Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Music Review: Nigerian Dbanj’s Entertainer Album

Dbanj’s latest album, entertainer, released last year 2008 represents a fulfillment of the wishes of the Nigerian music fans who want an assertion that the new and highly effervescent music era isn’t a flash in the pan but one that has come to stay. Records of how many copies of an album have been sold is often difficult to track in Nigeria as a result of piracy. This is however one album that many agree has sold remarkably in the history of music-making in the country. Seeing how rich the promoter has become as a result of the sales of just the album has raised the question of who is supposed to benefit more as a result of an album sale. Is it the artists or the promoters who presently benefit more than the artists in the Nigerian setting?

The new music generation in Nigeria is distinct by virtue of the fact that it is characterized by a music style that has refused to take into consideration the Nigerian music past. This album however stands out as an exception. While most artists of the generation have relied solely on the use of Nigerian Pidgin English to give their music the Nigerian identity, Dbanj goes further to include Yoruba and Igbo (Igbo is used in the song Igwe). Further more the use of the talking drum has also fired up the Nigerian identity in the music. Dbanj’s deep voice and an almost talking vocal rendition also reminds one of Fela and Afro-beat. Though other instrumental elements of the songs cannot be tied to high life, juju or afro-beat, it is difficult to link them to other popular music genres from outside of the country. They thus represent his originality. Above all, the album conveys an intention to produce a record that is highly entertaining and the ability to accomplish this intention.

The album is also a confirmation that Dbanj has grown lyrically. There is always a message in every song as the lines of the lyrics are inter-related. The messages in successive songs are very distinct, demonstrating that they come spontaneously. It represents a strong mark of professionalism.

Highlife and juju music went comatose as a result of their inability to move simultaneously with a changing culture. While the culture was changing the music remained stationery, leading to an instance where people and the music failed to understand each other. Dbanj has finally proven that it is not too late to produce music that is Nigerian, highly acceptable at home and internationally.

With all these, one cannot help but agree with the fact that the artist is a master of his own style known as the Koko style. This stands him out as the colour of the Nigerian music industry and will remain so in our memories for a very long time.

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