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Timeless melodies: Honouring legacies of music legends

Timeless melodies: Honouring legacies of music legends

Music analysts have observed that songs from the 1960s through 1990s uphold positive and edifying lyrics with minimal vulgar languages and obscene views.

This value calls for the need to celebrate the timeless legacies of such music and create room for up-and-coming artistes, as well as the youths generally to learn from such, they argue.

Music is said to be the food for the soul with some therapeutic effect on the listeners and it could be seen to boost intelligence, improve memory, relieve stress, improve one’s mood, enhance cognitive performance, boost productivity and performance.

According to them, since music plays important role in individual’s daily activities, there ought to be quality of contents generated from inspiring music.

However, they observe that it is worrisome to note the gradual transformation of useful lyrical contents in music of the 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s to what music is in the 21st century.

They are worried that currently, most contemporary musicians do not even promote positive values in their songs as they sing to promote alcoholism, smoking, sex and nudity, among others, negating the African values.

On the contrary, artistes like Dan Maraya Jos, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, Victor Uwaifo, Onyeka Onwenu, Ebenezer Obey, Funmi Aragbaye, Osita Osadebe and many more could be considered musical legends that must be honoured with their evergreen lyrical contents, beautiful vocals and melody.

Christy Essien-Igbokwe, known as Nigeria’s Lady of Songs, through her music, addressed many issues, such as love among people, community, association, woman-man relationship and childhood mentoring.

Essien-Igbokwe’s passion for peace, equity and fairness put her among those that championed the creation of some states, specifically Akwa Ibom and the new Anambra.

She was known for her songs: Seun Rere, Tete Nula, Ife, Hear the Call and Give Me a Chance.

Also, Adamu Dan Maraya Jos, popularly known as “Dan Maraya’’ had his songs focus on uniting people across ethnic and religious divide.

With his local musical instrument, kutigi — a single string improvised guitar-like instrument — Dan Maraya was fond of engaging in praise singing for the rich and the common people.

The folk musician’s most famous song was “Wak’ar Karen Mota’’, (Song of the driver’s mate) in appreciation of the young men who call passengers in and out of buses and do the dirty work of changing tyres.

With Prof. Victor Uwaifo’s timeless evergreen songs such as Joromi, Guitar Boy, Ekassa, Akwete, Ebiss Ebiss and more, he was reputed for his highlife melodies garnished by the dexterity of his guitar and captivating dance steps.

The Guitar Boy’s creation of Ekassa and Akwete music style greatly has helped in the development and showcase of the Benin culture to the world.

Also, Onyeka Onwenu uses her music and its timeless messages to promote the nation’s culture. Her music duet with King Sunny Ade entitled “Wait for Me’’, has remained evergreen.

It is remembered always as a song with deep lyrical message which was put together to help the government of that era fight seriously against the outburst of population explosion while also regulating it with the different family planning programmes put together by the government.

Her song, “African Woman’’, helped greatly in projecting the innate exquisiteness of the African woman giving them a sense of pride and belonging amid poverty, widowhood, rape, lack of care, hatred, humiliation and abandonment, among others.

Her evergreen classic, “Sodom and Gomorrah’’, is a biblical narrative of the popular story of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, a city destroyed by God due to their heedlessness and high level of immorality.

Legendary Juju Musician, Ebenezer Obey’s music transcends mere entertainment. His ability to weave thought-provoking proverbs and social commentary into his danceable compositions is outstanding.

Obey’s music often praise successful Nigerians and explore themes of faith and social justice.

Current musical contents pose serious worry to parents and commenting on this, legendary Fuji Musician, Dr Adewale Ayuba, advises co-artistes to be mindful of their musical lyrics and ensure it is such that can inspire listeners in the positive.

Ayuba also calls on National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to step up their activities in the area of censorship.

He says this is quite important considering the rate at which negative musical contents continue to affect the younger generation, leading them astray.

Similarly, Reggae musicians, Austin Peter, popularly known as “King Wadada’’ blames the laxity on the path of the NFVCB to do justice to musical video censorship.

He also notes that the media had its own blame as well for promoting obscene, provocative movies and musical videos through their stations.

“Government has a lot to do as regards obscene views and negative musical contents because it is obvious both media owners and the NFVCB are not doing enough.

“The future of our youths is at stake here. They are being exposed to social vices prematurely and these are beginning to send wrong signals to them as they want to practise whatever they see on the screens,’’ he says.

Also Onyeka Onwenu who chose to align with producers of such negative musical contents says change is constant and such development was mere response to change and societal happenings.

Onwenu, however, advises the contemporary musicians to be conscious of ensuring their music brings about social change.

At the forefront of promoting and preservation of Africa’s music of yesteryears is the Evergreen Musical Company, focused on ensuring the legacy of all music of yesteryears are properly preserved for the younger generation to learn from.

The late Chief Femi Esho, Chairman of Evergreen Musical Company, who saddled himself with the promotion and preservation of music of yesteryears was able to do that through his flagship concert entitled: “Ariya Eko’’.

He held Ariya Eko for some years where most of these evergreen artistes perform, bringing back beautiful memories of their music to their fans.

The company is an offshoot of Femi Esho’s hobby of collecting music which began when he was only 12 years old.

Esho, just few months to his death partnered with Dr Daniel Olukoya, founder of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries to build a musical museum which he said would be named “Evergreen Music Heritage Foundation’’.

The museum located at Oyedele Ogunniyi Street, Anthony Village in Lagos, could be considered as Esho’s parting gift for every music lover and the edifice will be completed before the end of 2024.

Bimbo Esho, the Managing Director of Evergreen Musical Company, who is a daughter to late Esho, said that the edifice would accommodate a music museum, music library, gallery showcasing head burst of artistes, display of over 1,000 pictures of Nigerian musicians from 1914 till date.

She explained that there would also be relics of the musicians’ costumes, old musical instruments, an event centre for music concerts, cinema theatre, recording studio and so much more.

“The museum, upon completion, will be an experience centre where people in and outside the country will be privileged to see our country’s musical worth and history.

“There will be on display music from 1914, musical relics, old musical instruments, head bust of artistes, original vinyl of artistes, books, documentaries, cassettes, reel to reel, gramophone as old as 100 years, journals, cassettes and more.

“The edifice is a place the youth can come to enjoy quality music and research into the past musical history of some of Nigeria’s most accomplished musicians of the 1950s, the 1960s down to the 1990s,’’ she said.

She cautioned that all hand must be on deck to ensure that children are not continually exposed to negative musical contents.

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