A while back I lost my most prized music collection — a collection that had been in my possession for many, many years. The loss was painful, and so I went online searching for replacements. Ever since my adolescent years in Lagos and Jos, where I first picked up elementary Igbo, I have always taken pleasure in the music of the Oriental Brothers, Onyeka Onwenu, Oliver de Coque, Christy Essien Igbokwe, Osita Osadebe and a host of Igbo musicians.
I prided myself in owning a sizeable number of the most important music in the Igbo language, especially those recorded between 1979 and 1988. I was a connoisseur of some sort, an aficionado. When it comes to music and movies, the language and the genre is irrelevant so long as it is a beautiful and moving piece of work. There was something about Igbo language, there still is; and there was something special about the Nigerian music of yesteryears.
If you’ve been listening and dancing to western and Latin-American music for most of the year, and suddenly, you hear the African music, gosh, it moves your soul; it touches the core of your humanity. Whenever I return to African music after several months’ absence, the feeling I get is akin to taking in the scent and touch of a female lover. Have you ever listened to birds perched on the Iroko tree? Revelations and epiphanies come to me mostly in such moments when I am lost in trance, listening to familiar voices.
Oftentimes, I wonder what happened to people like Jide Obi, Felix Liberty, Tony Allen, and Bobby Benson and the chaps from Saint Gregory’s College, Ofege. While online, I discovered a few other gems: Seyi Sodimu, Daddy Showkey, Chinyere Udoma, Back 2 Base, Rita Edochie and Agatha Moses. A few weeks ago, it came to my attention that artists like Sodimu and Showkey have been around for a while. Oh, poor me, I am a decade late!
And then just this weekend, out of curiosity, I went online again only to find a fabulous collection of Nigerian comedians, including Okey Bakassi, Mike Ogbolosinger, Sound Sultan, Sheddy Baba, Klint, and Basket Mouth, I Go Die, Gandoki, Malic, Omobaba, Ali Baba, Basorge, I Go Save and many others. I laughed and laughed and laughed so much am now almost paralyzed from laughing.
My stomach and my head and my lungs all ached from laughing. I have seen some of the best comedians the
Mike Ogbolosinger has a great stage presence, has great comedic material and seems really comfortable with himself and his material. He is a natural in every which way. Okey Bakassi is the master story-teller; expressive, patient with his delivery and timing and is also very agile on stage. The fellow tells some very wonderful stories laced with rib-busters. His “who took my wallet…1978” and “armed robbery” jokes are timeless.
And then there is Basket Mouth with his corn-hair, wide eyes, and innocent-looking stage demeanor. Did you hear his “chop puff-puff chop puff-puff” joke? Woah, this fella is good! He has a way with his material and is very unpredictable, too. He leads you on, caresses you, teases you and then suddenly…bang…he drops the bomb on your ribs.
But if you think you’ve seen the best of the best, well, wait until you see and listen to a “mad-man” called I Go Die. Ha, this dude is a riot. He is a one-man arsonist, a one-man fire fighter. He is crazy; but crazy in a very good way. He is raw, vulgar, sharp, acidic and engaging. A master story teller and a fine fabulist. He’s got this Warri-line going for him. And has a way with the crowd. You should hear his “breast-sucking” joke.
Do not pirate or illegally copy their works. Please go online or go to the store near you to buy their works. They are well worth it. And if you have the time and are in the mood to listen to some old but cool music, then I’d suggest you click on these links for some simple pleasure (but I also enthusiastically recommend you buy their works). You won’t regret it. If you already have them, well then, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and continue to do. Simple pleasures they all are.