Tag Archives: Nigeria

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

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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

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“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

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

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

Presenting Africa’s 1st Private Online University

Expanding the benefits of e-learning & hybrid learning to the continent, here’s proudly presenting Africa’s Premium Private Online University founded by Gossy Ukanwoke of  Beni American University

Beni American University is an institution of higher learning that strongly believes that access to a global high quality education should not be limited by resources, finances, location or infrastructure. They believe that every African student should be well educated. The history of the institution stems from the core belief that education and the access to higher education is the human right of every youth and most especially in a growing economy that needs to tap into the very stronghold of its human capital capacity – the educated youths.

Motto : ”Access to Global Learning”

Beni American University is Africa’s first low cost international academic institution dedicated to the advancement and access of higher education to everyone. The high-quality, low-cost global educational model embraces the worldwide presence of the Internet and dropping technology costs to bring university-level studies within reach of millions of Nigerians. With the support of respected academics, humanitarians and other visionaries, Beni American University student body represents a new wave in global education. –  Facebook Page

A little bit about Gossy Ukanwoke

Gossy is a 26 year old  forward thinker and a bright entrepreneur. He has been referred to as  “Africa’s Top Technology Entrepreneur”.  His background is in Business and Technology. He had a Bachelors in Management Information Systems at Girne American University, North Cyprus. He grew up and had his early education in Nigeria. He is the  founder of Students Circle Network and he stepped down from the active management and operation of the network to focus on the creation of this new online university. He was also a  finalist at the Future Africa Awards 2012 in the Innovation in Education Category. He says in an Atlanta BlackStar Interview “Knowing the importance of education and seeing the need in West Africa was the main inspiration. There were other drops of serendipities which all summed up that education will be it for me” .

BAU Research & Development is reinventing learning in Sub-Saharan Africa through its leading projects – Proposed Beni American University, BAU Online and Students Circle Network by introducing new learning models geared towards entrepreneurial development and employability – See more at: http://beniamerican.org/#sthash.i8VzdlSK.dpuf
Gossy Ukanwoke – President  & Founder of Beni University

Here is his interview on NdaniTV

and another –> CNN African Start-Up interview captioned  Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerburg’ builds own school.

Beni American is Africa’s premium Distance Learning Institution. Transforming students, pushing the bounds of knowledge, and providing world class education – More info at  http://beniamerican.org/ . Feel free to share this post to all you know will benefit from this.

Beautifully Dreaming… Positively Doing..

xoxo

Tosinger

A Project Highlight of 2013

Hello Everyone,

Countdown! Countdown!  to the season’s festivities – Christmas, coming New Year et al. I know everyone’s getting busy busy busy. A friendly reminder of the essence of the celebrations – love & kindness, peace and joy, the ultimate gift of salvation from the reason for the season – Jesus! And as we climb the stairway of life, I pray it’s upward ever, backward never.

As a Creative Arts Consultant, I get to be involved with quite a few fun  and interesting projects (many people have wondered what I do professionally, apart from my artistic talent of singing/songwriting so this should clear that air, see right section for more info) and this year, a particular project was one of the highlights.  A pioneering,  phenomenal, history making project where I got to use practically almost all of my skills. 🙂 It was an experience. I was on board the team as a PR/Event Promotions Consultant ( My company Dreamweavers Entertainment) and as a Vocalist for the production of ‘Wedlock of the gods’, a play written by Nigeria’s first female playwright – the late Dr Zulu Sofola. The first of its kind in the US diaspora and a forerunner for more to come, an authentically African stage play, directed by New Nigeria Cinema & Nollywood’s Wale Ojo took place May/June 2013 in Atlanta. Thanks to Zulu Sofola Productions and Chi Ife Productions for making this possible.

Thanks to my friends at KokoAtDawn Productions who recorded these behind the scenes ‘mini doc’ clips of the journey of the production. Watch below.

Read the  post release of the play here

Video 1

psst psst – that’s the instrumental of my song ‘One Day’ playing in the background 🙂

Video 2

2014 Here we come!!

Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing…

xoxo

Tosinger

SUREGIFTS – Redefining Gifting in Nigeria.

Hello Friends, hope the weekend started off well. I’m excited to hear about SureGifts, a gift card company that launched in my motherland of Nigeria.  Nigerians can now buy gift cards for loved ones with ease. Also, with me in the diaspora and family in Nigeria, it’s a great and secure way to send gifts to loved ones for the holiday season. How innovative! So this is how it works. It’s a one-stop shop. You ‘gift’ gift cards to loved ones and they redeem it directly from the merchant, e-copy or hard copy.

