Nigeria…what do I know about it? Well, beyond geography (Nigeria belongs to the top 10 biggest countries in Africa in terms of population, land area, economy, etc.), as a young girl in Congo, Nigeria was synonymous to dramatic movies. In fact, Nollywood was already making its wave back in Kinshasa and the Nigerian movies were popular for both the drama, quality of images and the graphical depiction of trauma, spiritism and death. No, I was not fond of Nollywood movies, though the Scarlet Woman may have changed my disposition a little bit…but I digress 🙂 Years went by, and Nigeria became the country with fraudulent emails and money schemes. Then, came the Ebola outbreak.
However, Nigeria has much more to offer than my lack of understanding of Nollywood (which, by the way, ranks as the third largest film industry in the world per Wikipedia). One has to admit that the quality of images and screenplay far outshine most movies produced by other Africans. Also, the country is richer than the preconception resulting from the email blasts or the craziness around the terrible disease. In fact, I admire the resilience of its people, which transcends in their international presence in fashion, music and entertainment. You can just look at the number of Nigerian designers who have made my weekly African Designer list, or the popularity of the Gele and Yoruba weddings (you should check Nigerian Wedding on Instagram, simply beautiful!)
Today, I would like to focus on a small part of Nigerian music (checkout yet another good Wikipedia write-up). I am fond of the group P-Square but do not know much about Nigerian music history so I browsed the web and came up with the following insight into Nigerian music:
- As expected, Nigerian music is diverse but mainly revolving around influences from three main cultural groups: Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo
- The Hausa influence is present in use of percussion instruments (goje, tambura drum, kakaki and talking drum per AllAfrica). They also have arabic influence (muslim connection). Listen to one traditional Hausa song here.
- The Igbo music has been influenced by other cultures (including guitar instrumental tune from Congo-Zaire!). You can listen to this song by Prince Nico for his mother here. The tunes are very close to Congolese music of 1960’s-1970’s.
- Yoruba music is the most widely known today (per different claims). It’s a mix of Igbo style with Western tunes (Hip Hop), Jamaican reggae and jazz. allAfrica lists 2Face Idibia in this category (I love African Queen…)
As far as P-Square is concerned, Wikipedia makes available a good article on the twin brothers and their evolution leading to P-Square. I will not call myself a fan as I still have a lot to learn about them but I love four songs so far: Beautiful Onyinye, Ogadigide, Forever and No One Like You.
The reason is that the rhythm is so similar to the good Congolese rumba. The language is different, but I almost can hear bits of Koffi and Fally Ipupa in Beautiful Onyinye…or Franco’s beat in Ogadigide…Anyway, join me and listen to their songs, and maybe dance along as well…
Any favorite Nigerian artist? Please share!
Images courtesy of google.com search.