HISTORY OF THE MUSIC OF THE IGBO SPEAKING BIAFRANS
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In Africa the Biafran Igbo Speaking people are known a lot for our singing skills. We are also one of the largest tribes in Africa and therefore are found in almost every part of Africa and beyond.
Archaeological, linguistic, botanical and anthropological evidence suggest that the Igbo and our ancestors have lived in our present homes from the beginning of human history. It is believed the Biafran Igbo originated in an area about 100 miles north of our current location in Biafraland at the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers.
When examining the impact that music has on the culture of the Biafran Igbo Speaking people, one would have to look no further than the earliest accounts of the vast history of Igbo speaking people of Biafraland. Biafran Igbo speaking people were descendents of the Jewish Tribes of Israel who inhabited Biafraland for over 5000 years. The Igbo speaking Biafrans assimilated the Nok culture that inhabited much of Biafraland from 500 BC to 200 AD. The Nok civilization is very popular because of the vast amount of colorful artifacts that they left behind, which include an array of musical instruments. It is from these humble beginnings that the first vestiges of Igbo music sprung up and began to influence and shape the culture in many ways.
Igbo Music (Igbo: Egwu Nkwa Ndi Igbo) is the Unique Music of the Igbo speaking people of Biafra, who are indigenous to the (South Eastern part of a geographic area former known as Nigeria). (Now Expired – 1914-2013) The Biafran Ibos, that speak Igbos language, traditionally rely heavily on percussion instruments such as the drum and the gong, which are popular because of their innate ability to provide a diverse array of tempo, sound, and pitch. Igbo music is generally lively, upbeat, and spontaneous which creates a variety of sounds that enables the Biafran Igbos to incorporate music into almost all the facets of our daily lives. Some very popular Biafran Igbo music styles are Highlife, Odumodu and Waka.
Traditionally music has been used to:
Enhance celebrations, such as during the New Year, Traditional Weddings,
Birthday Parties, New Yam Festivals, Childbirth and Naming Ceremonies
To bring about a historically sacred ambiance at church services,
funerals, and eulogies
For pleasure, such as when lullabies are sung by parents to their children
For sports and labor
To guide historians as they recant stories
The Oja flute is often used with Biafran Igbo drums such as the (log drum) Ekwe, (vessel drum) Udu and/or the Igba. This unique whistle ‘talks’ while the drummers are playing. During masquerade dances in Biafran Igboland, the Oja flutist leads the drumming and praise music and dance. An Oja master is be able to produce several sounds directly analogous with spoken or sung words. Dancers also move to the tune of the Oja flute as if it were a drum or other rhythmic instrument. If an important person enters the performance space, the Oja flutist may use this instrument to announce the name of such person. The Oja flute is also played at home without other instruments, or in the evening as a serenade accompaniment while strolling with a friend or life partner.
The drum is the most important musical instrument for Biafrans, and especially the Igbo speaking people. This instrument is extensively used during celebrations, rites of passage, funerals, war, town meetings and an array of other events. Since this instrument is so diverse, many types of drums have been crafted and perfected over the years.
The pot drum instrument is called the Kim- Kim or Udu. The Udu is the most common and popular drum. This instrument is also known as Nkwa, Egwe, or
Egede, depending on the part of the country.
The instrument is played by hand and produces a special and unique bass sound by quickly hitting the big hole. Furthermore the whole corpus can be played by fingers (some experienced players also use toes). Today it is widely used by percussionists in different music styles
The Udu drum is a pot drum made of clay and played with either the hand or a foam paddle. The smaller and medium sized Udu drums have a hole on the side of the drum that is cupped with the hand allowing control over the drum’s pitch as the other hand strikes the mouth of the pot to create the tone. The larger Udu drums do not have holes on the side and are, instead, played by striking the mouth of the pot with a large foam paddle. These larger Udu sometimes serve as bass for other instruments, while the smaller Udu back the larger, deeper Udu up with more melodic tones. These drums are sometimes played in churches in Biafraland.
