Who knew Joseph Benjamin could sing (So damn well)?

Hey guys,

So today I’m sharing with you something that came to me as a surprise as well. When I first heard that Joseph Benjamin was (in addition to being an amazing actor and TV host), also casting his net into the music river, I was a bit stunned and I didn’t know what to think..

I first listened to his song ‘Joy’ late last year and I fell in love, I knew I had sold out to the man’s music and I was looking forward to all the other tracks. He also has another one out called ‘So in Love’. This jam reminds me of 90s R and B and I thoroughly enjoyed every single note from the beginning to the end.

Enjoy the songs below..

You like?

#OldSchoolFriday : Christy Essien Igbokwe’s ‘Seun Rere’

Hey there guys,

It’s another Friday and here’s this week’s dose of Old and Evergreen Music!

This week song is a song I love so so much. It is by the singer, performer and singer, the ‘Lady of Songs’ herself- Late Christy Essien Igbokwe.

The song emphasizes on how children are expected to behave, family values and the likes.. Christ Essien Igbokwe’s amazing vocals does great justice to the song and it continues to be fresh, relevant and evergreen.

Listen and enjoy!

Happy Weekend guys!

#OldSchoolFriday: Bobby Benson’s ‘Taxi driver’

Hey guys,

Another Friday is here and here’s this week’s Old School track.

Originally performed sometime in the 50s, this highlife song tells in an interesting and funny manner, a story of man who’s fed up of a philandering woman and who no longer cares what she does! I really love the instrumentation as well.

You like?

Have a great weekend guys!

#OldSchoolFriday: Peacock Guitar Band’s Eddie Quansa

Yaaay! Old School Friday is baack!!

If you ever saw any episode of the series ‘The New Masquerade’ then the chances are that you will remember this song. The very memorable ‘Eddie Quansa’ was used as the soundtrack for the series.

 

The highlife song was performed by the Peacock Guitar Band in the 70s and still remains enjoyable till date.

Have a listen below:

AFROBEAT AND AFROBEATS: THE ‘S’ FACTOR

The first time I was ever at the ‘New Afrika Shrine’ was the night of my sister’s wedding in January 2014. Back in UNILAG, I’d heard people say all sorts of things about the shrine. This was six years later and of course my imagination of what I’d get there was still very lit! Scantily clad women in cages, shaking, twirling and turning to the loud sounds of Femi Kuti’s voice and an incredibly heavy band dishing out unbelievable instrumentation which would be quietly but surely assisted by the gentle sounds of beads clanging against each other and softly brushing against the dancers’ bodies. I’d been told about how there was usually literally no space to keep one’s feet at Afrika Shrine whenever Seun or Femi was playing; about how crazy the crowd went from the sounds of the music.

That Saturday night was quite an interesting one. Interesting activity at the entrance *wink*. Those guys don’t play! Lol. By the time the show started, I could swear I’d never seen that number of grown men on one stage before! Yes, it wasn’t exactly what I had always imagined it to be but it was a fun night out.

Rewind… Probably to the early ‘70s when I was not even born. Almost the same setting in the former Afrika Shrine somewhere in Allen, Ikeja which was later burnt down. The man, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in all his glory, almost as scantily dressed as the dancers and sending his listeners to a different level of sound with his eccentric performance style. In that nightclub began a genre of its own: Afrobeat! Fela’s music had a lot of foreign influences stemming from having lived, studied, learnt and played in various countries including Ghana and the United Kingdom. The Afrobeat sound was different and special; an interesting mixture of Jazz, traditional Nigerian Music and highlife, American funk music among many other different styles of music. Characterized by call-and-response and rhythmic chanting, something else that made Afrobeat music different is the instrumentation. Fela was a band-leader and a multi-instrumentalist and the Afrobeat band would usually consist of loads of instruments such as the trombone, conga, trumpet, and saxophone, drums, bass and lead guitars, shekere among others. Fela was arguably a very interesting personality and used his then unconventional style of music as a weapon to transform the Nigerian music space and also to speak about the Nigerian socio-economic and political space.

