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WHEN SHERIFF TOOK US TO OLD SCHOOL

BY NORBERT CHIAZOR,

I used to be a social butterfly. Remembering bye-gone days of the 1980s when my bosom, Okwudili Odum (Teddy P) and I staged a Yuletide discotheque for youths at the village hall, Idumuobu.

SKABB tune table hired from neighbouring Ogwashi Uku was just funky. It was riveting dancing, Kris Okotie, Ofege, Emma Ogosi, Onyeka Onwenu, Theodora Ifudu, Shalamer, Whispers, Sugar Hill Gang , Earth, Wind & Fire, Rice & Beans Orchestra, more …

We all had pet names. Mine, Kpomi Chase or KC, a fanatic of James Hadley Chase. Together with Emmanuel Obianukor ( Audi), Micheal Azonuche late ( Micky Jaga ) Ernest Enyi ( Ernesto), Kpomiose Nwanonye (Pele) among so many buddies in the hood, we rolled in roller coaster adolescence in our simple, tranquil but exciting village.

Party! Not any more.Time and Season. The restless child is now a restrained adult in the bloom of middle age. Facing the challenges and circumstances of fateful fatherhood, with guided optimism, mentoring two pairs of fast-growing impressional youths and a legion of extended mentees.

Indulging in occasional revelry, a party called me out somewhere in Delta a few days back. Basking in sumptuous dinner, pampered down with a bottle of chilled malt ( So much to drink, but no, that is the life of a teetotaler) , music endlessly kissed my ears.

Daniel’s “Buga” trending track, soon wafted from piles of speakers, which formed a silhouette like dangling threes under soft amber lights at the evening party. Some got up and rocked on, twisting and twerking. Suddenly,I ruefully wished I was gifted like J.P Clark’s “Agbor Dancer” who can display intricate patterns with “limbs like fresh foliage in the sun …entangled in the magic maze of music”

Oh no! My looks are effeminate but disadvantaged with a stiff fleshy waist. However one got full satisfaction nodding and foot-stomping. Life is just fine what you make of it.

But what threw me to the dance floor instant was “Under pressure “. Ras Kimono came alive! He was at his best – electrifying, sonorous, touching. The crooner, a legend entertained us to hedonism and educated the crowd to no end, with his didactic haunting rendition sustained by upbeat deft instrumentation.

Kimono enthralled us with a soulful song for our delight and a sensible sermon on the harsh realities of life, a social diagnosis of Nigeria and Africa.

“Under Pressure” kept “Buga” so low.Just sound and fury signifying nothing! (Macbeth once warned). Booming Buga! Edgy yet empty. Danceable but not memorable. That is the sad metaphor of today’s music matched with good old school.

How many years ahead can the new generation sounds like lo lo linger?

Modern talents are no doubt resourceful, but they must aim at the ingenuity that nudges their crafts to the classics.NOW music should not always be a fad. Fashion fades. A mania can never make a monument.

Tuface is best remembered for “African Queen” because the vocal embodies resonance and reason. The message is intelligent. A good soundtrack must outlive its time and originator far into the interminable future.

The Lawsons, Uwaifos, Okosuns,Essien’s…are far gone while the Obeys, Ades, Bongos, Okris and so on are gradually retreating from stage, ageing but their musical exploits still charm our hearts. Their street credibility is deep and long-lasting.

Lest I forget, thank you Sheriff for moving me to dance….

Advocate Nigeria