It is typically dumb-bell shaped, and is around 27 cm-29 cm in height with an opening at the top that is about three to five centimeters. The base of the drum is about 13 cm- 15 cm wide, and the head is around eight to nine centimeters wide. This instrument is typically used to produce bass. To achieve a low and deep sound, a minimal amount of water is added. To maintain a higher sound, a considerable amount of water is added to the pot. To play this instrument, the musician will brace it between her legs and grip the neck with her left hand. In order to produce a sound, the musician will cup her hand and beat the opening very rapidly. Usually, this instrument has been played by women and is used for traditional rites of passage, weddings, and community club meetings.
These drums often accompany many other instruments. Traditionally, the deeper shelled Igba are played with the hand, while the shorter drums are played with a curved stick. In an ensemble these drums often lead, and are used to “talk” by the talking drummers. To tune the drum, the player will use a strong object to whack the pegs around the drum in order to restore its best tone.
Igba woods. Certain trees/timber of this region are noted for unique properties, and drum carvers know which varieties make the best drums.
Some varieties (e.g. Orji, used in Ekwe log drums) are unique to the forests of this area; we do not have exactly the same species elsewhere, hence the names of some of these mixed-color drum woods are known only to Igbo speaking Biafrans who harvest them.
These drums are also known as the talking drums because they produce a sound which is tonal, syncopated, and accented in ways that are very similar to way in which the Biafran Igbo people speak. The body of the drum is usually constructed from a hollowed out pear or cotton tree which is very durable yet malleable. The drum is then covered with antelope or cow skin.
The hide is fastened tightly to the top and bottom of the instrument with seven to eight studs, and with rope in a decorative manner. The studs are able to be adjusted for tuning purposes and sound accommodation. If the studs are tightened a high pitch is emitted. The opposite effect is heard if the studs are loosened. Typically, more than one Igba is played by several drummers at a time. The drum can be played by using four fingers from each hand. The right hand is used to beat the head of the drum, and the left hand is used to stop the vibration. If the musician stops the vibration closer to the edge of the drum head, a low pitch will be emitted. If the musician stops the vibration closer to the center, then a higher pitch will be emitted. The Igba can also be played using a curved drum stick, which can be found wrapped in fiber to produce a soft sound, or “naked” to produce hard sound. This drum is very versatile and is usually played during celebrations, festivals, weddings, male and female rites of passage, and sometimes funerals.
Slit Drum (Ekwe)
The slit drum called the Ekwe is also very popular amongst the Igbo speaking Biafrans. This drum is constructed from a hollowed out palm, bamboo, or pear tree trunk. Once the trunk has been cleaned, two horizontal slits are carved into the base as well as a narrow slit connecting the two. This drum is played using a “naked” wooden drum stick to strike the head. The Ekwe produces a distinct sound and for this reason is usually used for signaling an emergency, community meetings, or warning of intruders’ presence.
The Ekwe is a two-pitch Biafran Igbo log drum. There are two types of hardwood (yellow or red). Played with either a plain straight wood stick or a rubber-tipped short beater similar to a large balafon or Alo (long gong-bell) mallet. Larger Ekwes are usually played with two sticks, while smaller ones are usually played with only one stick.
The Ube wood that is used for carving Yellow Ekwe log drums is also called
“white wood,” but not because the yellow outer part of the drum is the wood’s natural color… instead, the drum’s shell is painted with a yellow powder (that prior to being applied to the drum shell is diluted in water).
The Red Ekwe is carved from a naturally-red wood called “Orji” in the Igbo language. This wood is more expensive than the “white” wood used in the Yellow Ekwe both because of its beautiful intense (and very natural) red color and its ability to resist insect (termite/worm) damage.
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These instruments are another important part of Biafran Igbo music. While not as important as the drum, these instruments do provide much needed rhythm and
The most prominent gongs are the Olu and the Ogene. The Olu is a large gong, about four feet long. The Ogene is smaller gong and is about eight inches long. The Olu and Ogene are played by rhythmically beating the base of these instruments in cadence with the rest of the ensemble. The Ogene is used mostly for complimenting drums and other percussion instruments.
