Man No Die… Music No Die ~ Gone But Not Forgotten

When it comes to music and general aura of the cultural creative, I am an old soul as evident in a huge section of my music taste. So it was with sparked interest and melancholy that I heard of the news of the death of Nigerian highlife, afrogroove, afrofunk  musical legend ‘Bola Johnson’ who ironically, his discography included a title tagged ‘Man no die’ . I got the news of his demise, as posted on the wall of a fellow afro old-school music connoisseur who is a music historian, DJ & owner of ‘Comb & Razor’, Uchenna Ikonne. The news was broken to him this morning, however Mr Bola Johnson passed on recently, April 6, 2014 to be precise. No further info on the circumstances of his death. May his soul rest in peace. His music legacy lives on.

From the vaults of Philips in Nigeria comes this collection of mysterious trumpeter and bandleader Bola Johnson. Unmissable 60s and early 70s recordings for all highlife and Afrobeat fans. A missing jewel from a golden age of Nigerian music – Vampisoul  Records

 Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beat

About Bola Johnson – as culled from a VampiSoul Publication which now links to Munster Records.

Up till now, Bola Johnson only seems to figure in the margins of the high octane Lagos music scene of the late 60s and early 70s. He may have never had the focus, the career longevity or the catalogue of titans like Afrobeat’s Fela Kuti, juju’s King Sunny Ade or highlife’s Victor Olaiya, but his music took its own magnificent route through the popular music of the time. His joyful treasure of a voice embellished every style in his repertoire, from the sweetly melodic heights of highlife and palm wine to the soulful skanking of Afro-blues/funk and Afrobeat; his red hot trumpet scorches its way to your yearning soul; his tunes vibrate with infectious hooks and undulating rhythms; he seems equally at home composing across the stylistic range… Funk? Calypso? Highlife? You got it!

Bola Johnson was born in 1947 into a musical family. He attended Livingstone Academy in Lagos and, after that, the prestigious Eko Boys High School. In 1962 he dropped out of school to follow his musical destiny. His trumpet dreams were inflamed by his time playing with Nigerian trumpet-playing legend and highlife maestro Eddy Okonta, but he joined Eric Akeaze’s highlife band as a singer and maracas player in that same year, then resident at the Easy Life Hotel, in Mokola, Ibadan, which was the hub of the music scene in Nigeria in the 60s. When Eric Akeaze and his band left the Easy Life Hotel, Bola was asked to stay and set up the Easy Life Top Beats. They also toured the northern part of Nigeria. When Bola returned south, this time to Lagos later in 1968, he and his musicians were match fit and ready to make their funkiest tracks.

In 1964, while still only 17 years old, Bola had been signed to the Philips West African record label, and he recorded many of the rootsier tracks you can hear on this album as 7-inch singles. In 1968, in Lagos, he recorded the funkier material on his “Papa Rebecca Special” LP and later a rootsier album entitled “Ashewo Ajegunle Yakare”. Given how great he sounds, you’ve just got to ask exactly why more material wasn’t recorded. According to Bola, the A&R people at Philips in those days allowed sentiment for the past to override their judgment in promoting new artists, because they had highlife giants on their label such as Osita Osadebe, Rex Lawson, Victor Olaiya and Bobby Benson, and so it was hard for younger artists to get their attention, backing and consequent exposure.

Additionally, it was always difficult for him to own musical instruments, and bandleaders were the people who owned and supplied their musicians with musical hardware. Of course, you must factor in the civil war and the consequent decrease in popularity of highlife. Then the rise of juju, Afrobeat and the briefly fashionable Afro-rock. Classic and unique as Bola’s approach was, it didn’t seem to light the same kind of fuse for young Lagos. As his musical opportunities began to go off the boil, Bola went into broadcasting, firstly at Radio Nigeria Ibadan in 1970 and then he moved to the FRCN (Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria) in 1973. Sometimes he played at the Cool Cat in Ebute Metta, Lagos.