Sometimes, words are not enough to express just how much you celebrate, appreciate, regard or love someone. At Suregifts, they make the art of gifting simpler but richer.

Suregifts logo site

So “Let’s say you’re in VI and you need a replacement phone asap and out of cash? Check your email. I just sent you a Samsung gift card”

 “I’m getting married? I don’t want a thousand kettles. Buy me a generic Suregifts gift card and I can shop wherever I want”

“I am in the diaspora, it’s my mother’s birthday in Lagos. I buy her a Suregifts card online, send her the confirmation, she picks up her birthday gift from the vendor”

LOGO TINY

You can buy a 50K Mothercare gift card for someone and send it to their email or have them send a printed version. They walk into Mothercare store and shop. Simple. It’s an online gifting hub, avoid the crowds, avoid the rush, give the right gifts.

Never expires!

Still not sure how SureGifts works? Watch the promo video:

In a nutshell:

For the sender, we offer the luxury of convenience. You don’t have to struggle to figure out the most ideal gift; neither do you have to go through the hassle of picking it up, wrapping and delivery. It’s all in a click of a button. For the recipient, get ready to free your storage room of un-preferred gifts. We know it’s the thought that counts, but it won’t hurt getting that thing you’ve always wanted instead!

Gift Cards from Suregifts are sent with love. They can be personalized with special messages and delivered just in time to ignite the widest smile. You can have it delivered to the recipients’ e-mail or physical addresses, and they can redeem at your selected vendor or anywhere Suregifts Cards are accepted. What’s more? Prices are usually cheaper on Suregifts than in-store, and Suregifts Gift Cards don’t expire!

Suregifts Wallpaper small 2

For more information and to be updated, check out their website at www.suregifts.com.ng Email at hello@suregifts.com.ng, Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/suregiftsNG Twitter at https://twitter.com/suregifts_ng

SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Thank me later 🙂

Beautifully Dreaming…..Positively Doing…

xoxo

Tosinger

You’ve got to see this:::Flash Mob – Naija Style At The Lagos MMA2 Airport

Proudly African, Proudly Nigerian!

Have you heard the saying “Naija no dey carry last” as in …while there is no perfect country, Nigeria has its own great highlights and talents doing the country proud and they would not ‘be last’ doing it.  Let’s enjoy this choreography/dance flash mob (which is getting quite customary in pop culture these days) This will be the first flashmob at an airport terminal in Nigeria.  It consists of a mix of professional dancers, cleaning company staff and the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services employees. The CEO, CEO’s wife and COO of the airport also participate at the end.Great way to close the year and keep the traveling public happy. Try to ignore the background comments of the mobile videographer (which is comic relief in itself) 😀

Enjoy!

If you’ve never been to Nigeria, here is a view of the kind of food/snacks you’ll see on a road trip.

(These pics are courtesy of Dapo Taiwo from his recent trip from Lagos-Abuja, thanks for sharing)

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Suya – Meat and oh so spicy pepper
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More Suya
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Grilled Plantains and Fried Yams (Dodo at Dundun)

Are your taste buds activated? If you are based internationally, Do Visit Nigeria sometime.. All the entertainment celebrities have already seen the light, Mariah Carey, Wyclef Jean and J Moss just left 🙂

Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing…

xoxo

Tosinger

‘Ile’ (Home) Music Video gets National Airplay

Hello Everyone,

How is the countdown to the end of 2013 looking like? Remember to always count your blessings and always believe. Never Give Up.  Little drops of water make a mighty ocean.  Realign your mind for even greater things in 2014. I was excited to wake up to a tweet from Pulse Records with the good news that my new music video ‘Ile’ (Home) will be airing on National US media outlets #WorldMusic. How sweet. Pulse Records is dedicated to redefining the modern record label by providing top-tier music opportunities to Independent & Unsigned artists. It’s time to It is time to be encouraged to make more real and fresh music with a real message #Inspiration

“How can they hear without proclamation”

Make music you LOVE, something that represents your mission and pride. Authenticity prevails for fan support – PulseRecords

If you have not seen the video, here it is: “Home is where the heart is”

Click image below to read the news

pulseThank you all for your support so far. Be inspired.

Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing…

xoxo

Tosinger