Fela, Brymo and Lagos

Music is beyond sound. For me, music is a medium through which the mind reflects upon difficult things in simple rhythmical ways.

In Africa, the function of music is beyond its aesthetic value. For instance, music is usually integral to the success of a ritual. The content or lyrics of the songs are steeped in wise sayings and usually pass across moral messages.

It is well known that most contemporary Nigerian musicians do not practice this function even though they are aware of the point that music in Africa is beyond “art for art sake” alone.

I will not bother you with the history of music in Africa or Nigeria. I will just discuss Fela’s “Monday Morning in Lagos” and Brymo’s “Eko”.

 

‘Lagos’ is a spectacle that attracted  Fela and Brymo at different points in time. Lagos, also known as ‘Eko’ has its capital in the city of Ikeja. It is a city that is host to about 20million people and is the official economic capital of Nigeria. The city is known for being the site to witness both intense pleasure and poverty. The current governor of the state is Governor Akinwumi Ambode. Due to an increase in rural- urban migration, there has been a reduction in the agrarian mode of life among the people. Banky W in “Ebute Metta”, Olamide in “Lagos City”, and others have sang about the city of Lagos. However, my focus is on Fela and Brymo’s view of Lagos in their songs.

Lagos

Fela in the song “Monday Morning in Lagos” lives in a kind of Lagos that is ruled based on mood. Each day lived in Lagos has a specific kind of mood. People’s attitude to you depends on the day of the week you find yourself in Lagos. For instance, Fela sings that a landlord that doesn’t want trouble from his tenant will not ask for rent on a Monday morning

Regardless of the mood, be it calm, tense, festive, there is still one quality that cannot be taken away from Lagos which is its rush and restlessness. It is this haste that Fela embodies when he sings,

Eko o ni gba gba ku gba.

One would expect this kind of Lagos that has a “mood for everyday” to pass with time, especially considering when the song was sang. But when one listens to Brymo’s “Eko”, the beginning of the beat ushers one into the high-life of Lagos. However in Brymo’s case, he is more concerned with the part Fela refers to as the “relaxation mood” for any individual in Lagos-that would be Saturday and Sunday:

Satiday la fin da ti ba ba l’ eko,

Ojo Sunday, la fin m’ oti aye…

Brymo underscores the point that for one that does not take caution during that mood of relaxation in Lagos, such an individual may regret the adventure of relaxation in Lagos. A consequence of this mood is usually the temptation to splurge. For an individual who doesn’t apply discretion, he may regret his actions the following day. This is what Brymo suggests as he pleads to Eko in the lines,

Eko, no let me go.

He pleads to Eko not to let him splurge and forget that the next day is a working day.

Essentially, these two musicians  warn about the danger of throwing caution to the wind in Lagos city.

If you plan on visiting Africa on a holiday, take a trip to Lagos and visit the African Shrine. That is the historic site where Fela used to stage his protest songs in the 90s. Do not get lost in the city; I would love to get your feedback on Lagos. Wishing you a safe journey. Hit the like button if you found this post useful and do not be stingy. Kindly share with others.

TRACKING NEW GENERATION WRITERS: THE CASE OF GIMBA KAKANDA AND SADDIQ DZUKOGI- BM DZUKOGI

This post is about the recent feats reached by two young Nigerians . Their phenomenal rise as potent voices in Africa is what Nigeria as a nation should embrace through concrete support.

Each generation has its own stars who present the society with exceptionally powerful points to remember.

This short piece is about the recent feats reached by two young Nigerians who are literary artists of repute. Their phenomenal rise as potent voices in Africa is what Nigeria as a nation should embrace through concrete support.

Gimba Kakanda and Saddiq Dzukogi, both from Niger state, will soon jet out as writers of note and developing scholars whose potentials could be supported by their home governments including their Local governments for a greater impact on the state in the future. Saddiq is headed for the US while Kakanda goes to London as international students and writers who have already established a mark on Nigeria, to say it mildly.

Gimba KakandaKakanda

Kakanda is First Class as an undergraduate. His recent admissions for higher studies are two, so far: London School of Economics and King’s College London.

dzukogiDzukogi

Saddiq’s own is three: University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of Mississippi; and McNeese State University, all with scholarships attached and teaching assistantship. Nebraska offered academic journey of six years to Ph.D with teaching assistantship. They even added a fellowship to it when he insisted on going with his wife and son. Of course, he chose Nebraska after a fourth admission.

Why am I posting this? I am advocating for financial support for the two from Niger state government. Also, Niger state government should create a special unit in the governor’s office that will keep track of Nigerlites (especially young ones) who are establishing excellence abroad, for future use. A critical support system should be developed for them as a form of scholarship and award or grant.

These two children of Niger have managed to walk their ways to straight lines of excellence with no support from governments of Niger state.

If we are not careful, if these new Nigerian authors make it to their new schools, you may as well say goodbye to them, forever.

This ought not to be the case.

Lastly, I say this because a new light has sprout on the Niger state literary community which hopefully, will be a platform for her accelerated growth. Many teen authors of our art centre are dusting their bags to surpass Kakanda and Saddiq’s feats. This year alone, five of our published teen authors got admissions into BUK (1), IBB University (3), FUT (1), and Federal Polytechnic Bida (1).

 

ABOUT CONTRIBUTOR

BM Dzukogi is the founder/mentor at Hill-Top Art Centre, Minna, Nigeria.