It is also very useful in helping dancers time their movements and gestures. The Olu produces a very distinct sound and is mostly used to warn the community of any danger or as a call for attention in case of an important announcement.
Other instruments include a woodblock known as Okpola, a wind instrument
similar to the flute, called an Oja and the Ichaka. The Igbo speaking Biafrans, also have a style of music called Ikorodo, which is when all the musical instruments are played together with vocal accompaniment.
Igbo Music Today
Though Biafran Igbo music remains very traditional, it has undergone some changes in old times. In the 60’s and 70’s a new genre of music was born called High-Life. This was a fusion of traditional West African Music and music from Western cultures. It combined fast tempo Hispanic beats and colorful Reggae, with rhythmic West African sounds. Recently, Biafran rappers have also brought changes to the palates of the Igbo speaking people of Biafraland, with the infusion of hip-hop. This music is a cross between American rap beats and Igbo language lyrics.
Notable Biafran Igbo Speaking Musicians
Some popular Igbo speaking Biafran musicians include: Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, (King of Highlife), Sir Warrior (Head of Highlife), Oliver de Coque (Chief of Highlife), Celestine Ukwu, Onyeka Onwenu, Bright Chimezie (Duke of Highlife), Prince Nico Mbarga, Chief Dr. Morocco Maduka (Eze Egwu Ekpili), Oriental Brothers (Stars of Music), Faze, Dr Alban, PSquare, Flavour, Lemar and Nnenna Freelon to Mention a Few.
THE MUSIC OF ANIOMA UKWUANI PEOPLE OF BIAFRALAND
The Biafraland Ukwuani community are widely known for their music, having produced such Late artistes as Charles Iwegbue, Ali Chukwuma, King Ubulu, Prince Smart Williams Achugbue, Rogana Ottah, they still have on the list names
which are ever present in the scene such as Franco Lee Ezute, John Okpor,
Prince Tony Kiddy, Queen Azaka, Bob Fred, Agu Lato, Computer Onah, Steady
Arobbi, Deskenny, Prince 2 Boy, Ishioma Henry Ossai, Orji Moore, Chris
Hanem, Eric Enuma, Dennis Abamba, Murphy Gingo, Chuks Igba and many
others. Their music is one of the main influences they have had over their
neighbors, many of whom have adopted Ukwuani music as their own
Anioma, is made up of towns and communities located in Biafraland (Delta State,
South-South region of a geographic area formerly know as Nigeria – Now Expired 2014-2013). For administrative purposes, the geographic area former known as Nigeria, referred this community as Delta North thus contrasting the Delta Central and Delta South, densely inhabited by the Urhobo, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko, the other ethnic groups inhabiting the Expired State. The Anioma region has a total
population of 1,114,055. The population figure quoted here does not include those of Anioma communities located outside Expired Delta state. These include Ukwani, Enuani, [Ika people]
A small Ika population can be found in neighboring Edo State specifically
in Igbanke, Oza and Ekpon. The term Anioma means ‘Good Land’ and is also
an acronym derived from the four original local governments i.e. (A) for
Aniocha, (N) for Ndokwa, (I) for Ika, (O) for Oshimili, M and A are common
denominators found in the four original local governments. The coinage was
made by the founding father, Chief Dennis Osadebay in 1951 and has since
remained the preferred indigenous name by which the people collectively
refer to themselves and prefer to be known.
Thus, A-N-I-O-M-A. Sentimentally, there are also Anioma people in BiafraLand of (Anambra State of Expired Nigeria), i.e. Onitsha, Ogbaru, Akwukwu Obosi, Ozobulu, Ogidi, Oraifite. Some are in Imo State i.e. Oguta, Rivers State i.e. Ndoni, Ogba. Anioma people who had one destiny prior to the coming of the Europeans were balkanized after they lost the Ekumeku War of resistance against the British
imperialism in 1914 after 31 years of fighting.
