Tag Archives: Music

Blame it on my chi.

Ndewo nu, Igbo ndi oma n’agu akara edemede m n’aka  ugbu a. Kedu ka unu mere? And good day to all you non-Igbo readers as well!

This post is about Flavour N’abania so if you’re tired of hearing me talk about him, biko kwuruga – just shift to one side, as we say in Nigeria.

Flavour N'abania

Let’s have a moment of silence to fully appreciate God’s work, please.

Eh-he, where was I? Yes, so I understand as a Christian that whatever I ask for of my heavenly father will be given. Matthew 7:7 – ‘Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.’

In this case it translates as ‘Seek F(l)avour and ye shall find F(l)avour.’ Hallelujah? Amen!


Is this because Christianity also makes provision for those times when you ask and do not receive – it is simply not in God’s plan? He knows what is best for you; you’re supposed to ‘Wait upon the Lord and he shall renew thine strength. (Isaiah 40:31). So this would mean  that meeting Flavour now or at any other time would be somehow bad for me.

 I don’t attend the so-called ‘New Generation’ churches but I find that a lot of them believe in speaking words into action – less waiting, more…commanding. I am comfortable with this approach with regards to my current Flavourless existence because it is similar to the Igbo belief system.

We Nwa afo Igbo believe in chi, your personal destiny, inseparable from your will. This is not a god to be bartered or traded or destroyed if they do not do your bidding.  This chi is both the physical manifestation of your will and the will itself.

So you see, I simply refuse to believe that it is not God’s plan for me to meet Flavour N’abania. I refuse. Mba. No. Nicht. Non. It is simply that my chi slumbers. For how else will you explain that ALL of my friends have met, touched, danced with or interviewed the Flavoursome One, eh?

Hear one of them : “Nwoke mara mma o. Skin bu so so mma eh!” (“He is so fiiiiiiiine and his skin is so lovely!”)

Needless to say, we have since parted ways.

I promised no more Flavour for a while on this blog, and I kept my promise both to myself and to you. I boycotted his music, I did not speak his name or allow anyone else to do so. Heck I even stopped watching  Alien vs Predator which I love because Predator’s  hairstyle reminds me of Flavour’s.

Now I have gone back to him in force, starting today. Flavour if you are reading this, I AM COMING FOR YOU. You cannot escape.

It is destiny.

If you have Spotify, and you speak Igbo listen to the skit below. It is supposed to be what happens when a group of Igbo boys hang out in a beer garden with the purpose of picking up chicks. The conversation is HILARIOUS. I would love to translate it but I have a feeling that it will make the whole thing dry and humourless.

Flavour – Skit By Waga G, Loye & Falvour

Ije Enu: Wartime and the music of Celestine Ukwu.

“Eeeeeeee! Bebi m eeeee!” The woman screamed. The veins in her neck were knots of  rope squeezing the scream from her throat. On cue, my sisters and I burst out laughing.

“Rewind it again!” we cried. My elder sister obliged and we all laughed again as the woman, her voice hoarse, threw her hands on her head and cried for her dead baby. The camera moved behind her to a swollen-bellied baby lying in a man’s arms. The man gritted his teeth, grunting. The child’s eyes rolled back into hollowed-out temples, white with thin black arcs showing under its eyelids.

It wasn’t so much the woman we were laughing at, as much as the peculiarity of her cries. We didn’t understand. I for one, was four.

As the woman’s wails faded away, the song we called the ‘Mummy song’ but which is actually titled ‘Ije Enu’ came up underneath it.  And with it, my introduction to Celestine Ukwu.

Celestine Ukwu

We have been very fortunate, my family. On both sides, we didn’t really lose anyone in the war. All five of my mother’s brothers went away to the front lines and all five of them came back. All my father lost was four years when he could have been going to University learning how to save lives but which he spent building ogbunigwe bombs to destroy them instead. I would like to think that it gave him great insight as a surgeon.

My great-uncle’s loss was often recounted with great gnashing of teeth on his part. He lost all of his property in Port Harcourt when the Nigerian government saw it fit to reward the war efforts of the non-Biafran side with Biafrian loot, to hear him tell it. My uncle would get particularly agitated as he told of knocking on the door of his many properties and being told in no uncertain terms where to stick his ‘landlordship.’

It wasn’t until I was sufficiently grown up that I heard that woman’s “Eeeeeeee! Bebi m eeeee!” cry for exactly what it was; despair, pain, sorrow all wrapped up in one. It wasn’t until we were grown that our parents told us about the comrades they had lost, childhood friends and neighbours who they might have inadvertently inhaled as they burned or tasted as they blew up next to them in tunnels or bushes.  I understood that  they feared to tell us these stories as children because they did not want us burdened with the knowledge of such atrocities. Or maybe it was a different kind of fear; a lot of Igbo families did not  trust the government, they were afraid of the army and the police was certainly not their friend as the Nigerian motto claimed. There was always a risk that we would repeat what we heard so our parents just didn’t talk because they did not wish to invite trouble.

I began to gnash my teeth long after my great-uncle died as I thought of all that property taken away from him, how he died poor and nearly broken in my village Oba, so small that it escaped the war altogether but not so much that it did not have more than its fair share of refugees or draftees or lost sons.