Bola Johnson  1947 -2014

Listen to his “Lagos sisi” track

Boomkat product review of ‘Man No Die’ CD

The irrepressible Vampisoul label presents a wonderful overview of Nigerian legend, Bola Johnson. With all the attention afforded to Fela Kuti, Victor Olaiya and King Sunny Ade, Bola seems to have slipped by all but the most ardent collectors and Nigerian natives, that is until Kayode Samuel painstakingly researched and dug deep in the crates to collect these twenty two track, spread over two discs. As you’ll discover when dipping in, Bola was a charming personality who could adapt his charming vocals and trumpet playing to a range of styles, from Calypso to Funk, Highlife and Afrobeat. Disc 1 contains the Afrobeat spiced palm wine styles of ‘Asewo Ajegunle Yakare’, the frisky merengue-like rhythms of his house band Easy Life Top Beats on ‘Oro Aiye’, and the swinging highlife of ‘Iyawo Kokoro Mi Da’ with its charming soap opera intro. Disc 2 opens with the killer drums of ‘Mimo Mimo Loluwo’ (sample hunters beware), before firing up the deadly James Brown-debted Yoruba Funk of ‘Ezuku Bozo’ and ‘Lagos Sisi’, plus the infectious blues licks and conga shake of ‘Lagos Special’, and heartwarming rootsy Highlife in ‘Edumare Soro’. Once word gets out about this album, there’s gonna be a stampede from the Afrobeat lovers!

Bola Johnson - Man No Die image

Whatever happens to music royalties of legendary Afro musicians? What is the structure in place for African musicians to get what they rightfully and legally deserve when they are long retired or gone? or after foreign music tastemakers see the treasure in their work and take over representation/distribution, do they get what they rightfully deserve? This will be a great “look into” for future and I’ll be checking with my friend, Uchenna Ikonne, on his thoughts on that soon.

Talking about mysterious legends, this video documentary about William Onyeabor,the man and his music, intrigued me so much,  to say the least. It is interesting how the relevance of ‘old music’ is now catching and riding on the waves of the ‘modern age’. Watch this.

Keeping the legacy of afro music alive, and promoting and supporting talented indie afro~artists today, who make contemporary afrofusion music on the continent and in the diaspora, is a passion/project of mine tagged ‘Afrodreamfest’. Check on it and be in the know and kindly spread the word. Thank you!

Beautifully Dreaming, Positively doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

FASHION SPOTLIGHT : Ikiré Jones SS ’14 Collection

Ikiré Jones is a Menswear company that marries African aesthetics with Neapolitan tailoring.  Conceived in Nigeria, made in Brooklyn & Philadelphia, USA by Wale Oyejide one of Esquire Magazine‘s “Best Dressed Real Men in America”.

The Designer

Born and raised in Nigeria, and like many West Africans, traveled back and forth to the United States and other parts of the world while growing up.  Also an Afrobeat musician, an attorney and a menswear designer. No formal fashion training. Inspired by images of people who look at ease and comfortable with who they are.  He says in an OkayAfrica 2013 interview

“I am personally not aware of any brand that has combined high-end Italian construction and African elements, and presented them with the sort of inspired-narratives that I have” 

He collaborates with bespoke tailor Samuel Hubler.

Photography by David Evan McDowell
Wale Oyejide. Photography by David Evan McDowell

In an era where caricatures parade the streets like Emperors in New Clothes, we pride ourselves on offering a new perspective through an old lens; a new dialect for an old tongue; an irreverent approach that twists the portrait askew while paying homage to the most classic of canvases—the suit.Our suiting is fully canvassed, and made to order upon request. Our accessories are thoroughly labored-over, both in their design conception and hand-rolled creation. Flying in the face of a prevailing custom where accessories are a meaningless after-thought, each of our squares/scarves tells a story which carries the wearer, and all who bear witness, to another place and time. – Ikire Jones 

Here are a few of the latest Ikiré Jones  SS 14 collection tagged  ‘The Untold Renaissance

