On a solemn Easter Sunday night (April 16, 2017), the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, the capital of Anambra State in southeast Nigeria (Land of the Rising Sun) was filled with nostalgia, palpable agog and vibrating with pulsating sound . . .
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State hosted the evergreen musicians of yore, venerable statesmen of pop music, who sent Biafrans (idle civilians and soldiers) dancing away (in the ever-shrinking Biafran enclave, and war fronts, during lulls in fighting the determined Nigerian invaders) in the miserable and hungry nights and days, with the sweet music genres of pop, Afro-rock, funk, highlife-funk, Fuzz-funk and Psychedelic-funk rock music.
These were men of absolute entertainment genius and sometimes astute impresarios versed in the original showbiz world that Biafra (during the Biafra-Nigeria War 1967-1970) was not, but, all the same, endeavored to manage, to create fun for others, despite Kwashiorkor.
Theses men of the oldies music lingered till the internecine civil war closed in 1970. They still continued to thrill battered audiences in the post-Biafra era (1970s), with new pop and afro-rock stars joining the musical fray after the war, having learnt from the masters.
This report is also a tribute to all the oldies musicians of the 1970s who Gov. Obiano gathered in Awka to thrill Anambrarians.
Easter: Obiano lifts spirit of post Biafra war Pop stars
POP music stars who made Biafran soldiers happy through entertainment during and immediately after the Nigerian civil war, but later scattered for lack of support, have had their spirit lifted by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, who has given them life line opportunity to perform individually and collectively on Easter Sunday at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka.
Anambra State Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism, organizers of the event say it would be one of the greatest show businesses ever to take place in Anambra State. The legendary groups that will thrill the people of Anambra State include One World, Sweet Breeze, Apostles, The Wings, Funkees, Aktion, Founders 15, Semi-colon, Wrinker Experience and Soky Ohale.
Tagged, the Easter night musical concert of Popstars of the 70s, it would be the for the first time in over 40 years that the ten top pop and funk groups of the 70s would perform together in one show. Recall that all of the groups metamorphosed into popular individual musical groups immediately after the Nigerian civil war and mesmerized Nigeria with their hit songs.
Anambra State Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Stella Onuorah said the choice of Easter day for the show was deliberate. According to her, the groups had virtually faded from public consciousness, but their music still holds strong appeal across generations. She said: “The lovers and followers of this generation of music will sentimentally connect the return of these legends with the Easter mystery of resurrection and that is the one key reason that we have sub-tagged it the “Resurrection Show.” “On a practical plane, Governor Willie Obiano has brought into Anambra a life of light, joy and concord. It is through events like this that citizens can savour the environment of security and personal safety in the state.
She commended Obiano for being the first governor in Igbo land, since the end of the civil war more than four decades ago, to accord these groups the opportunity to play a recognition live show. Onuorah said further: “It does make a very profound statement on Governor Obiano’s brand of leadership. It takes a leader’s discerning mind to recognize epochs in his people’s history and the forces that were agents of critical changes in the peoples’ socio-economic progress.
“The pop and funk groups contributed immensely in invigorating the lgbo spirit downcast by the ravages of the war. This was through the export of profoundly creative music which helped in no small measure to rebuild morale, confidence and competitive spirit in the war survivors.” According to her, the primary purpose of the concert was to stoke nostalgia and re-awaken the spot of enterprise which this genre of music fed with its appeal, adding that “there is an immeasurable reward in the present when we give what is due to our past.”
She said that Anambra was proud to provide the lead in demonstrating the faith of the people in this very profound lgbo philosophy adding, “it is our thought that a throw-back to the past may come with some possible benefits like bringing to the fore again, song styles, lyrics and base sounds that may trigger off a new revolution in music.” The Pop stars, in their various speeches, said they never expected that they would still be remembered in their lifetime and thanked the governor for bringing them together for the first time in 43 years. There was jubilation among them when the commissioner handed the musicians 50% of their performance fee.
Photo: Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State
Anambra ‘resurrects’ post war musicians
The Anambra state Government in March assembled and hosted surviving key post-Biafra war music stars from the southeast geo-political zone at the governor’s Lodge, Awka.
