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Online Magazine of Contemporary Nigerian Writing

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WELCOME TO sentinel nigeria | Issue #2 | May 2010


Rasheed Ademola ADEBIYI studied Communication And Language Arts at the University of Ibadan. He is currently running a master�s programme in the same department at the same school. He co-ordinates Ate Ogbon Literary Club in Osogbo where he resides. He posts some of his writings on his facebook and talkingdrum-muse, a blog which he maintains.


Awilele or Fere?

Beautiful Nubia at His Best

by Rasheed Ademola ADEBIYI

Hoping to lay my hands on either of Awilele or Fere, I walked into the vendor�s shop asking for Beautiful Nubia�s latest release. I didn�t even notice that the VCD given to me featured songs from both albums until I got home ready to savour the combined dish of poetry and soulful music that has become the trademark of the dreadlocked musicopoetry maestro. I have never regretted the purchase of the CD as I still enjoy every bit of it. From the highly traditional virtue flavoured opening track, Ikoko Akufo, to the peace seeking closing track, the album is a delight to soulful music lovers. The first track is an appeal to a beautiful village damsel to retrace her step after she has been defiled by a cunny young city wise man.The shots from the Narrow Path, to which it serves as theme song, enhances the beauty and understanding of the message. The countryside setting of the video emphasizes the moral chastity of women preached by the song. He bemoans the misfortune which befalls Awero, a beautiful and seemingly virtuous woman. She is sought after by all sorts of men until she falls a prey to the antics of the city boy who turns her to a broken vessel as she loses her innocence to him. This has a consequence: she is not met at �home� by her husband on the first night of their marital consummation. She becomes an object of shame in her community. As a result , she considers suicide because she ahs dragged the name of her family in the soil. A hitherto peace loving community nearly gets torn apart by war. However, the message of the song is clear: there is always life after every fatal mistake. The song, in my own opinion , is a piece of advice for the society to extend the value boundary to accommodate instances such as that of Awero. However, it is a portrayal of the highly moralistic and virtue laden African society which holds women, sex and the marriage institution in very high esteem. It is a song of hope fro the troubled souls as it closes with the refrain:

Ile owo ni o wo saya oo
Ile ola ni o wo saya�..

The second track is a reflection on the Nigerian society from the perspective of a child. The song beckons on the Nigerian Child not to be afraid of the future as things they see now will become a thing of the past. Set in a monochromatic background, the video has a girl-child walking around in the midst of poverty, degradation and neglect with little or no hope . Ma fo ya , a combination of both English and Yoruba lyric, appeals to the child not to entertain any fear for tomorrow even though today looks murky :

Child �child �child
There will be a better way
Child �
The sun will shine in your eyes

Segun wishes he could change the world for the child, but he cannot. The only thing he does successfully is to offer her hope with the refrain that closes the track:

Omo o Omo o Omo o ma be ru
Omo o ma foya o�..

Ife Oloyin is the third track is a love song treating husband �wife squabbles. The opening typifies the little quarrel usually between lovebirds. The husband leaves the home angrily only to return seeking the open arms of his wife. Women, known for how easily forgiving they are, the woman welcomes her husband with open arms. Harmony at home is the main message. The man of the house confesses that no one understands him better than his woman and pleads with her:

Such a lovely world
I find no one to trust
You are the only one who understands
I will wipe away your tears
Take me in your arms
This is where I belong
I�m here to stay���
The track also sung with a combination of both Yoruba and English closes with the Yoruba refrain:

Ololufe to ti n reti lo nbo lona
Baby mo ri ire mu bo ni irin ajo
Ife oloyin ti ko ni akawe
Jowo fo orin jin mi fa mi mora

Your lover is on his way back
Baby , I�ve a lot of goodies from my journey
Please, forgive and embrace me

Ife Oloyin is truly sweet love ! The beat, the lyrics and the video are a marriage of creativity.
The fourth track, Ohun Oju ri, which roughly means what the eyes have seen, is a sober reflection on the state of the nation. Beautiful Nubia traces the problem of Niger Area from the colonial period to the present time and wonders if things have changed at all. He questions the ineptitude of the leaders and their lackadaisical attitude to developing the nation. He queries the leaders� globetrotting looking for help while indeed the solutions to our problems are within the shores of this great nation. He charges everybody to accept responsibility for the failure of the Nigerian state. He posits that politically, economically, ideologically, Nigeria is still in slavery. He, however, warns that :

