Portfolio

African Child

Africa is ranked as a developing nation or continent. This stigmatization has put the continent in the bottom-of-the-ladder position in the global context. Most times Africans feel inferior to people from “developed” nations. But there is no disputing that Africans at home and in the diaspora have made great contributions to the development of the world. Many of them have made giant strides in science, technology, arts, sports, entertainment, medicine, and in the academia. Considering the colonial experience and the suppressive politics played by world powers, Africans should be proud of their identity, values, culture, and should move up to match shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts from anywhere in the world. There is no problem in Africa that other countries don’t have. Solving our problems starts from looking inward to understand who we are, appreciating what we have, and judiciously use our human and natural resources to make our continent greater.

The song “African Child” discuses the identity of the African child. It captures our cherished values and qualities and calls on Africans to stand up for what is right. The song is written and composed by me. I devised the kick (Bass Drum) and did the demo in my home studio using FL Studio for beat creation and instrumentation. The vocal, mixing, mastering, and video were done at Angels Aid Studio. The guitar, saxophone, and drums were played live by session artists under my direction. The genre is a fusion of Afro beat/Afro pop, featuring the saxophone playing a prominent role, and a touch of guitar solo to give it a homely feel.

The song opens with an assertion of identity: I am black, I am beautiful. I’m green and fruitful. I raise my shoulders high, reaching to the sky, I am an African child. Then stanza 2 extols the family and African brotherhood, leading to a refrain that expresses a nostalgia for the African roots and identity, beckoning for unity to build a better community. Stanza 3 reminds us of the qualities we possess and that we have everything it takes to get to the greatest heights. The 4th stanza is prophetic, envisioning better days for Africans and total emancipation from every form of bondage in Africa. This culminates in a call-and-response refrain calling Africans to stand up for what is right. The song ends with a reaffirmation of the African identity for emphasis. This is just a promotional video. The main video will be produced in due course.

Abichii Igbo

Abichii Igbo is a song for the Igbo alphabet. It is similar to the nursery rhymes children use to memorize the English alphabet. Igbo is the language of the Ibo ethnic group in Nigeria. I come from the Ibo extraction. As with many other native languages in Nigeria, the Igbo language is at risk of extinction. It may be hard to believe that the average Ibo person, old and young cannot easily recite the Igbo alphabet. But that is the truth. Even in schools where I have taught, teachers and students also find it challenging to memorize the alphabet. This situation arose because of the colonial experience. English Language has become a household language in Nigeria even though we don’t speak it perfectly. It is an offense to speak vernacular during school hours in some private schools around here. I wrote this song to help preserve the Igbo alphabet and also to help learners and the public learn and appreciate the Igbo alphabets easily. I have taught the song in various schools and groups. People love it. My students love to sing it and it has helped many teachers, students, and children to learn the Igbo alphabet easily. I wrote the score with the Sibelius score writing software. Though the piece is short, I consider it one of my most important works because of the dual role it plays in helping to preserve the Igbo alphabet and making memorization of it very easy.

Abichii Igbo

Below is the video I made as I taught my pupils the Igbo alphabet using the song. This is not a music class. It is a class for Igbo language. This is 6th grade. It is surprising that only two pupils in this class could recite the Igbo alphabet at the beginning of the term. But this song has really made it easy for them to learn it and even recite it with lots of joy. I feel very happy about this. I wish music can be used to teach everything!

Sing One Song

This song was inspired by three recent events: the 2023 Nigerian elections skewed along religious, tribal, and selfish interests. The Russia-Ukraine war triggered by a tussle for power, and the Israel-Palestine war ignited by a long history of hatred and intolerance. Many Nigerians lost their lives during the elections and many were badly wounded because some people feel it is their turn to rule the country. Needless to say, thousands of lives have been lost in both wars. Property and infrastructure worth billions of dollars have been destroyed. Families have been plunged into chaos. Children have died in the wars. Many are now homeless, residing in refugee camps. Women have been abused and violated. Many of these atrocities could have been avoided if we all can learn to love, accept, and tolerate one another.

Sing One Song is an allegory of the universality of the language of music. Every nation, tongue, and people have their own kind of music. But every music can be written with the same music notation and anybody from any where who understands music can sing the song. The song is suggesting that though we all are different in our culture, language, color, choices, and preferences, we can agree on sensitive issues and live in peace. The lyrics conveys the message that though we have these differences, there is something good in everyone, and when everyone brings their abilities and uniqueness together, we have something better. “There’s melody in every voice that sings. But there’s harmony when every voice sings just one song.” The first voice part is a soprano solo, then followed by a four part harmony. This arrangement brings out the contrast between when a lone part (melody) sings and when many parts (harmony) sing together. The two other soprano solo and tenor solo parts also show interesting variations and the beauty each of them add to the music. Just as every voice is unique, and every instrument has it’s tone color, every human being is different. Every voice and every instrument add some beauty in music because of their individual characteristics. So also should the individual characteristics of each of us add to the beauty of coexistence. The song advocates for acceptance, unity, peace, and tolerance. Hate, intolerance, religious and tribal sentiments and wars can be avoided and we all can help to make the world a peaceful place if we all sing one song of love!

Below is the score of the music. I wrote it with the Sibelius music writing software. It is a fairly simple song. The accompaniment is light and flows with the song. The tempo of the music is moderate, allowing the message to sink in.

Below is the rehearsal video of the song. This is just a quartet and an organist, but the song is better projected when performed by a full choir. I taught and conducted the quartet. It’s not a perfect job, but it gives the idea of the music. The video was recorded with a phone.

Black Soil

This song contemplates the situation in Africa where there is abundance of both human and natural resources yet Africans live in poverty. “In the abundance of water, we are still tasty, in the midst of plenty, we are still hungry.” The lyrics highlight the abundant resources in Africa that should make us great, questions why we are still lacking and starving, and calls upon Africans to get it right. Some clich├ęs were used to drive the point home- “put the square peg in a square hole, call a spade a spade, who the cap fits , let him wear it.”

I wrote and composed the song. The music was recorded in my home studio using FL Studio. The saxophone, guitar, and some drums were played live. Mixing and mastering was done by Fat Bass. All live instruments were played by session men. I assisted in writing the video script and coproduced the music. This is just a promotional video to highlight the concept of the music. The main video will be produced in due course. This video is pasted from my old YouTube channel.