For many who don’t know, Nigeria is one of the world’s lovers of music. ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM writes on why only Nigerian musicians sing almost all genres of music.
Is it afro beat, Afropop, afro hip hop , juju music, reggae, raga, hip hop, jazz, techno, rock, gospel or the folklore . kind of music? All are in the Nigerian music industry.
For decades and centuries, music has been the bedrock of African lifestyle. When in sorrow, pain or joy, music is played. At traditional gatherings, homes, churches, mosques, on the streets, pubs, clubs, music keeps the environment alive. People gather to show love to the world through music. At concerts and political gatherings, it brings various kind of music together to the joy of politicians and their unsuspecting preys because they know that calling a musician would bring more votes themselves.
In the late ‘60s, Fela the Nigerian musical genius journeyed to Ghana to find a new melodic direction. It was there that he first called his music Afrobeat. Nigeria is a mix mash of over 500 tribes. Each with their unique cultures and style of music. This provides a vast resource of samples and styles for our artistes and contributes to the richness of our music. A close listen to some of their songs will reveal different elements not only from the different ethnic groups they have, but also from Africa and the world at large.
Though many people still see some Nigerian music and musicians as crap, in all said and done, it must be told that Nigeria produces more music and musicians in Africa and some part of the world with a population of over 200 million, and with multiple genres to feast from, it serves as a level playing ground for all.
Back in the 90’s when Nigerian music was hardly ever played by any local station, because of its lack of quality, rather than take to the streets carrying placards like some of our African brothers, they accepted responsibility.
They started by cloning foreign music (mainly American), and from there blended it with their local style, forming a fusion of Western and African and called it Afropop. Ghanaians also developed their brand of music which they called Hiplife.
Gradually Afropop grew in quality and replaced foreign music in clubs, parties and radio stations, to the point that over 90% of songs played in Nigeria right now is produced in Nigeria.
Nigerians are more exposed than their African neighbours. Yes I know other countries would argue, but it’s the simple truth. Nigerians are naturally curious, adventurous and more industrious. They travel more in search of greener pastures and bring back foreign cultures with them.
Nigerian artistes are well known all over the world. It takes only great minds like Nigerians to write songs in various Languages like Jamaican Patois which is a rich language first developed by African people. The language itself is hard to comprehend but Nigerians are well accustomed to it now and people like Patoranking , Cynthia Morgan and others are doing very well in that aspect.
Also, in the hip hop world, Ice prince Zamani, MI, Naeto C, VECTOR, are representing the American style. While others who are in other genres are doing very well for themselves.
Nigerian artistes like the late Dagrin, Olamide, Phyno and others have carved a niche for themselves in traditional hip hop. And today, the streets anthems are what people are craving for all over the world.
Nigerian musicians are sort for everywhere in the world and the close up shows and events with their kind of music.
Today, white people dance Nigerian streets dance which takes us to the visit of American artiste, Ciara who went all out on the street to show the world that Nigerian and Nigeria have come of age in its own genres, dancing to Atlanta, shoki and others.
There is no genre of music one would want to look at that a Nigerian is not having a stint in.