Photography by David Evan McDowell

01_MG_0111.jpg

02_MG_0094.jpg

08_MG_0284.jpg

09_MG_0287.jpg

15_MG_0143.jpg

16_MG_0396.jpg

“I hesitate to speak as an authority on “African fashion.” I don’t consider what I do exclusively African, or made exclusively for an African audience. Though my work is inspired by my African heritage, there is no doubt that my garments are of Western origins. For me, the label is much less important than the content and quality of the art being made” – Wale Oyejide  of Ikiré Jones

For more info about Ikire Jones:

http://ikirejones.com/

http://ikirejones.tumblr.com/

http://www.facebook.com/IkireJones

Beautifully Dreaming… Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

A Fashionably Sockless Giveaway

Have you ever wondered, like me, how the feet of guys in native African wear or contemporary dapper/hip getup who appear not to wear socks; survive all the sweat, stink and perspiration without socks?.  Well, it has been brought to my attention that they might  just  be wearing Mocsocs.  You’ve seen one? or want one? Read on.

According to the website:

Mocsocs are the finest quality “half socks” or “antislip socks” that are geared towards the refined gentleman or lady that chooses to wear fine quality loafers, drivers, moccasins, boat shoes, saddle shoes, and even in recent fashion, tennis shoes and oxfords without socks. Mocsocs are socks that cover just the front half of the gentleman’s (or lady’s) foot providing comfort and protection, in a fashionable way.  – Mocsocs

Mocsocs are the best no-show socks brand in the fashion market that place a big emphasis on comfort and style. Specially designed to address the issue of perspiration while considering a no-socks look, value, style and function, these premium half socks and anti-slip socks come in 80% polyester/20% spandex and 100% cotton alternatives. Mocsocs are already a hit with celebrities and fashion trendsetters.

It looks interesting but I guess it does the job, the sockless, stylish look while avoiding the stink 🙂 . They are doing a Spring Giveaway for the week so if you wanna jump on it and sample it, just like/follow their social media and share the graphic on their facebook page or repost on instagram or retweet on twitter the  Mocsocs giveaway graphic  and hashtag #MocSocsGiveaway for a chance to be entered to win free Mocsocs merchandise and probably along with it, a $25 gift card . All the best.

Beautifully Dreaming.. Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

 

 

Easter In Audio~Visuals

If you google ‘Easter’,  colorful photos of beautifully painted and decorated eggs adorn the screen but you and I know that’s not the real essence of what Easter is all about. I’d seen the movie  ‘Son of God’ and was immensely moved by the depictions of Jesus’ life on earth and the sacrifices he had to pay for humanity (film adapted from the bible series).

Producers and Actress Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel, The Bible) and Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor) brought the epic miniseries “The Bible” to television audiences around the world. Mixing adventure, action and drama with authentic tales from biblical history, the series drew acclaim for retelling the stories in a way relevant to today’s audiences.

The pictures below are from the movie. A recommended watch and a great  to-do this Easter.

It brings the story of Jesus’ life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score. The film spans from Jesus’ humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.

Movie: ‘Son of God’ The Film Adaptation of ‘The Bible’

View trailer

 A song for the season ::: “He paid it all” by Wess Morgan.

Have a Happy Easter everyone..

Beautifully Dreaming…..Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

HONOUR AMONG ALL – A Brief Review of A Novella by @VivianKayAuthor

I’ve never really picked up a publication that is tagged “Christian Fiction”; motivational, inspirational books? Yes, but not fiction. So I approached “Honour Among All – A Novella” cautiously and with skepticism. The fact that it’s a short story, a novella, helped too 🙂  but oh! was I impressed and impacted? Yes I was.  “Honour Among All by Vivian Kay” nicely puts together a great story line about the raw details  of everyday living among Christian believers. Topics that exist but are not out-rightly discussed among Christians or the average moralist for that matter. The story is real, deep, inspirational while breaking the walls of hypocrisy. After reading the novella, my thoughts were “This may be fiction, but these stuff happen out there, people (we all) are dealing with life issues and surely need God more than ever” I will not give it all out. Check on it. Here’s a synopsis:

After many years of happiness, Moni Badmus’s marriage is crumbling and she doesn’t know what to do. Desperate to save her home, she goes along with her husband’s suggestion on how to spice up their conventional sex life. Ladi Badmus gets exactly what he wants. But his thirst for excitement remains unsatiated. The couple find themselves drawn deep into a secret world until the risks they both embrace, exacts a steep price. In this emotionally charged tale of temptation, sacrifice and redemption, we see how love and faith erodes with promises not kept and how in the midst of man-made chaos, God’s compassion stands sure.

