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Music as a Mirror of the Society

For centuries, music has been a
traditional elevation of the mind and body. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it defined music as ‘sounds that are arranged in a way that is pleasant or exciting to listen to’.

During the pre Nigeria era, we had our soul music rooted in culture. Words intensely lauded the virtues of brave leaders and warriors. Intoxicating the people in a prance of gaiety, relieving limbs of the day’s stress and worries.

Moonlight dancers sprinting to the world beyond within African spheres. A twist from the foreign imposition, the clang of the African gong ceased and instrumental piano mesmerizing the jail birds, sizzling and dazzling to the beats of alien instrumentalists from the stereo, playing to the chorus of engaged sweet sorrows:

“To the rhythm rhythm of the night, dance until the morning…, forget about the worries of the night, you can leave it all behind” And indeed the masses danced
away the heartbreaking troubles of their land. But, as generations occupied and expired, ushers in the birds of the air, free and
independent to roam wild and mild.

The potency of music became jars of honey and trains of kola nuts.
The write up and singing of songs
became a tool of criticizing the artist’s society, both immediate and twins geographic territories.

The lyrics became weapons wield against ills and spoils of the nation and its seating leaders, who upon are bestowed the states affairs to be run smooth and

Taking a swipe at past legendary
musicians, to be picked amongst the fruitful basket is the renowned figurative icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who set the stone rolling in neutral trend to blaze the trail of music as an expose to effect
criticism and enable corrections of the government’s national short comings.

Fela who was considered a prophetic forerunner, as most meanings of his music were neatly stage played as scripted by his gifted voice. His popular resounding secular gospels were: “Water e no get enemy… Then start start to steal money… Start start them confusion… Them corruption… Them oppression… Them get one style wey them dey use… A man with low mentality… Few people dey fat with biggy
money and the rest dey hungry… Paddi paddi add am together… Paddi paddi arrangeni… We don tire to carry them shit… International thief thief…” Which with many verifiable attestations
and testimonies, came to play and
passed, now gone on sabbatical leave, but kept its watchdogs to multiply in closed groups in vast open arenas.

The greatest sermon he preached was a major owl which is corruption, the gigantic parenthood of every political
baptism; bacteria which pollutes innocent gardens, and infiltrate corruptible insecticides.
Fela’s reality tales blossomed and faded a nickel in coming ages. Another stream of artists evolved. Their generation experienced no jackboots of the bygone rules.

Therefore, their melodious tunes
lent credence to every ear and drummed hard at the capitals.
A string of musicians had a more
conducive atmosphere to roar their lyrical wings to any sky height, neither being catapulted to flap down their feathers. Nor were corn and rice set in a rope circle to
be trapped and gagged.

Prominent in this landscape of free wagon band were; African China, with: “Food e no dey, brother water no dey. What about the NEPA people o, we no get light… Poor man wey thief maggi… we go
see him face for crime-fighters, rich man wey thief money… we no dey see their face for crime-fighters. Tell me something
I don’t know… rich man go dey hala say… poor man go dey shout… Election for my country na… Make una lead us well, no let this nation to fall inside well. Mr. President, lead us well, if you be governor,
govern us well, if you be senator, senate am well, if you be police, police well-well, no dey take bribe”

Another is Idris Abdulkareem, Nigeria’s dancehall artist with his lyrical hit track of 2004:
“Nigeria jaga jaga, everything scatter scatter, poor man dey suffer suffer, gbosa! gbosa!! Gun shot… Armed robber enter inside your house, e thief… money e no rape your wife… Na wetin dey kill
Nigeria ooo… NEPA… We dey grow… There’s still bad blood…”
“Which kind Papa no want make im pikin grow…12 years ago Nigeria Jagajaga/Today Nigeria don pafuka/…./You no be fine Papa…”

These musicians amongst many others of their time, satirized, criticizing the government of their day in daring limelight.

Today we have legions of freestyle artists, sprouting in societies where they sing most of Blues, R&B, Hip hop, Jazz and abundant party songs that rocks event
centers and homes. The likes of: Tu Face, Davido, WizKid, Olamide, Omauwumi, Tiwa Savage, Banky
W, Don Jazzy, D’bang, Omo Jesu, and a long list of them all. They compose song writes in utmost ease. Their lyrics rarely dig agonized ills of societies of this era. Such enjoyable lyrics as:
“’All the girls wey dey dance galala….. Skelewu….’She must be a sexual… See gobe…’Baby girl you mesmerize me,… And I finally find love…’Don’t tell me nonsense.. And am just getting started…’You be chairman no be for mouth Chairman do something…’Goons me. Eminado… You’re my African barbie… I get money to throw way. I wanna see your happy face… In a land where there’s no blood on the dance floor…’ She said she really likes my style.. Would you be my…’”

In conclusion, the juxtaposition of Omo Jesu and Marvin Records gives us clear cut views of the current state of peaceful
coexistence and emergency. I would leave you to feel the tidbit vibes of their musical portrayal. Enjoy! And if it’s not sufficient to your hungry ears and happy feet, grab a copy now! So many things wey dey happen for my country… Orishi orishi naim we dey see…
Mama… Suffer train im pikin… Finish school come go serve for… Dem kill am…’Omo Jesu. … Doro skillful… Doro bloody…. Doro
gather pass anybody for this gathering… Doro fresh… Flashy…. Hot… Fine… Suru… Lere…. Carry… Grab… Doro sweet pass… Doro dribble anybody wey… Doro
money… Anywhere wey….. Dem say wahala dey… Doro me.., Doro you… We the baddest crew….” Mavin Records

Author: Gift Amukoyo
January 10, 2014


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