fada Omega took the prize.
The personable reverend father revealed that he was not restricted to reggae or country music but could put to application a wide range of musical genres.
Fada Omega is not one to fall for easy labels, but insists that music helps to foster change in society, arguing that “Jesus Christ was a revolutionary.”
He informed the audience that back in 2005 he went for voice training in a studio in the United States only for the studio manager to wonder at the Nigerian being able to sing excellently through all the ranges.
Fada Omega is a natural baritone who does not believe in the existence of falsetto or false voice in the music get-go.
He had been composing and playing music for the past 30 years or so, and in 2003 recorded highlife tunes for his age grade in his native Akpo town in Aguata LGA of Anambra State.
He had over the years been producing classical music on radio. He hardly uses notes when composing the songs. He is quite open to his music being recorded for keeps.
The Fada Omega concert was engineered remarkably by a First Class student of his in the Music Department, Gerald Eze, a winner of the coveted Christopher Kolade music award and the singular exponent of the Igbo musical instruments Oja and Ubo-aka. Gerald Eze talked of his intent to immortalize the musical genius of Fada Omega.
The generous hosts, Dr. Patrick and Barrister (Mrs.) Amaka Ezeno, offered to keep to the testimony of hosting the performances as ever. A sage like Fada Omega would always find a home here, Mrs. Amaka Ezeno asserted.
In a lighter mood, Igwe Chidi Onuigbo said he was very afraid that Fada Omega without the restraining clothing of the soutane could go on a rampage!
For Hon. Ikem Uzoezie, a former member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, “Fada Omega’s music is timeless and will go a long way in assisting the social revival needed in Nigeria.”
Rev. Father Chika Okpalike of the Ekwulobia Diocese marveled at the abiding relevance of Fada Omega’s songs having been composed three or two decades earlier.
The evening’s performance was rounded up with the number “We Shall Overcome”. It was music that throbbed with the hope inspirited on mankind by Nelson Mandela.
Fada Omega represents a phenomenon whose time has come. Given the great influence of prelates on the people, Fada Omega carries remarkable charisma into the turf of changing the society for the better. He stands up for his beliefs, daring all dictators and the conservative types. He has built up a good following, and it aids the progress of the society that he is working with the Department of Theatre Arts of Nnamdi Azikiwe University for the release of his musical videos. A professional to the core, Fada Omega is intent on going to the last detail to see that everything is done well.
It was indeed an evening to cherish, complete with a two-man theatrical performance.
Necessary lessons were learnt from all Fada Omega’s songs, notably “A Cry for Nigeria”, “Undertakers”, “Stop Fooling Yourself”, “Revolution” and “We Shall Overcome.”
Fada Omega is a voice destined to rule the waves. Nobody who encounters him in song is ever bound to forget him in a hurry. He makes sound and meaning with an assurance that uplifts the soul. In this day and age of meaningless songs by ill-assorted youths calling themselves musicians, Fada Omega is the way to go.