Friday, November 19, 2010


At independence in October 1960, Nigeria had no indigenous recording company. Decca, was the only reputable recording company doing business in the country. It recorded and distributed well known highlife musicians, such as Bobby Benson, Eddy Okonta, Kula Lobito( Fela’s 1st band) and Ebenezer Obey.
However, there was a boom in the recording business in the country immediately after the civil war in early 1970s. Two prominent foreign recording companies EMI Records and Polygram Records built big pressing plants in Lagos to cater for Nigerian artistes coming out from the civil war.
EMI Records churned out many Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s albums, which were very successful not only in Nigeria but also in Europe, America and other African countries.
EMI Records also recorded and distributed Sonny Okosun, Bongos Ikwue and The Grooves, Christie Essien and Dizzy K Falola, all of whom were big stars in the 1970s and 1980s.
On the other hand, Polygram Records recorded and promoted many Nigerian musicians including Stephen Osita Osadebe, Victor Uwifo, Voice Of The Cross (a gospel duet), Onyeka Onwenu and some other afro pop artistes. It also brought reggae music to limelight in the country by recording and promoting foremost Nigerian reggae artistes such as Ras Kimono, Ortis Wiliky, and The Mandators.
An Igbo entrepreneur Chief G.A.D. Tabansi saw a great opportunity in the recording business and set up the first indigenous record company in Nigeria ‘Tabansi Records’. It was a formidable record company in the 1970s and 1980s that recorded and brought many artistes to limelight including Bony  Mark, Felix Liberty, Jide Obi and Majek Fashek.
Other indigenous recording companies sprang up in quick succession in the 1970s; these include Rogers All Stars, Melody Records, Olumo Records and Polydor Records. They all made great impact in the 1970s and 1980s recording big artistes like Chris Okotie, Nico Mbarga, Chris Mba, King Sunny Ade, Oliver De Quoque and Captain Muddy Ibe.
Unfortunately, by the late 1980s, the economic fortunes of these recording companies have started to dwindle occasioned by the structural adjustment programme introduced by the military leadership in the mid 1980s, coupled with the high rate of piracy made possible by the importation of hi-tech record/cassette duplicating equipments from the Asian countries.
By early 1990s, the expatriate recording companies such as EMI Records, Polygram Records and CBS Records sold their pressing plants and left the country for other economic viable countries such as South Africa and Kenya.
However, indigenous investors that bought these record companies tried to no avail to maintain the standards set by their former owners. By 1990s, Polygram Records has metamorphosed into Premier Music, EMI Records was renamed Ivory Music while CBS Records became Sony Music.
Nevertheless, these companies recorded many artistes who made waves in the 1990s including Shina Peters, Daniel Wilson and Blacky.
Today the dice is cast; piracy has continued to affect the business of making genuine records in Nigeria. The economy is bad, and corruption has continued to increase. Most of the record companies that boosted the music industry in the 1970s and 1980s have become moribund. What is in vogue now is label owning, most artistes now have their own labels to distribute their records. However, the network of private labels are usually not wide, and so record making and selling is mostly limited to the area an artiste is able to cover here in Nigeria.

Emeka E. Okeke.


Thursday, June 10, 2010


1. Determine whether your church needs a large or small choir. Small choir usually comprises between 20 to 40 members and can be very effective in a small or medium sized church, while a large choir is made up of between 60 to 100 members, which is ideal for a large church congregation. Mass choir is only good for out door activities.
2. Don't be sentimental in choosing your choristers, the best way to choose choristers is to organise a general audition where you can identify and select the best talents.
3. Group the singers in four different parts according to the tonal range of their voices. A standard choir has four distinct parts(soprano,alto,tenor and bass). Usually women sing soprano and alto, while men sing tenor and bass.
4.  Groom the singers on how to inerprete and sing solfa notation, which is the standard method of rehearsing polyphonic music.
5.  Appoint part leaders for the four parts to help in the interpretation of solfa notation. They can also serve as assistant choirmasters.
6.  Practice makes perfect. Make sure the choir practices for 2 to 3 hours at least 3 days in a week, which must include Saturday evening to enable you be in perfect tune against Sunday morning renditions.
7.  Give priority to discipline and be very strict about this from the begining. Penalize late comers and suspend any member that fails to come to practice for 3 consecutive times.
8.  Make sure the instrumentalists such as the organists and the percutionists rehearse with the choir, at least on Saturday evenings to avoid embarrasment, which many choirmasters encounter on Sunday mornings due to lackadasical attitude of some instrumentalists that claim to know it all.
9.  Promote love amongs the choir members by encouraging exchange of visits and liesure trips such as picnic.
10. Set a day apart in every month when the members of the choir could have a regular meeting to deliberate on the affairs of the choir.

Emeka E.Okeke

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Hip hop music genre has gained tremendous popularity in Nigeria since the mid 1990s when Weird M C brazed the trail with a hit single and video "Allen Avenue" which made waves in the city of Lagos. She was followed by Zackee Azdee who released some hip hop hits. A group of three young boys called "The Remedies" then came up with a hip hop hit single titled "Shade" which made wave in Lagos and the whole of South Eastern Nigeria. They actually popularised the use of local dialet to embellish hip hop music.
"The Plantashion Boyz" then entered the scene in the late 1990s and took hip hop music to the next level by incorporating even more local dialets and piegeon English and local slangs in thier songs, which appealed to the youths. Their debut album titled "Plantashion Boyz" was a hit. The hit track of the album was "Plantashion Boyz" which was actually a remix of Bonny M's 1980s hit "Plantation Boy"
At the dawn of the new millenium many other hip hop groups emerged and saturated the air waves with hip hop songs, which some journalists have termed "Niaja Music" These groups include a duo called the "P-Square" and the "Styl Plus".
By this time some members of the older hip hop groups have gone solo churning out hit songs. Idris Abdulkareem,a former member of the "Remedies" released a solo album 'Nigeria Jagajaga" which was successful. Tu Face,a former member of the "Plantashion Boyz" started a very successful solo career and recorded many hits including "African Queen" and "For Instance". He had a very versatile and up and doing promoter and record company, Kenis Music, who popularised him and made him an international figure, winning many international and local awards.
P-Square's 2007 album "Do Me" was s monster hit so also was Timaya, a Port Harcourt based hip hop artiste who took the Nigerian music scene by a storm with his debut album "True Story" The other hip hop artistes that are currently making waves in Nigeria include J Martins, D Banj, Nigga Raw, Duncan Mighty, Terry G, Brackets, Dee Bee, Olu Maintain, 9ice, D J Zeez, e t c.