It’s available on Amazon Kindle here and it’s only $3.49, also available on Barnes & Noble Nook here  It’s worth the buy and highly recommended. Give a friend it might just save their relationship.


About the Author

Vivian Kay is a debut Christian author living in Canada’s banana belt. When she is not writing or daydreaming about writing, she’s cooking, playing scrabble or snuggling up with a good book.Penning Tales About Imperfect Characters Meeting A Perfect God http://viviankay.wordpress.com/

Honour Among All

Beautifully Dreaming… Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

P.S – Speaking of Christian Books, if you are in the US, stay tuned to watch Olu and Kay Taiwo discuss their new book – Vision Guided Life – on The Word Network “One on One with Damon Davis”  on April 20 (See graphic below, book Review coming soon on the blog)

FREE MUSIC DOWNLOAD #LAGOSLULLABYE FROM @SIJIMUSIC

My AfroSoulful  -“brother from another mother“, (he just doesn’t know it  yet or maybe he does 😀 ) – just released a new ditty so organic and so cool to soothe our souls from all the heat of the moment.

Click on Photo for more info about Siji

He says:

I’d always loved Scorsese’s Taxi Driver particularly the scene in which the protagonist, Travis Bickle drives his cab around the mean and seedy streets of New York city’s Times Square.

Taking a cue from this timeless classic, I sought to take in and showcase the grittier side of Lagos in line with the songs candid lyrics. My kinsman and co-producer, Ade Bantu was on hand to capture me singing my heart away in the cramped backseat of our gypsy cab as it snaked its way past police check points, busy market streets, grinding traffic, admiring fans and petty traders, all of which make up this colorful and manic metropolis.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Las Gidi (Lagos) in all it’s rugged and funky technicolor glory. Kindly enjoy and remember to share this with all your friends globally.

‘Siji

I’ve always loved his sound and style and followed his project ‘Elder’s Corner’ for a while now. So it is with positive energy that I share his latest offering, a free download. Enjoy Lagos LullabyE. Click on the pic to get yours.

LAGOS LULLABYE cover art

And here is the visual, feed your eyes (and ears) I love the capture and genuine incorporation of images from everyday Lagos

Beautifully Dreaming.. Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

Disheartening News From The Home Country – A Trio of Songs

There it goes again… the news that makes your heart sink…. that makes worry creep on you like tangled snakes trying to eat the flesh of one’s heart away..

 Abuja ( Capital City of Nigeria) – 88 killed, over 200 injured in Abuja bombing – “A total of 88 people were killed today when a car laden with improvised explosive devices (IEDS) went off at the Nyanya Motor Park”VanguardNG …………………and then followed by More than 200 people are feared dead in an explosion which rocked an outskirts of Abuja, the Nigerian capital, this morning” PremiumTimesNG.

So disheartening and unthinkable what humans can do to one another, the wickedness, the inhumanity… Gory pictures fill our screens, we cannot take it any longer… As Aton Ulzen Appiah (of Ghana Think Foundation)  wrote on his G+ ” Sad news of this Abuja bombing that’s thought to have left about 200 dead. The root of the Boko Haram problem must be solved immediately.” Someone replied on his post I doubt something like that can happen in ____ . In _____ , we fight with our mouth not our hands and weapons” 

But

I am because we are. We are human only through the humanity of other human beings. "A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed." - Desmond Tutu

The day we start to think of ourselves as part of a same body, Christians and Muslims, Nigerians and other African countries one to the other, as brothers and sisters – (Africa Oh Africa, we should unite to help one another, sympathy and empathy ), the day we understand that killing others means we are actually killing ourselves, then that day the world will be at peace. As it is, this spiritual truth is yet to be comprehended. Praying for comfort for the affected families.

Comfort For The Tears

Africa Unite

 

We have to BE FREE, we are all together in the same boat of humanity.