E gbe�ra kuro ninu okun aye
E mura , e sora a ma njin si koto o
E sora, e dakun a ma njin si koto o

He asks why we try to �fix things from top to the ground� whereas we need to start from �the ground upwards�. He preaches individual re-orientation, love and communal living which will bring out justice and peace. Segun admonishes all of us to shun selfishness and greed and become our brother�s keeper. He bemoans Nigerians� slavery to materialism, religion and foreign ideals. He prophesies greatness for the country if only we can inculcate the spirit of love, culture, values of hard work, perseverance and pride in what is ours. He has an anthem for the young men and women who hold the key to the future:

I�m not ashamed
To be who I am
I am proud of Africa
I am not afraid
I am the child of the most high
I am not ashamed
He closes the song with the refrain:
Ohun oju nri
Enu o ma ni le so o
Ohun oju nri
Omo o ma nile so bo dele oo..

What the eyes have seen
The month cannot recount
What I�ve seen
I will not be able to say them all

Spiced with the appropriate video clip that back up the message, the video is a success.
I hope the message has already been passed.
The next track is a bit livelier than the last track. It is a message of hope and patience urging perseverance which will translate into success:

We will never give it up
For You, for us for life

It is a gospel against quick material success that has become the hallmark of our society. He urges us all to be patient with his refrain:

Yeye e ma ma binu siwa o
Ko si owo loni, sebi ola nbo wa daaara
Oruko rere o san ju ile oro
Omo oko n se iwon to le se o

Mother please don�t be angry with me
There�s no money today, but there�s a better tomorrow
A good name is better than gold and silver
I�m trying my best

His argument is that a good name is better than any wealth quickly and dubiously amassed.
Onile Ayo comes next as both a warning against evil and a prayer for good things to come our way. He opens the track with a rhetorical question:

Ta lo ma gbe aye duro ? 2ce
Aye dori kodo

Who will save the world?
It�s turning upside down

He then launches his punch on evil doers:
Ohun buruku to hun gbe se ni koko
Iwa ibaje ti o wu ni koko
Ti o se bi owo eda kan o le ka o
A o gbe ye wo sinu aye
E wu iwa ti o dara
Ki aye ye wa....

The evil thing you do in the dark
That you think nobody sees you

Beautiful Nubia ends up calling everyone to do good. He then appeals to God:

Baba onile ayo
Ijo ti o ba ngbere bo
Ko ma gbagbe awa�

The track is soulful, lively and danceable with a clear message for us all to do and encourage what is good while condemning what is evil. The audience of the live performance has a nice wriggling to the call of the drumming.

The next track, Tables Turn, confirms the versatility of Segun Akinlolu {aka Beautiful Nubia} as he employs the countryside style to give a powerful message. He sings succour to the helpless and the down trodden telling them that situations can and do change. Shot with a dump site at the background, the track pleads with those who have more than enough to remember those who do not have as the situation can change anytime. He says even if they cannot do anything now, the situation may change any time. He questions the rationale behind some people having so much while a lot have so little to survive on. He insists:

I tell you, one day
Table will turn
Tables turn��

The last track, another live performance, is a marriage of love, peaceful co-existence, justice and the truth. Titled Come Warrior, BN urges the warriors to shield their sword. It is a mix of Yoruba and English. It is an appeal for wars to cease and war mongers to shield their sword. Apparently done in Canada, the message even gets to the white men on stage with him. There is too much of instrumental, yet, the message is not lost: all warring people should shun the destructive tendency of war and embrace the harmonious chord of peace.

Once again, I think Beautiful Nubia has not let his fans down with his brand of music and messages. Since 2003, when I first came across his Jangbalajugbu albums, I have remained remain hooked to his consistent ways of rendering good rhythm and strong messages. For Beautiful Nubia, it is a thumb up. SN





Abigail George
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Aderemi Adegbite
Angela Amalonye Nwosu
Anthony Agbo
Chima Iwuchukwu
Emmanuella Nduonofit
Ifesinachi Okoli
Immanuel Inyang
James Tar Tsaaior
Lola Shoneyin
Ozioma Izuora
Rasheed Ademola Adebiyi
Richard Ugbede Ali
Rishad ibn al-Sudani
Saka Aliyu
S. Ifedigbo & R. Ali
Sylva Nze Ifedigbo
Su'eddie Agema
T.J. Nanna
Tonyo Biriabebe
Umar Sidi 


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