With all sense of modesty, one would have expected that someone-considered creatively impeccable-of Chris Ogunlowo's intellectual stature would, before embarking on a vain saturation of the social media space, in blind support of the mind-boggling ignorance exuded by Mr Eazi, have attempted a deep research on the subject of discourse. However, the reverse was the case.
When Mr Eazi, a budding hip hop artiste, of limited musical ability, took to the internet to assert, albeit erroneously, that Nigerian music has been overly influenced by Ghana artists and music, I was astonished as to the lack of rudimentary details of Nigerian music history by a musician, who sadly, is supposed to be a vibrant agent of cultural rejuvenation and elucidation. It therefore became crystal clear that, being a musician does not guarantee one a sense of necessary minute details.
For the untested musician, and, regrettably, Chris Ogunlowo, who have brought to the fore their paucity in the history, development and overall growth of the music of Nigeria, it should be noted-I'd suggest you take jottings-that Ghana music was an influential factor in the birth of Nigerian High life music, and not 'Nigerian Music' like you have both inaccurately misfired.
Firstly, worthy of note is the fact that the music of a people is unarguably a product of their cultures and traditions. As such, it is only expected that Nigerian music came as an off-shoot of the nation's cultural and tradition subscriptions. In simple terms; Nigerian music, or largely, the music of Nigeria, is strictly peculiar to the unique Nigerian cultural outlook. Same applies to the Ghana state. Consequently, the music of both nations-which are extensively by-products of their dynamic ways of life and spiritual, socio-cultural and philosophical perceptions-are quite different from each other, in their uniqueness, dynamism and peculiarities. Instead, they were both actively molded, in their formative stages, by the various array of European music, which was a resonating element in their days under colonization.
Just so you know, E.T Mensah's brand of High life found its way into mainstream music of Nigeria in the 1950s, before converting its first disciple-Bobby Benson-to tow the High life route. But before this 'intrusion' on the Nigerian music landscape, there had been in existence a broad assortment of different music in the country. There were the ancient traditional music, which were divided into music for social gatherings-funerals, wedding and child dedication ceremonies, music for work-hunters' chants and others, and music for ritual purposes. Some of these traditional music, a number of which were sung at palm wine joints, eventually gave rise to the advent of both the Apala and Juju music in the 1930s.
The Apala music was stemmed from the songs that were sang to rouse Moslems to wakefulness at dawn, during Ramadan periods. Furthermore, there was the infusion of Rock N Roll-which later became Funk-which was influenced by European culture of music, and launched the inimitable IK Dairo into musical prominence. There were also music by Tunde Nightingale, Dan Maraya, Haruna Ishola, Ayinla Omowura and a busload of other great musicians that were in no way, and never at any point influenced by the Ghanaian Highlife music.
Majorly, the origin of Nigeria music berthed from the age-long culture of call and response in social gatherings and convergences, where one person-usually the lead singer-sings a tune and the teeming audience-whom were mostly young children having fun during moonlight games-responded to the call.
Undeniable, beyond doubt, that Nigerians do not possess a sense of cultural preservation. This much has been expressed in the senile destruction of invaluable historical artifacts and institutions, and the negligence of some other cultural elements. Nevertheless, it is an uninformed blunder to opine that the Nigerian music culture as a whole was influenced by Ghana music. Very untrue and repulsively unsettling.
Even Fela's early brand of High life-which clearly was forged by his brief sojourn in Ghana-was quickly shed off by the maestro, early enough in his career. A development which gave rise to an impressive flexibility that essentially culminated in the creation of the revolutionary AFRO BEAT music genre.
So, dear compatriots, Ghana music's only claim to influence on Nigerian music is through the High life medium via early artistes like Bobby Benson and some other early musicians from the Igbo clime, and not the enormous music of Nigeria-which in itself is almost as big as the entire Ghana economy.
For me, it is imperative to do a proper assessment before serving sour and half-baked cuisines of ignorance to the ever-hungry Nigerian social media addicts. I think they deserve better, even if some are unyielding in their strange possession of ignorance.