The Storyteller

Mr. Reward Enakerakpor: The Storyteller That Belongs To Life…

In the yore years of our forefathers’ existence, the unblinking stare and the smiles of the moon had an enchanting appeal on our people. The full moon drew them to the village squares where they encircled that one whose voice regaled them with stories. He was the Storyteller; the custodian of the ancient wisdom encapsulated in folklores, proverbs, poetic chants and all. Each story captivated the hearers who imbibed enduring life lessons from the moral of the stories told by the Storyteller. Children’s growing consciences received instructions, and the accounts of the heroic exploits of the village’s warriors steeled the hearts of the feeble-minded. Kings and nobles listened to the tales of the Storyteller, and the peasants and the common people revered him for his oratory. He could not hide under the cover of obscurity because his artistry made him sit before no mean men! Though the world truly has changed with urbanization and technology, there is one who has chosen to preserve the tradition of the sages.

The Storyteller, a performance poet based in Abuja is on a mission to unzip the sealed lips of storytellers across Nigeria and he has made great and enviable strides. He thinks deep and muses like philosophers of old whose ideas shaped the thinking and mindsets of generations born long after they had passed on to the land of oblivion Over the years, he has regaled audiences with his enchanting voice that tells stories; funny, whimsical, romantic, reflective, philosophical, to the deeply spiritual or worship. He is a man of words loaded with anecdotes.

Born Emuesiriverere Akpe Enakerakpor, in the garden city of Port Harcourt, this young man’s artistic genius was sculpted and shaped during the lonely moments he spent with the Muse at the parents’ apartment at the University of Port Harcourt. Influenced by the likes of Sade Adu, Tracy Chapman, Phil Collins, Harry Belafonte among others. His voice transmits his philosophies about life through narrative poetry and songs, a ‘man of words’, a writer, poet, singer, actor and compeer of great repute. All these creative expressions of this great artist have certified him as the Storyteller of our modern age!

The Storyteller, with the same enchanting and baritone voice became a poet laureate when he won the poetry grand slam of the Abuja Literary Society at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel before an ecstatic crowd. Though, his soul thrives in utter quietness so he can hear and replicate the voice of the storyteller within, one of the times he broke his vow of silence was when he wrote and self-published the first volume of his free verse poem titled, “Letters from The Monastery” in 2005. Since then, his voice has told countless stories to audiences within and outside Abuja. He has performed at various corporate events hosted by international bodies, and has been host at various shows on TV and Radio stations.

Not content with the reach of his poems and stories, he engaged a reputable producer to produce a double album; “Déjà vu” and “E Go Be!” – a collection of some of his award winning songs and poems and some fresh ones. And on the evening of Sunday, the 2nd of November 2008, an anxious crowd gathered at the ambient showroom of Haier Thermocool at Ceddi Plaza (Abuja‘s foremost entertainment centre) to herald the pubic launch of Storyteller’s double album. “Déjà vu” is a collection of 20 avant garde poems that resonate with life and lull the heart of the listener to a state of tranquil rest. While “E Go Be!” contains 13 poetic songs with an upbeat and contemporary feel like the hit singles, ‘e go be!” , foolishman and ‘gba fun mi” that make the heart and feet shuffle and waltz.

It was a memorable evening of music and dance, of laughter and mirth, of sobriety and gravity, of colourful lights that blended with the loveliness of the guests. The comedian, MC Amana opened the event with a bout of jokes before the compeers’, Ahide and Cool Fm presenter, Doshima took over and anchored the entire event. Following the Nigerian national anthem, Earnest Ben, a poet set the tempo with his poetically-crafted rhymes. Other Abuja-based poets like Temple, The Prince and Ekene Atusuba and Captain George rendered poems that caused a stir and evoked thunderous applause from the appreciative crowd. Comedian, the Governor and Funny Bone made the ribs heave and crackle with their funny jokes, and a dance duo did a salsa rendition of “Gbafunmi”.
Some really talented singers were on hand to add glamour to the evening. The young hip hop act called Victoriouz gave a good account of his talents and other highly gifted singers like Ben ameen ,Ibiyemi, and Sale Adum, and the banker-singer, Lawrence Obor enthused the guests with songs that touched the heart. Guitarists Bem Sar, Hon and Harrison teased our ears with the refined notes and chords that reverberated from their deftly-strummed acoustic guitars and the hugely talented artiste Sheun performed on the track “Ego go be”. It was not only music that made the evening special as Eugenia Abu, one of Nigeria’s best female newscasters added the ‘big sister’ props to the album launch by reading portions from her award-winning book, ‘In The Blink of An Eye” to the delight of the guests.

The Storyteller was the cynosure of eyes as he upped his performance and took his creative energy to a hilly height beyond the reach of mediocrity during his performances. Backed up by the female singer, Icha, he performed the afro beat-styled song, ‘Foolish Man’ and later did ‘For Love, For Lilian”. In his second appearance he performed rock-based song ‘In Your Head, In Your Bed” with the sonorous crooner, Sallie. The special guest of the night, foremost female Jazz singer, Yinka Davies did a duet with the Storyteller, “I No Go Love Again”. She’d request a special duet with Sallie that elicited a rousing applause from the crowd. The events of the evening reached a crescendo when the ‘corporate comedian’ Governor climbed the stage to anchor the formal presentation of the double album. A lucky guest was ecstatic when she won a home theatre courtesy of Haier Thermocool office in Abuja through a lucky dip.

The Storyteller had ostensibly reserved his best performance for the last minutes of the evening. Backed up by the guitarist, Harrison he performed “Déjà vu” and wrapped up the evening with the danceable and hope-inspiring song, “E Go Be” with Sheun which saw the crowd shuffling and thumping their feet, while some nodded their heads while swaying to the enchanting beats of the song. The Storyteller in his vote of thanks expressed his deep gratitude to all and sundry who had contributed to the upward trajectory of his poetic music career over the years. Standing beside as he eulogized the guest was his amiable and genial fiancée Adaeze with whom he would walk down the aisle in a matter of weeks to tie the nuptial knots.

As the crowd eased towards the exit looking satisfied, I reflected on the life of the Storyteller whose trajectory has traced the course of stars, not those that fleet about momentarily. He has matured and grown in wisdom and mental stature. The world is now at his beck and call, and he would be sure to conquer not a few hearts and win them over with his endearing and riveting stories. He has given poetry legs to run with, and have cleared a pathway through which poems would walk into the private space of both the noble and commoner alike. A wise man once said that the best way to be remembered after one had died and gone is for the one to write a great book that others would read or do things that great writers would write for others to read. The Storyteller’s life tells a story of perseverance, dedication and focus that would be read and pondered over by this generation and those not yet born!

Written by
Felix-Abrahams Obi
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1 comment
  • In a era now past, story telling was a way of life in Africa. The original story tellers are called Griols and they spoke of years of long ago. The main event is the art of story telling itself, of imprimtur speaking, of gestures and of moves. Then poetry is teh stuff of legend and the material is worth the time. Time have changed and thse modern griols should look back to the origin of the Nigerian people/s, and use the same platform to throw enough light on the wealth of unknown history of what is and was Nigeria. Mr. Felix Your investigative inquiry is innovative. The event torched the romance of love, family/marriage and perseverance reminding us of the older years of dark Knights of African entertainment