Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, Aretha was brought up in Detroit and her upbringing was steeped in the black gospel tradition and civil rights politics of that era. While her mother, Barbara Franklin, was a celebrated singer, his father, the Reverend C. L. Franklin, was a popular charismatic pastor.

Aretha began singing in the church and at 14 she launched her professional career as a gospel singer. She released her first album, Songs of Faith, in 1956. At 18, she shifted to secular music. Her major musical break came in 1967 with ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ which became a Top 10 hit. She won her two Grammys in 1968 and graced the cover of Time magazine.
She recorded eight No. 1 albums and 20 No. 1 hits. She transformed Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’ into a demand for dignity in a turbulent America. With ‘Respect’, she became a symbol of black equality and an icon of the feminist movement. The song was later adapted as an anthem by African-Americans in the heights of the civil rights movements. ‘Respect’ and ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ made her famous. Some of her soul-stirring songs include ‘Spirit in the Dark’, ‘Freeway of Love’, ‘I knew You Were Waiting For Me’ and ‘A Rose Is Still A Rose.’

She won 18 Grammys in a career that spanned seven decades. Aretha sold over 75 million records worldwide. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She performed at the presidential inaugurations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She sang at the memorial service of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. She earned the number one spot on the Rolling Stone’s list of ‘100 Greatest Singers of all Time.’

Aretha Franklin was a great singer and pianist. She transformed soul music with her rich and expressive voice. She was committed to music and she devoted her entire life to it. No doubt, Aretha was endowed with a mellifluous voice she used to entertain the world. Her life shows that it is good to be steadfast in one’s calling. Her ‘Respect’ brought respect to womanhood. 

We join the rest of the world to commiserate with her family, the American people and the musical community over the irreparable loss. Goodbye, the Queen of Soul.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Ras Kimono (real name; Ekeleke Elumelu) was born on May 9, 1958, in Delta State, Nigeria. He started out his career, firstly as a student of Gbenoba Secondary School Agbor. His music was greatly influenced by the poverty, inequality and hardship he witnessed in his early life. Ras Kimono served a long apprenticeship on the Nigerian music circuit, experimenting with a number of styles, before making his late 1980s breakthrough as a reggae singer together with his Massive Dread Reggae Band. 

He released his solo debut album Under Pressure on the Premier Music label in 1989, which propelled him to instant continental stardom. The album had hits such as "Under Pressure", "Natty Get Jail" and the massive hit "Rhumba Style".Ras Kimono was a multi instrumentalist who played drums, bass guitar and saxophone. 

He later released a string of hit albums including:
  • We No Wan (1989)
  • What's Gwan (1990)
  • Rub A Dub (1990)
Ras Kimono toured all over Africa, Europe and the United States, promoting his brand of reggae music which was popularly known as rub-a-dub. He won several awards including the Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Awards and many more.

Ras Kimono suddenly died on Sunday June 10, 2018 after a brief illness. The Rub-a-dub Master has made a great contribution to the development and promotion of reggae music in Africa and beyond. Rest in peace Ras, your music lives on.
Emeka E. Okeke

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Robert Nesta Marley was born on the farm of his maternal grandfather in Nine Mile, Saint Ann, Jamaica. He was born to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedella Booker. His father, Norval, was a white man in the Royal Marines who met Bob’s mother, a Jamaican teenager, only a few times.
Bob was raised solely by his mother but later in life he would seek out his father’s relatives only to be rejected.

Bob began playing music after he moved to Trenchtown, in Kingston Jamaica and it was here that Bob began to see music as not only a way out of poverty but also a tool to create change. Bob matured in the shadow of Jamaica gaining independence and subsequently being thrown into Civil War. It was this atmosphere that helped to create arguably the most inspiring musician this world has ever seen.

Jamaica's popular music which always served to spread stories had developed from calypso to mento and to ska when Marley first started his music career. He soon developed reggae from ska and reggae gave him new vision and ambition. He wanted to make music that would satisfy and represent his homeland Jamaica, but that which would also reach a larger world outside.