Anioma language Anioma is the indigenous language spoken in Anioma with
dialects that include Enuani, Ukwuani and Ika. Other languages spoken are:
Igbo, Ishan, Ozzara, Olukunmi (an ancient Yoruba lect) and Igala.
Ukwuani (sometimes spelled Ukwani) are a distinct ethnic group in (Delta
and Rivers Expired States of Nigeria).
The colonial history of Ndokwa people began in 1905 with the formal
establishment of colonial administrative office in Kwale. It was then
known as Aboh Native Authority and later renamed Aboh Division in 1952
with headquarter in Kwale. In 1976, there was Local Government reforms and
Aboh Division became Ndokwa Local Government with headquarters still in
The name Ndokwa was formed from two words; Ndoshimili and Ukwuani. They
signify the two major districts of Aboh Division. Following the 1991 and
1997 Local Government creations embarked upon by the Military led
Government, Ndokwa came under three Local Government Areas (LGAs) namely;
Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West and Ukwuani with headquarters in Aboh, Kwale and
Obiaruku respectively. The three LGAs speak Ukwuani language and are known
and recognized as distinct ethnic nationalities since pre-colonial times.
The Ukwuani dialect, which is intelligible with the dialects of Aboh and
Ndoni, is a dialect of the Igbo language while some commentators consider
it distinct from the Igbo language. Whatever, the case, there is more in
common between the Ukwuani dialect/language and the Igbo language than
They remain a socially tight-knit group. Community unions and clubs are
the rule, even among those who have emigrated to North America, Europe, or
Asia. These organizations routinely hold festivals and celebrations.
Marriage, funerals, naming ceremonies, burial rites and other important
occasions are also often the occasion for elaborate ceremonies using the
traditional Highlife Music from Anioma-Ukwuani area.
Most of the people are Christian. Large Catholic congregations are found
in Obiaruku, Ashaka, Obinomba, Umutu and Kwale where Catholic missionaries
established churches and elementary schools during the colonial era.
Protestant churches are also common. Traditional worship still takes place
in nearly every community.
Anioma is bounded on the East by Expired Nigerian Anambra State, south-east by Expired Nigerian Imo State and Expired Nigerian Rivers States, south by Expired Nigerian Bayelsa State, south-west by Biafraland’s Isoko, west by Biafraland’s Urhobo, north-west by Expired Nigerian Edo State and north by Expired Nigerian Kogi State. Anioma may therefore be regarded as highly contiguous to very many neighboring ethnic groups. The people have drawn experiences as a result of lying contiguous to numerous other towns, communities and Expired Nigerian States which characterize the Anioma as one of the most peaceful regions in the Country.
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MUSIC OF BIAFRANS AS A WHOLE (FROM ALL AREAS OF BIAFRA)
|A Review of the Music and Lives of Eastern Musicians and Songwriters of the Post Nigeria-Biafra War Era|
|By: Maazi Nnamdi N. Nwuda and
Dr. Chidi Okorie
On January 15, 1970, an armistice was declared in the Nigeria-Biafra War. Unfortunately, the cessation of hostilities meant that many Easterners were left to lick their wounds, and look for ways to survive after 30 brutal months of enemy bombardment. As they say “a measure of a man’s character is not how he handles success; it is how he handles downfalls.” The Igbos and their Minority neighbors did not despair over their plight even though they had every excuse in the world to feel sorry for themselves. After all, Nd’Igbo were not the aggressors; we were attacked and we defended our homeland against the invaders.
Easterners refused to wallow in self-pity after the war; they got back on the horse and rode on. One of the major areas of post-war survival was music. Yes, MUSIC! While Easterners were busy fending off the vandals’ indiscriminate air strikes during the war, social life in those three years was non-existent. Prior to the war, the East had been the lifeline of the Nigerian music industry. Most musicians of note prior to the civil war were from the Eastern Region.