Receiving the aging stars, most of who are now grand parents, Gov Willie Obiano noted they had given hope to the hopeless with their soothing and melodious music at that auspicious moment in history.
The governor said that the pop stars would perform together in a mega concert on Easter Sunday at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, as part of the Easter celebrations in the state. The concert, he stated, was tagged night of resurrection.
According to the State Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Stella Onuorah in a press conference, Gov Obiano said the primary purpose of the concert was to invoke nostalgia and re-awaken the spirit of enterprise with their breed of music. “We are here today for a world press conference which signifies the publicity we want to give to these heroes.”
“All these groups metamorphosed into popular individual musical groups immediately after the civil war and mesmerized Nigerians with their hit songs. The choice of Easter day for the show is deliberate. “The groups virtually faded off from the public consciousness but their music still hold strong appeal across the nation”, Obiano stated.
The Principal Secretary to the governor, Mr Willie Nwokoye had recalled how the governor organized a mass burial for Biafra war victims in 2014 , called Ozoemezina’ as a symbolic State- funeral rites for all Igbo who lost their lives in the civil war conflict.
Nwokoye said” POPSTARS of the 70s is a music show of the same thought but that which will showcase the living among the post-war pop musical geniuses. He noted that “No other persons, no other administration, past or present, civilian or military, remembered the golden tune of these pop stars. Today, Anambra state, being the light of the nation, once more resurrected these custodians of music.
He said the organizers of the concert aimed at introducing the music of the legends into the consciousness of the people, especially to the young.
Bob-Manuel Udokwu, the Senior Special Assistance to governor Obiano on Creative Media, Nollywood and Entertainment, said the music of the pop stars of the 70s was the foundation of the music industry , noting , “if they didn’t take the bull by the horn after the war to start the revolution, there won’t be what we have today as music industry.”
He asked other governors of the southeast to take a cue from Anambra and honour the pop star heroes. Thanking the governor on behalf others, one of the band groups “One World” said, “This is the first time some of us are seeing ourselves in 40 years. This is the first time a concert like this will ever hold.
They said they were appreciative of the governor’s gesture, adding that the governor deserved a payback time.
The musicians and musical groups include the Sweet Breeze, One World, Wings, Apostle, Aktion, Foundars15, Semi-Colon, Wrinkar Experience, Soky Ohale, and Funkees.
Watch & listen to some of the oldies, below:
Old Songs (Oldies)
She’s My Choice by Sweet Breeze
Sweet Breeze was a popular Nigerian band during the 1970s and early 80s, and they hailed from the southeastern region of Nigeria.
Nigerian Pop Stars Of The 70s Featuring ONE WORLD & SWEET BREEZE
An Anambra Broadcasting Service Production
Look at the World by One World
A rare monster track released in 1973 from this Nigerian Afro-Rock, Fuzz-Funk and Psychedelic prodigies, formed from remnants of a late 1960’s combo – The Strangers, were famous.
Love Rock by The Strangers of Owerri
The Strangers were based in Owerri in southeastern Nigeria. They were a very popular band in Nigeria in the early 70s until they broke up and formed other bands. On the lead vocals was Ani Hoffner and on the keyboard (organ) was Bob Agim who was popularly known as Bob Miga.
Fuel For Love by Wrinkars Experience
Fuel For Love was by far one of the most popular songs to come out of Nigeria. This song is played at all occasions, from weddings to parties in general. The Wrinkars Experience were a very popular band throughout Nigeria in the 70s, especially in the former Eastern region, and this song made their popularity soar through the sky.
Akula Owu Onyeara by The Funkees
The Funkees were a 1970s band who blazed the trail of afro-punk music in Nigeria. Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-76 CD-1
Be My Own by Founders 15
The Founders 15 were a popular Nigerian band during the 1970s, and this was one of the first songs they recorded, which was very popular. Two of their albums made it, “Cooperation” and ” Practical Lover”.
Black is Beautiful by The Apostles of Aba
The Apostles of Aba were an influential Afro-Funk band based in Aba, Eastern Nigeria, who recorded on the EMI Label in the early to late 1970’s. Led by Walton Arungwa.
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