After a series of breakthroughs, that is the recording of some of the band's best music with the innovative producer Lee Perry in the early 1970s and a setback or two which included the making of a misbegotten album for Jamaican release and a floundering artist deal at CBS, Bob Marley and the Wailers approached Jamaican-raised Chris Blackwell, the head of Island Records, in England who had helped distribute reggae, including the Wailers' music, in the U.K. for years through the Trojan label.

The rest as they say is history suffice it to say that Bob Marley became a widely recognized force, and numerous other artists during the 1970s including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello and the Police would reflect his influence by following through on some of the possibilities that his music was creating.

Bob Marley popularized reggae, a music that had once sounded strange and foreign to many ears in the world. His music gave hope to millions, not only in his home country, but all over the world.
His growing fame not only among music fans the world over but also among human-rights campaigners, political activists and even freedom fighters in Africa in 1970s had established Marley as the most admired Jamaican the world over, and in his homeland, he was one of the island's true moral leaders, much to the disgust of those who reviled his radical ghetto and Rasta identity.

Marley's later albums form a related body of work, though of a different sort. His earlier groundbreaking records featured lovely music bearing tales of unbearable realities. By contrast his later studiorecords: Exodus (1977), Kaya (1978), Survival (1979), Uprising (1980) and the posthumous Confrontation (1983) wore much of their resistance in the albums' titles, whereas their contents were only occasionally about conflict and upheaval. Rather, these were albums about sustaining hopes, small pleasures and the solace of love. These recordings were more commercially successful but struck many critics as too full of popwise moves, and there were some devastating reviews, especially in Rolling Stone Magazine.

One of the last songs Marley wrote was "Redemption Song." It was the very last song he performed in public, as he perched on a stool onstage that night in Pittsburgh, September 22nd, 1981, accompanied by only his acoustic guitar. Weary, knowing his death was inside him, having been diagnosed of cancer, the house lights bearing down on him, sweat pouring from his face, Marley sang a personal prayer that invited us all in:
 How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look
Some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfill the book
Won't you help to sing,
These songs of freedom
'Cause all I ever had, redemption songs
All I ever had, redemption songs
These songs of freedom

Bob Marley died on 11th May 1981 and received a state funeral in Jamaica. Rest on Great Man that influenced the peoples of the world with reggae music. Rest on King of Reggae!

Emeka Okeke

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Hugh Ramapolo Masekela was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer. He has been described as the "Father of South African jazz." He was born on April 4, 1939, in Witbank, South Africa, a coal-mining town near Johannesburg. His father, Thomas Selema Masekela, was a health inspector and noted sculptor; his mother, Pauline Bowers Masekela, was a social worker.

Through the support of Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, an influential anti-apartheid advocate and organizer, Hugh Masekela learnt the rudiments of trumpet playing from the leader of the then Johannesburg "Native" Municipal Brass Band, Uncle Sauda. He thereafter formed his first band the Huddleston Jazz Band (South Africa's first youth orchestra) with his school mates.
From 1954, Masekela played music that closely reflected his life experience. By 1956, after leading other ensembles, Masekela joined Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue. During a trip to the United States, he met Louis Armstrong, who gave him a trumpet as a gift.

The agony, conflict, and exploitation South Africa faced during the 1950s and 1960s inspired and influenced Hugh Masekela to make music and spread political change. He was an artist who in his music vividly portrayed the struggles and sorrows, as well as the joys and passions of his country.
In 1960, Mr. Masekela moved briefly to London, where he studied at the Guildhall School of Music, before the singers Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba helped him secure a scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music. He studied classical trumpet there for four years.

In 1962, he recorded his debut album, “Trumpet Africaine,” for the Mercury label. He followed it in 1964 with “Grrr,” also on Mercury. That album — which featured the trombonist Jonas Gwangwa, a veteran of the Jazz Epistles who had also relocated to New York — included many Masekela originals that reflected his devotion to his musical roots.
During this time, Hugh Masekela often wrote instrumental arrangements for another South African born superstar Miriam Makeba. Their partnership turned romantic, and the couple married in 1964. The marriage ended in divorce two years later, but the two later continued to collaborate.