Pre War Musicians: An Inexhasutive List
1) Late Famous Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson, the Kalabari-born highlife King, whose hit included such songs as Hail Biafra, as well as a 1965 song often cited by revisionist historians as evidence that Igbos were ‘gloating’ over the outcome of the Kaduna Nzeogwu led coup. That song was used as an excuse to justify the pogrom that ensued after the murder of Gen Ironsi.
2) Late Israel Nwaoba (alias Njemanze) of the Three Night Wizards fame. It should be pointed out that this pioneer musician died unceremoniously at the hands of Nigerian security agents..
- Late Stephen Osita Osadebe was still going strong till he departed. Osadebe has hits Ọsọndi Owendi, etc.
- Late Joe Naeze, the Mbaise-born and Ngor Okpalla raised Highlife maestro. Joe N Eze had hits such as Baby Nwa m Gi Nosike and My Landlady. His sudden death cut shot a productive career. Joe N Eze died in 1978 after a brief illness.
The Asaba-born Eddy Okonta.
Late Celestine Ukwu with hits such as Ọnwụwa Bịa Ọdika Ụwa Ejesigo, and Ọnụ na Ekwu na Madu Abụrọ Chukwu and his almost prophetic last release “Ọnwụ ama Eze,” just to mention a few.
- There were other non-Eastern musicians who were heavily influenced by Eastern musical phenomenon. The likes of the Midwest trio of Victor Uwaifo, Sunny Okosun, who grew up in Enugu, and Aigbe Liberty.
- Victor Uwaifo to some extent with his Joromi hit single.
- Tony Gray with hits like my girl
- Aigbe Liberty (Senior Brother of Felix Liberty of the Sex Bombers fame).
- Sunny Okosun, though Sunny’s career exploded after the War and after marrying Mbaise’s own daughter Nkechi, which gave rise to Sunny’s hit Chinelo.
There were so many other musicians from the pre-war era whose names have not been mentioned here, as we move on to the subject of this piece –the Music of the East in the post-war era.
With the end of the War, there was what could be describe as an explosion in the music industry in the East. This could be explained as an interplay of the culture of the people, the political, social, and financial environment people found themselves in, as well as the trait of innovation which is strong amonst the people of the region. Easterners had been left destitute by both the war and the punitive Federal government policies that followed the war. So, it could be said that taking to music was only natural in people of whose culture music formed an integral part. Some of the groups started off by entertaining the Federal soldiers and other carpetbaggers who then were the only ones that had money to spend for recreational activities.
Factors that Influenced post-War Music of the East:
- As people coming out from war, Easterners had to be resourceful in order to survive
2) The Nigerian soldiers occupying our homeland were the source of Nigeria currency, the legal tender after the war; Biafran currency was becoming worthless by the day.
3) The Beatles influence in popular Music
Now let’s look at the groups and the impact of those three factors upon the groups. Note that entertaining Nigerian soldiers after the war gave rise to so many music groups, which later became independent groups.
Chief Among the Groups Were:
- The Funkees (with now deceased Jake Solo, Harry Mosco Agada, and Sunny Akpan the best Congarist of all time)
- Actions of Warri: though this group was based in Warri, all their members were Igbo boys, who went searching for livelihood after the war.
* Spud Nathan and the Wings: The Wings weren’t an army entertaining band per se
- Founders 15 With Iyke Peters, and Marshall Udeoru of Port Harcourt’ (with their first Hit Be my Own)
- The Strangers With Bob Miga: Though not an army entertaining band, (Bob Miga’s boys later became One World and Black Children)
- Lasbry Colon Ojukwu and the Semi Colon of Umuahia: With the hits Slim Fit Maggie and Chi Chi Lovin)
- Herald 7: ( where Jerry Boyfriend, the Ehime Mbano-born vocalist made his debut with the hit Shooting Star)
- Doves of Calaber: (With the Cameroon born lead singer Lawrence Nsusie Ebenoa, and their hits The Lord is my Shepherd)
- Apostles of Aba: With 4 hits, which would have made them multi millionaires in any Western Country. The Acts Of the Apostle, Highway to Success, Enyi, (tribute to Ekeoha Market Fire Victims, and Mmere Gini bụ Ogu, with Walton Arungwa on lead vocal, Benji on Keyboard and Fusion)
- Blo Phase 4: with Berkeley Jones Ike, Mike Odumosu and Laolu Akins
- The Offege: Made up of Igbo Boys from St. Gregory College Obalande Lagos, With Marvin Ukachi on lead vocal with Hit Wizzie Labo).