Photo: #StopTheKilling up on the  #Blog #songdedication. God comfort the families of the departed http://tosingersblog.com/2014/04/14/disheartening-news-from-the-home-country-a-trio-of-songs/

Beautifully Dreaming… Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

FASHION SPOTLIGHT : Babatunde Designs (Gareth Cowden)

Somebody say ‘Pan African’ Fashion! and ‘Babatunde’ will appear. No Babatunde is not a person in this situation .. :D, it’s the name of a fashion collection founded by  Gareth Cowden in 2009.Gareth Cowden, born in Springs but grew up in Randburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.  . Although all his fashion items are made locally, Gareth has grown his brand not only in SA but all over the world with the likes of Solange Knowles wearing his designs. The line consists of varied fashion items including bow and skinny ties, clutches, umbrellas, laptop/iPad sleeves, 5 panel caps, hair bows, ladies cravats and more.

home teaser1

How interesting to be from South Africa and name his collection, a Yoruba (Nigerian) name – ‘Babatunde’ – Gareth says of the origin of his brand name in an OkayAfrica 2011 interview:

Babatunde is a Yoruba name. The direct translation in English means: ” The father comes back” or ” the father returns.” I loved the name and meaning as I feel that we need more fathers in Africa. Africa needs men to behave like men and take more responsibility for their families, Africa’s growth and also themselves.

IMG_7083fc

logo

babatunde-collab-blk_610W

Here is the recently released 2014 collection with fabrics sourced from Ghana and Benin. Of the new collection Cowden states,

 “We’ve sourced materials and prints that have the energy, dignity and playfulness of the people who made them.” “It’s why we exist, to express our love for Africa in something the whole world can appreciate. We are original because Africa is original, we just translate it into a language the modern world can understand and enjoy. We believe Africa is worth protecting – we do it by celebrating what’s beautiful about it. We stand for strong family values and all that is truly African.

A few of my favs from the Babatunde 2014 LookBook – fun, fresh and edgy.

2014 Look Book

BH_ACCRA

HB_YENDI

IP_JAMBO

UM_TUMU

Full collection here . From a previous collection is a beach umbrella, caps and handbags line , and here’s a few in my favorite colors

IMG_4095 copy

IMG_4030 copy

IMG_4084 copy

For more information on the brand, please visit the
Website at  www.babatunde.co.za

 If anything, I would hope that Babatunde can change the world’s opinion that Africa is a rural, traditional and backward continent. Hopefully we can show people around the globe that Africa is a progressive, creative, and contemporary design force and encourage the world to support Africa through buying African products rather than egotistical debt relief programmes. Or is that too harsh? – Gareth Cowden to OkayAfrica

Beautifully Dreaming.. Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

AFRICA39 WRITERS LIST IS OUT!

What is the Africa39 Project?

The Africa39 Project is part of the series of events and programs celebrating Port Harcourt’s selection as UNESCO World Book Capital for 2014 .Port Harcourt City in Rivers State, Nigeria was conferred the status of UNESCO World Book Capital in 2014, the first African city south of the Sahara to have such a status.

Following a submission call December of last year by Binyavanga Wainaina, coordinator of the Africa39 Longlist; the Kenyan author was looking for 120 of the most promising fiction authors. And this month, Africa39 announces 39 of the most promising African writers of fiction under the age of 40.

 

The Africa39 Project is a partnership between the Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts Ltd., UK; and the Rainbow Book Club (Port Harcourt, Nigeria). The Africa39 Project aims to “discover adventurous young Africans who will redefine our literary ecosystem in the future”. Wainaina created a longlist that is at least 50% female, as well as one which provides for writers writing anonymously for safety reason and those who compose in Braille. Writers of all genres of prose fiction were encouraged to apply.

Africa39 is a Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club Project which aims to select and celebrate 39 of the best African south of the Sahara writers under the age of 40. It will be launched at a festival in UNESCO’s World Book Capital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in October 2014.

Africa39 seeks to produce a possible snapshot of our shared African future. Some countries have a recent vibrant writing culture in African languages. The long-list panel is committed to reserving a minimum of 25 places in the long-list for writers under 40 who have written fiction in any African language.

