Saturday, October 25, 2014
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Onuma DimNobi by the International Brothers Band led by Steady Arobby off their 1984 Akashiada release Ejeluno Special.
I have written about the International Brothers before. They were a top Ukwauni band that included a number of great Ukwauni players including giants like Bob Fred, Steady Arobby and Franco Ezute Lee. The members of the band were all alumni of the seminal Ukwauni band the Black Heroes led by Rogana Ottah and played on his first Ukwauni Special LP in the mid 70's that defined the Ukwauni sound. They did a number of LP's in the late 70's and 80's that beautifully capture the energy and vibrancy of the music.
The rhythmic interplay between the vocals and guitar playing and the way the percussion instruments adds texture to the tune is especially nice. Check out the way the guitar and conga playing open the song and how the lead vocals of Steady Arobby and the spacey chorus of Bob Fred and Franco Lee play against each other throughout the song. Classic stuff. I hope you like it
Sunday, October 19, 2014
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track OgBeingbene Special by Professor I.K. Belemu from his Felix Record release Ogbeingbene Special.
I have a few records by Professor Belemu. According to am interesting article by Sunday Rudolph in the dawnjournal.com:
The owigiri dance originated in 1985 through a particular music composed by a foremost Izon musician in Bayelsa State in Nigeria called I. K. Belemu. Although, I. K. Belemu did not invent the owigiri dance style, his song, which was responsible for the creation was more of call to dance.
According to a traditionalist in Izonland, Emeka Odogu, the owigiri dance captures the lifestyle and mood of the Izon man in his daily activities. He states further that: The owigiri dance is a way the Izon man expresses his feelings at a particular time. The dance has a variety of dance steps that will
suit any music, so the dancer can pick any dance step that can indicate his state of mind at any point in time. if he is happy there is the bright and energetic “agene” dance step to indicate this and if he is unhappy he can dance the slow and smooth “abalande” dance movement to match his mood…
Bestman Peres Doupere, the son of Bestman Doupere, added:
The Late Professor I. K. Belemu is the founder and orginator of Ijaw Owigiri highlife music and that IK was playing more of a dance hall owigiri, while King Robert Ebizimor (another popular Ijaw singer) combined both dance hall music and philosophical songs.
The upbeat vocals and tight guitar playing certainly create a very dance able sound. Check out the way Professor Belemu's vocals open up the song and the fluidity of the rhythm section throughout the song. I hope you like.
For those interested in reading more on Owigri dancing please see
I am sorry it has been so long since I posted anything new, but I spent the summer upgrading my rig and am finally beginning to record again. I'll be posting some more music shortly.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Owa Qeme aka Mulugo by King Akido and His Minijis International of Port Harcourt.
There was no information about the band, but the horn playing and the vocals really stand out for me. The song starts with a shout out to Port Harcourt and I think they are saying something about "our way". Punchy and upbeat, the song has several excellent horn blasts and a great guitar line. Check out the horn section around the 3.30 mark again at the 4.30 mark. The record was released in 1977. The song is classified as a Calabari highlife.
Let me know if anyone out there has any additional information.
I hope you like
Sunday, April 27, 2014
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Imem, by J.O. Ubah (alias) Rocky Joe "the world drummer" and his Aniocha Crakas International off an Iyanda release.
The Iyanda label was based in Lagos. Their releases ran the gamut from strictly social club recordings to more daring afro-psych recordings like this one. I do not know much about this performer. While percussion instruments were integral to highlife you rarely see LP's driven by the drumming and where the drummer is also the lead vocalist.
This song is an ibo highlife one where the drums and vocals play off the guitar lines to create a sparse, stripped down, minimalist sound with a repetitive melody, punctuated by several excellent drum solos. Check out the drumming solo starting around the 4:20 mark and the playing around the 6 minute mark.
An altogether interesting piece. There was no date on the release, but I would put it somewhere between the early to mid 70's.
I hope you like it
Monday, December 9, 2013
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Obi Ndidi, by Goddy Ezike and the Black Brothers Band.
John Beadle has some pretty good information on the performer:
Nigerian Godwin Chukuemeka Mbamalu Ezike was born in Umuleri Ameichi, Mbanabor Local Government area of Anambra State. As a child, he performed traditional Igbo Egwu Ekpili music with his father, Humphrey Obiokwu Ezike. A former member of the Stephen Osita Osadebe Band, he first came to prominence in the 1970's when he formed his group Ambassador Omajiji, which later changed its name to the Black Brothers Band.
The words Obi Ndidi translates into heart patience. For me the vocals and the horn playing really stand out against the steady guitar playing. Check out the way the horns just wail at the 5.50 mark. I hope you like it.
For those interested in hearing more of the Black Brothers Band you can purchase a number of reasonably priced CD reissues at this site
Monday, October 21, 2013
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Who no know, go know, by the P.K. Asare International Band of Ghana.
The cover has seen better days, but the music still shines through. There was no information on the cover about the performers, but I did see that P.K. Asare was listed as the conga player on the T.O. Jazz LP Welcome Ojukwu and on a number of African Brothers releases.
The song has a lot of nice parts, but the horn playing really sets it apart. Check out the horns at the beginning and the wicked blast towards the end at the 5.45 mark. Very fluid and soulful. The rootsy vocals, especially the interplay between the lead vocalist and the chorus, blend really well with the guitars and percussion. Altogether a solid piece.
I hope you like it
Sunday, October 13, 2013
For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Ife Love melum, by Sunday Ogbulie and his busy bees.
According to the liner notes:
Christian Iweka Sunday Ogbulie, popularly known as Sunny Milly Tana, is the son of prince, Emma M.C. Ogbulie of Umuezeonu family of Umueze Atani quarter's of Aiam town. Born in 1958, he joined Chief Commander Stephen Osita Osadebe Nigerian Sound Makers in 1978.
He recorded his first LP, Eze Afo Julu in 1978. This was his 2nd record and was recorded in 1980. Ogbulie saw himself as the 2nd artist, the first being Chief Osadebe, to popularize Ogbara traditional music.
Mr. Ogbulie said " the use of his local language made audiences think more of Ogbaru. My music is mainly traditional. I don't abuse people nor boost my ego because my music is becoming the best. Therefore I am advising my fellow youths in the music scene should regard themselves Talented for no one knows tomorrow. They should be encouraged"
I like the slow pace at the beginning as each instrument is introduced into the melody. The horns then open up and introduce the vocals. The spacey pacing and articulation of the vocals, and the downtempo guitar lines, add a soulfulness to the song that is particularly affecting. I also liked a number of the horn breaks throughout the song, especially during the last 2 minutes of the songs. See what you think
I hope you like it