12 Ceejays, of Port Harcourt: With Sokie on Lead Vocals (Later became Sokie Ohale and the Ceejays, with the Ọtọ na Ụbụrụ hit)
Those were the early 1970s groups, many members of these early groups splintered into mid 1970s and late 1970 groups. Then Came the mid to Later 1970 groups, among these later groups were:
- One World: (With Ani) One world broke away from Strangers
- Black Children: (who also broke away from Strangers and One World)
- Genesis: (made up of guys who broke away from Semi Colon)
- Heads Funk: of Port Harcourt (with probably one of the best Guitarist of that time, in the name of Feladay) with their Hit “Jesus is a soul man”
- Original Wings: (with Arinze Okpalla, Charlie Duke, Charlie Fleming, Emma Chinaka a.k.a Emma China, Jerry Demua, on Vocals) with hits like Tribute to Spud Nathan, Love was Meant for Two, True Love Counts no Error and many more hits, which would have also made them rich in any other country.
- Super Wings: (With Mannford Best & Jerry Boyfriend on vocals) with hit again Jonathan Udensi tribute to Spud Nathan.
- Sweet Breeze: (Later Esbee Family, With Daniel Anyanwu, Jackie More Anyaora, Bazy Akalonu, Vin Ikeotuonye, and Nestor Phillip, later John John Duke) with hits like palm taper. Igbara aka Bia Ilu m, She is my Choice, Confidential Bye Bye, Chicks are like Chicken, Fire in a Jar, and so many other hits. This group was the first music group made up of undergraduates from Institute of management and Technology Enugu. Jackie Moore Anyaora and Dallas Daniel Anyanwu later left for United States of America and got their PHD from Pace University New York. Any other place in the world, members of this group would be multi millionaires.
- Sweet Unit (later Rock of Ages): With Wahehe Njoku Joel, Regi and Yours Truly) With most commercial successful hits Like “ Jesus will Come Back Through the Glory, Let us Unite Brothers and Sisters, Scandal, A song for You, Heaven Helps those who Help Themselves, Rosy Girl, Mercy, Pretty Girl, Affection you, and many other hits, bad management destroyed this band.
- Friimen of Aba, (with Gbemi Saka on Lead Vocal) with their only Hit freemen.
- Great Commander of Enugu
- Jerry Boyfriend and the NATO Band: (With his Solo Hit Leave that School Girl and Mommy Owe me Childhood Freedom and Better Make your Peace with God. Though after his band was formed, he could not duplicate that Hit, His Ehime Bus Stop was never a market success. It is also worthy to note that Rock of Ages backed him on his only hits during his solo career.
- Soloist John Duke
- Chris Okotie (Before he went to Church)
- Jide Obi (Another UNN phenom with his Hit Everybody Talking, Front Page News)
- Cloud 7 and Clyde Davis: (with My Beautiful Woman Hit)
- Tony Okoroji: (with the Hit Mrs. m na Ori Aku m)
On the High life scene we had many notable names. Highlife after all was said to have originated in the ‘60’s from ‘Igbo blues ‘, and the so called palm wine music. (www.afropop.org/explore/style_info/ID/17/highlife)
Highlife exponents included
- Late Ikediala of Owerri: (though he was more remembered for the way he died than the hits he made. With hit Nne ji Akịrị na Awọlị. It should be noted that Oriental brothers were Ikediala’s boys.