The selection of the 39 writers is made using the following criteria:

• The writers are chosen by a panel of well-known judges
• The selected writers have to be under the age of 40 and to come from the region or diaspora
• The selected authors need to have at least one work of fiction published and potential for development
• Publishers, literary agents and critics from all over the world are consulted to create the longlist of authors

The judges selected from up to 200 submissions researched by Binyavanga Wainaina, founder of the Nairobi-based literary magazine Kwani?, and the writers names will be featured in Port Harcourt and at the London Book Fair in April 2014.

We have entered into this long-list making project with an openness to non-traditional ideas on what is “a published writer”, and are therefore open, even in this short time, to discover adventurous young Africans who will redefine our literary ecosystem in the future. – Africa39

Read more about the project here 

Congratulations to all who made the list which includes ADICHIE NGOZIE, Chimamanda; BABATUNDE Rotimi;  BREW-HAMMOND, Nana;  SHONEYIN, Lola; FOLARIN, Tope; SELASI Taiye among others, see full list here. Their entries will be published in the Africa 39 anthology.

Beautifully Dreaming… Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

Three Nigerian Friends & Their Tedx Talks Worth Sharing

I am inspired to present to you, my fellow Nigerians who are doing great things, expressing their talents and walking in their callings, in their different spheres of influence in the diaspora. They were recently recognized to give Ted Talks in their respective resident cities.

I have interacted with them over time and I am surely blessed to ‘know’ them. I call them my ‘social media comrades’ and hopefully I believe, Deo Volente, we shall cross paths in real life.  Get acquainted, watch and be inspired.

Here’s presenting Yejide Kilanko, Ayokunle Falomo and Kafayat Quadri and their inspirational talks on TedX

Yejide Kilanko – Canada

Author-Picture-Yejide-Kilanko-2013

Born in Ibadan, Nigeria, Yejide Kilanko is a writer of poetry, fiction and a therapist in children’s mental health. A mother and wife, she currently lives with her family in Chatham, Ontario.Yejide’s debut novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, a national bestseller, was published by Penguin Canada, April 2012 and Pintail Books (Penguin USA) January 2013.

The novel has been translated into German and Thai.In 2012, Yejide was named one of the top five hottest up-and-comers on the Canadian writing scene by the Globe and Mail. Her next book, A Deep and Distant Shore, is forthcoming from Penguin Canada, winter 2015.

www.yejidekilanko.com

 

Ayokunle FalomoHouston, Texas

writer. storyteller. dreamer. poet – whose pen is a metaphor for a shovel, to unearth those things that make us: human.

“So, what brought you here?”, or the more direct variant “Why are you here?”, is a question I’ve been asked quite a bit. I’ll attempt to answer that briefly but I’m sure there will be more to talk about. It started with a move here to the United States with my Dad, November of 2007 after the completion of my high school education in Nigeria.I graduated from the University of Houston in the Fall of 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology (minor in Medicine and Society) with the intention of pursuing Clinical Psychology. Life had different plans however. Close to the time of applying for Graduate School, I found out about & switched interests to School Psychology (which I currently pursue at Sam Houston State University). When I’m not doing any Psychology related stuff, I write & perform poems that attempt to answer yet another question “what makes us human?”

| Blog: #ofDreamsAndDeeds
about.me/AFalomo

 

Kafayat QuadriMalaysia

Kafayat Quadri started playing guitar at the age of 13 years. Her father, a land surveyor introduced her to the guitar since she was 6 years old. He later bought her a mouth organ which he taught her how to play. He played tunes from Rex Lawson, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Haruna Ishola on the guitar and mouth organ sometimes accompanied with the talking drum.
Kafayat’s first guitar performance was at her secondary school (FGGC, Shagamu) in 1996 at the school’s Annual Musical Concert…

Kafayat Quadri – Guitarist, Poet, Singer/Songwriter. Connect at https://www.facebook.com/KM.Quadri

Beautifully Dreaming.. Positively Doing…

xoxo

Tosinger