I understood the bitterness; why some people will never allow intermarriage in their families from either side and – though it is not my philosophy – how hard it is to convince them otherwise, how much of a numpty you will look if you even try. Where do you start preaching the message of unity from, born more than a decade after the war ended?  How can there be any sort of healing when nobody is willing to acknowledge from either side what went wrong? When wounds are still fresh from where people had their hopes and dreams and desires torn, cut or ripped clean away?

Where I come from, people still count their riches in Biafran shillings. They say ‘During the war I was so-and-so’, and they spit when they recount handing over their hard-earned money for a measly amount of Nigerian naira. All fingers of the hand were not supposed to be equal but after the way, they were all cut down to size.

And through all this, the one thing I came away with was a deep, abiding love for Celestine Ukwu, a wise man, a philosopher. A man whose music for me, has become more than just the soundtrack to horrific images of the Nigerian-Biafran War (Vol 1-3). His message of peace and togetherness speaks not just to a bygone era but to what we can be if only we put our minds to it.

I am not sure I could watch that woman screaming now. I hope she found some peace in her life.

In defence of Tonto Dike as a creative being.

Eh-hen. They have come to see what I am talking about.

I didn’t want to put a post up when the whole hullabaloo was going on over Tonto’s two singles ‘Get High’ and ‘Itz Ova‘ released about six to eight weeks ago – I didn’t want it to get lost jokes about how she was responsible for earthquakes and such, seeing as I have no proof of those.

But in the light of her latest offering, I thought it was topical again so here goes.

I’ll start by saying that I’m neither a fan nor a ‘hater’ of Tonto. This is important because it means I am probably the only unbiased person in Nigeria on the topic of Ms Dike. I don’t care one way or another about her tattoos, or the fact that she seems to have gone several shades lighter since the start of her film career; I am not one of those people who cares about the ‘message’ she is sending to young people by either, since I assume young people are not stupid and her brand is pretty clear. Her accent makes me frown a little but that’s purely from a broadcaster’s standpoint. I am aware that she would sound more intelligent if she was not concentrating so much on sounding American (?), that it’s difficult  to understand what she is saying.

Now that’s done, my point is simple; Creative people gotta create.

Tonto for whatever real or imagined flaws she has, is a creative person – an actress. Her job is to keep us entertained on film. She’s simply chosen to take her talents elsewhere. Did she sleep with President Goodluck? No. Has she declared herself the risen Christ? No. Did she steal from public coffers or stick a smouldering cigar up her fanny on live television? I don’t think so. (Am I giving her ideas? Maybe.) All she did was choose another medium of self-expression. And Nigerians HATE her for it. Dare to dream? Please. Stand still, Tonto! We’re trying to laugh at you.

While I understand and respect the rights of anyone to critique material in the public domain, I think the critique should be about the material presented. The level of vitriol or praise should also be proportionate and separate from perceived personal – as opposed to professional – failings . It is hard, I know.

The defence might be that a lot of people fail to see the difference in the two parts when it comes to someone in the public eye and thus, might consider their reaction to be honest, when to the rest of the world, it is obvious that we – Nigerians- revel in hyperbole. Observe:





Ridiculous. Funny (and sometimes insensitive in the wake of tragedy, but I guess people had to find a way to do the flooding and Aluu4 jokes seeing as nobody in their own families were affected).

Reading comments for her videos on YouTube, people implore her to ‘Stick to what you know’ but how else are you supposed to know what you’re good at if you don’t try? And how else are you supposed to grow as an artiste if you are not allowed to experiment?  We complain about the quality of our artistes and their portfolio and yet we hate them when they try to diversify or better themselves. Ah-ahn! Which way Nigeria?

Yes, she doesn’t have the best voice and her tracks are rather auto-tune heavy, but it’s not any more than most Nigerian ‘musicians’ use in their songs – which we see it fit to bump and grind to on weekends. This isn’t even her first rodeo, she has had more natural-sounding songs, like this one with fellow actress, Patience Ozokwor.

She isn’t the first creative to try two or more media in the world; James Franco has his hands n so many pies, it’s like he’s the oven, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Juliette Lewis are both rockstars on the side, Dawn French is a writer and Onyeka Owenu and RMD went into politics – yes, I said it. Politics is ‘creative’ industry. Before you film purists attack me for comparing Tonto to people with ‘actual talent’, may I please remind you that society  – and possibly you, purist person – did not always look kindly on the aforementioned people trying other things as well. They had to prove themselves first, hence the comparison.

Moving on. We should give the woman an award. Heck, she’s succeeded where even people like Zik and his fellows failed. No food? Nepa messing you about? No money to treat your malaria? No problem! Tonto’s tracks are available for you to bond over with your sick child. Why pay tithes when you can indirectly pay Tonto for downloads? Nigeria was united in her singular hatred of all things Tonto; all the hackers, fraudsters, robbers, serial porn-viewers and any bored youth with access to  the internet put their talents towards one purpose in the days that followed the release of her singles. President Goodluck is still struggling to create jobs but this woman did it in one day!

Let’s make 17th of October our Unification Day, to hell with Independence.

And for an artiste whose currency is controversy, she’s laughing all the way to the bank. In the words of the woman herself:

Poko poko baby!

Now who wants to get high?