Now let’s add an ‘s’. Afrobeats! I honestly have never been able to understand why the names have to be so similar and why there cannot be a clear distinction. Joey Akan of Pulse Ng refers to Afrobeats as ‘a reductionist neologism fed to the international media, and providing a foreign and convenient narrative to classify the African popular music which contains a 21st-century fusion of western rap influences, and contemporary Ghanaian and Nigerian pop music’. I think I agree! Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate Afro-pop sounds. I can’t deny how Wizkid’s ‘Ojuelegba’ makes me (and most other people) sway and nod my head, and how 2baba can do no wrong with his sound. I’m a sucker for Sarkodie, his voice and his style of rap. I mean we went from the days where having a party without ‘jamming’ foreign (American) songs was a taboo, to now when even the cool kids can get away with grooving to Afro-pop music. There’s definitely nothing not to love about that. That said, I dare say that Afrobeats is not a genre of music.

You see, contemporary African music comes in various forms and styles. The sounds of a man like Olamide (in my opinion) can in no way be compared to what you will get from a Timaya or Davido and there’ll all afro-pop. Afro-pop music consists of all genres of popular music ranging from rap to Afro hip-hop, to soukous to even African trap music. We Africans produce these amazing pop sounds with our pop beats and even create our own unique dance steps. We should own it. If anyone should be telling our stories, it should be us! Adding an ‘s’ to a genre which stands on its own already is a very confusing narrative that someone else is telling on our behalf, totally downplays the growth that African music has experienced and the versatility of our African artistes. I always wonder, ‘Why was Afrobeat picked on to be pluralized?’. Why not ‘Juju’ so we can have ‘Jujus’ or ‘Soukous’ so we can have ‘Soukouses’. If we need one name for every popular music out of Africa, then I think ‘Afro-pop’ suffices.

Fela (and those who have stuck to that sound) ’s iconic genre of music is Afrobeat, and then we have all the other numerous popular music genres which our African artistes have been able to excel at which have all been lumped up and called ‘Afrobeats’. Confusingly so!

Cheers,

Yemisi!

6 Nigerian Soul Songs to Enjoy this Month of Love

It’d definitely be rude not to wish you guys Merry Christmas (2016), Happy New Year, before I start to talk about Valentine. Even for Valentine I’m already so late! Yes, Naija and Alternative Music took a (not-so) little break. Blogging and having a 9 to 5 does take its toll I must say. Plus 2016 was one hell of a year! In any case, we do hope things get better in 2017.
So it’s Valentine’s – the love season, and there is a recession! The luxuries of last year no longer abound as such and the gifts may just be a tiny bit lighter. But music will always carry the same weight regardless of economic situation (it’s probably even heavier this time around). I definitely think music is and will always be part and parcel of love.
So even though we’re a few days late with this list and Valentine’s day 2017 is gone, here are six Nigerian soul sounds that’ll definitely melt your heart this month of love (in no particular order):

1. Fe mi by Brymo
This song sets an amazing mood for ‘alone time’ with bae. Using the one of a kind richness and soulfulness of his voice, Brymo describes at length how she makes him comfortable, takes care of him, and how she finally makes him feel when they’re alone without being too ‘graphic’. This is definitely a mood setting song, great for the season.

2. Aduke by Tjan
This would have been the perfect song for a Valentine’s day proposal seeing as the main crux of the song is asking his lover to be his wife. Of course if you missed Valentine’s day for that romantic proposal, we’re still in the love season so it still works.

3. Omote by Ese Peters
This song has promises flying around.. Promises that can melt anyone’s heart. I love how the instrumentation is nice, simple and doesn’t interfere with the words. Sounds like someone reading his wedding vows. I mean you want to hear those promises clearly so you can hold him accountable for every word. So damn romantic!

4. My Beautiful Love by Johnny Drille
A bit upbeat, and ‘country-ish’, this song comes from the angle of a man who can’t do without his lover. The instrumentation of this song is also really heart-warming and can make even make for a complete song on its own. Very beautiful song that can make anyone feel appreciated.

5. Ayanfe Mi by Nayo Soul
For those who didn’t know, ‘Ayanfe Mi’ means ‘My beloved’. If you haven’t heard this song, you need to get you some of it. The calmness of Nayo Soul’s voice in this song is so soul-soothing and priceless. Great love song.

6. O to’jo Meta by Tonie the emperor ft. pHisayo
I promise you, you haven’t heard any love song quite like the one in this song! This is a track that perfectly fuses soul music and spoken word together. It builds up this bout of interesting suspense and then shocks you with its surprisingly romantic ending. It is sure to make one blush and giggle. I definitely love it!

There are too many others, the list is too long to exhaust. Please feel free to add more songs to this list.
Happy Valentine’s Season (if any such thing exists).

Love,

Yemisi!