- The Peacocks with Ralph Amarabem, (With The Hit Edikwa Nsa)
- Joe n Eze: (with the hit Baby Nwam gị Nọsike)
- Skylarks: (who broke away from the Peacocks
- Gentleman Mike Ejiaha
- God father of Highlife himself, Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe
- Ikenga Super Stars of Africa: (broke away from Osadebe while they were touring in London, got home and releases some of Osadebe’s compositions for Rogers all-star records
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Prince Nico Mbarga: part Igbo part Camerounian who in 1976 recorded such megahits as Sweet Mother which reportedly sold over 13 million copies and Christiana..
ORIENTAL BROTHERS INTERNATIONAL BAND
The Oriental Brothers band was put together in the early 70’s by Sir James Azuwuike the Owner of Easy Going Hotel, Lagos from members of his in house band. They were led by the trio of Dan Satch, Warrior, and Godwin Kabaka . They had many hits which included. Orientals Special, Nwa Ada Di Nma, Uwa Mezi Special, Oyenusi, Uwa Enwe Nmeta, Murtala Mohammed. Later, after Kabaka left, other hits hits followed, like Ibezim Ako, Iche sa Nmadu bu Ewu, Onyeoma Madu na eji Egbu Ya and many other hits.
In 1977 after the release of the Murtala Mohammed hit, guitarist Godwin Kabaka Opara left and formed the Kabaka International Guitar Band . He was later to have such hits as Onye Ike kwere Mere Nkeya, Egbula Nwa Onya. and Nwanne Di Namba.
In the early ’80, Warrior and Dan Satch led two factions of Oriental brothers with Sir Warrior forming the (Original) Oriental Brothers, and Dan Satch forming another faction. This was after Decca West Africa sent Ebenezer Obey another Decca star to mediate between warrior and Dan Satch. Like Kabaka before him, Warrior was to have several hits such as. Onye Oma Nmanu, Onye Obula, Ugo Chinyere Akara Aka, Ofe Owerri, Ikemba, ( to Welcome Ojukwu from exile), Agwu Loro Ibeya, and many other hits.
My man Paulson Kalu, the Ohafia-born singer (with His Hit Onye Di Nma na Azu)
- Abraka (with Azuanuka)
- Aloy Anyanwu With the State Brothers
- Ediri Chukwueke and the Olariche of Owerri
We cannot conclude any write up without mention Gospel music, although today in the East, Gospel music has been bastardized, and any fool can now throw up or shout into microphone and call it Gospel music. Before Gospel music was taken over by false preachers. Three people popularized Gospel Music. The three people are Brother Lazarus and brother Emmanuel of Voice of the Cross, and Harcourt White the leprosy patient. Brother Lazarus and brother Emmanuel of Voice of the Cross put Gospel into music and are still going strong today, separating themselves from the pretenders of today. Their most recent release On the Mountain Down the Valley has become a main stay with any Igbo gathering here in US. Harcourt White, the Lepper patient turned singer dished out so many hits before his death? This man took the story of his life struggle and Biafra war experience and turned it into mega hits. My favorite is that one about Biafra war. Where he sang, Akpọi m ndi m na Alụsi ọgụ asị ka ma ọbụ Omume ha ka m kpọrọ Asị. Meaning I don’t hate those we are fighting, rather is their behavior that I hate. Those three people played the real Gospel music different from what is obtainable today.
In any other country all those groups and musicians will be multi millionaires. However in dysfunctional country like Nigeria, many of these guys are today almost destitute living in absolute poverty.
In coming series I am going to write and profile some of these groups in details. There will be a detailed look at the Wings before and after Spud’s death. I will delve into the feud that broke out after Spud’s death between Arinze and Mannford Best. What led to the emergence two factions of wings, the original wings led By Arinze Okpalla and Super Wings led by Mannford Best? I will also look at, fair or not, the insinuation that Mannford may have contributed to Spud’s death that fateful night after that show at UNN.
For some of you who went to high school in the 1970s, stay tuned to read about your favorites groups of that era and relive your carefree days.