Hugh Masekela had hits in the United States with the pop jazz tunes "Up, Up and Away" (1967) and the number-one smash hit "Grazing in the Grass" (1968), which sold four million copies.
In the 1970s, Masekela toured Sub-Sarahan Africa and began a partnership with the Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who had recently pioneered the genre known as Afrobeat.
In 1980, Hugh Masekela settled in Botswana, where he set up a mobile recording studio and recorded two albums. In 1987, he traveled to London to record the album “Tomorrow,” which included “Mandela (Bring Him Back Home).”
Mr. Masekela moved back to South Africa in 1990, the year Mandela was released from prison. He continued to record and tour around the world into his mid-70s.

In 2010, Hugh Masekela was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in gold, South Africa’s highest medal of honour. Since 2014, Soweto has been the site of an annual Hugh Masekela Heritage Festival, with the stated aim “to restore our South African heritage and to uplift the local artisans of Soweto.”

Hugh Ramapolo Masekela died in Johannesburg on the early morning of 23rd January 2018 from prostate cancer, aged 78.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Time has gone when gospel music was only played in the churches and crusade grounds. Today contemporary gospel artistes have continued to explore the endless opportunities aimed at bringing gospel music to the masses.
Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace.
There is no point remaining poor playing gospel music and believing your reward is in heaven when God in His infinite mercy has made every opportunity available for gospel artistes to explore in the contemporary world.

Do you still have that song with you? Get a producer and book studio sessions. Work diligently on your song and push it out to the market and see what God can do. This might just be that breakthrough you have been waiting for. The time to start is now! 

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Lucky Philip Dube was born on 3rd August 1964 in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, South Africa. He was a South African reggae musician and Rastafarian. He recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans in a 25-year period and was South Africa's biggest-selling reggae artist. Dube was murdered in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville on the evening of 18 October 2007.

Lucky Dube started his music career early in life in a local choir from where he formed his first music group The Skyway Band with his friends. At age 18, he joined his cousin’s band The Love Brothers playing Zulu pop music known as Mbaqanga. He was later exposed to the Rastafarian Movement and began to write and perform reggae songs. He noted that his fans were responding positively to his reggae songs. Lucky then drawing inspiration from Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh felt the socio-political messages associated with Jamaican reggae were relevant to a South African audience in an institutionally racist society.

Lucky Dube’s big break in the commercial reggae came with the release of “Think About The Children” in 1985. It achieved platinum sales status and established Dube as a popular reggae artist in South Africa, in addition to attracting attention outside his homeland. The rest they say is history, suffice it to say that Dube continued to release commercially successful albums till his sudden death in the hands of armed robbers in Johannesburg. Some of the most popular and successful albums recorded by Lucky Dube include: Slave (1987); Prisoner (1989); Captured Live (1990); House of Exile (1991); Victims (1993); Trinity 1995); Soul Taker (2001); and Respect (2006).

Lucky Dube won several international awards including "Best Selling African Recording Artist" at the World Music Awards; and the "International Artist of the Year" at the Ghana Music Awards both in 1996.

Rest on Great Son of Africa! Your music lives on!

Emeka E. Okeke

Friday, June 23, 2017


Rapper and music producer Sean “Diddy” Combs formally known as Puff Daddy was named the world’s highest-paid entertainer in 2017 by Forbes with an estimated net worth of $820 million. It said that Combs, earned an estimated $130 million in the 12 months ended June 1, 2017, which was attributed to the big pay-out to his Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, earnings from his Sean John clothing line, and his partnership with Ciroc vodka.

Sean John Combs was born on November 4, 1969 in Harlem, United States and was raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He is also known by his stage names Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy and Diddy. He is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer and entrepreneur. He worked as a talent director at Uptown Records Uptown before founding his label Bad Boy Entertainment in 1993.

Puff Daddy’s debut album “No Way Out” (1997) has been certified seven times platinum and was followed by successful albums such as “Forever” (1999), “The Saga Continues…” (2001), and “Press Play” (2006). In 2009 Combs formed the musical group Diddy-Dirty Money and released the critically well-reviewed and commercially successful album “Last Train to Paris” (2010).

Combs has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards, and is the producer of MTV’s “Making the Band”. He is the Chairman and CEO of Combs Enterprises.