Saturday, 10 January 2009

At Forefronts.

Pepper Soup and since I didn't have yams, improvised with potatoes and with no palm oil, used ranch.

I'm listening to some Naija songs and I definitely love what I'm hearing. The fusion of sounds, beats is just crazy, and it's just so dance-inducing; you can't help but move your body, even the most stoic of us would probably bob his head. There are those who feel that Nigeria's current music industry is a caricature of America's hip hop. Perhaps the industry borrows so much, sometimes blindly from America's hip hop scene, regardless, I believe they've been able to own it and create of it, something with originality, such that anyone who listens to it, will point out that it is certainly different and Nigerian. And to me, this is the beauty of it, because so as the suburban American and British teenager sits in front of his T.V and watches the latest of hip hop, so as the Nigerian teenager. As such that, young people from both sides of the world, regardless of varying environments, absorb similar cultural influences. And this is not to say, that at this time in the world, both young people are exactly the same culturally, there are vast differences as there are striking similarities, and this accounts for why when people arrive in the west, they usually do not experience that much cultural shock. Though I admit that I might have excluded young people who grow up in rural areas, but still I don't think many people will be surprised going back to their villages and towns and seeing young people trying to outdo themselves in the latest hip hop trends and songs.

So this paradigm shift from basing music and art on what we consider indigenous to a more contemporary style, I think, puts today's Nigerian young people at forefronts of greatness. There was a documentary I saw back in Nigeria that praised legends in music history and Fela Anikulapo Kuti was one of them, and it was mentioned that Nigeria was the third in top music industries in the world, and this was when there were the genres of Apala, Afro-beat, Juju and so on. But I wasn't born in this time or wasn't raised knowing that such music was meant for me; it has always being music for my parents, of the older generation. And now, to expect of me to reproduce such music, or in my case to write in the ways of Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta is to expect of me something inauthentic, as I'll be recreating what is not me (and by me, I mean how I've being externally influenced).I listen to Onyeka Onwenu (love Bia Nulu),Fela (he's such a social critic, at the same time he can be easily dismissed as being an idiot, but I like him for standing his ground and immersing himself in his cause), Haruna Ishola (sometimes I feel ashamed that I don't fully understand what he's saying, but there's something that makes him sound so much like a griot), but I don't expect of today's musicians to reproduce what the above-mentioned musicians have done. Finally, what I'm getting at is that modern western music and art and culture has through the west's imperialism come to be sort of a world language that the rest of the world understands and can speak, and for us young Nigerians who comprehend this language, we are placed at forefronts where we can achieve world greatness, only if we own, personalize this language and create of it something that the rest of the world will have to stop to listen and be awed by.