Sunday, December 23, 2018

The TRUTH Why Modern Music Is Awful

Compression is a nightmare of digital music producers (it's difficult to learn), yet it was designed to brainwash fans into loving music they otherwise would have hated. Wow!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Why America May Not Be Great Today

A very good reason
Michael Jackson's Off the Wall album

I once watched a documentary that chronicled the evolution of the electric guitar. In conclusion, it said that, when the instrument finally evolved to its present sophistication, it brought down the Soviet Union.

For those who never experienced the full power of music, that conclusion (that the instrument brought down communism) would sound like a hyperbole, but the statement actually meant it in a literal sense.  

What gave America that boundless influence had been its cultural appeal. American culture represented the difference between America and other advanced nations like Germany, Japan, France and the others in their ranks.  American music and movies had been the leading cultural element of America that charmed the rest of the world. Of these, music stood out more. Unlike the movies, music is understood even without the understanding of the language used. It gives credence to the popular saying, “music is a universal language.”  

While America’s music strength lasted, the radio stations in my own part of the world gave over ninety per cent of airtime to western music. Of this percentage, more than eighty per cent was American music or music inspired by American music. 

One thing with American music is the fact that it evolves very fast. You listen to an artist today, and next year, when he comes out with a new album, the style is radically different from what it was the previous year. In the last decade and a half, though, the music evolved so fast that the rest of the world couldn’t keep pace. The end product is music that the rest of the world can’t relate to. And while one thinks that all Americans will be able to relate to any music that is American, it is shocking to hear that even many Americans aren’t relating to their own modern music. What do you expect of the rest of the world?

The moment the world failed to see the essence of American contemporary music, a void was created. Here in Africa, the youth, empowered by computers and software, started occupying the voids American music created. They made music that local folks could relate to. In the radio stations, they took over the airwaves. I watched on BBC television when Tiwa Savage, Nigerian music diva, talked proudly of how Nigerian music successfully took over the radio stations from “foreign music.” She was saying what all of us had known for over a decade. 

If music made America very visible to the rest of the world, it is only natural that the rare presence of American music abroad would mean that American greatness is at the point of disappearing behind the corner. Out of sight is out of mind.  

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Music and Your Community

I had just finished watching one of Tekno’s music videos when I decided to write this.  The video brought to mind the immense musical talent of the artist. I was compelled to recall a well-popularized fiasco when he performed in Kenya, sometimes in 2017, when I was left wondering how things went wrong for one who is so vastly talented.  

What often comes to mind, each time I recall that Kenya incident, is what a Kenyan fan had said while spitting his frustration. The guy posted on Facebook, that Kenyans do not wish to shape their music in the path of the Nigerian music industry. The statement could mean that he knows that Kenyan music was supposed to sound Kenyan. But since no Nigerian had asked Kenyans to design their music to sound Nigerian, the implication is that he is ignorant that music is supposed to mirror the community from which it is born.

Music is an art. Art is the creation of beauty. Art will never expect Kenyans to design their music to sound Nigerian. If you come to Nigeria, you will know that we listen to music from everywhere around the world. Even though we listen to all these forms, we only get inspired to create music that is ours, music in which you find the Nigerian character, notably in the parlance, dance, costume, and remnants of Nigeria’s music past.

So, what is expected from Kenyan music artists is for them to get inspiration by any good music, not minding where it comes from. The spin from the music would then trigger new songs, songs that would endure through generations. Yes, music that mirrors society from where it was created endures, as it makes the people proud, playing what they feel belongs to them. On the other hand, music that fails to reflect the community from which it comes is fleeting, like a candle in the rain.

To end this, I want to recount what I learned reading the history of Reggae. According to the article, Reggae is the end result of the mimicry of American pop. The music evolved to embody a Jamaican identity, a character in which there is only a small fragment of the American music culture. It is the same with Nigerian contemporary music industry. When it started, I was a strong critic of the music, asking why there is that constant effort to sound American. But just about a decade and a half later, we can confidently say that we have finally found our own music independence as well. If the Kenyan music industry is still uncharacteristic of Kenya, they should just carry on. Eventually, it will begin to reflect a Kenyan identity.

Monday, January 1, 2018

How to Become a Music Maestro: video slide

The Theory behind Peter Tosh’s killing

I am a reggae fan. I prefer reggae from the golden generation. Of this generation, I consider Winston Hubert Macintosh, better known as Peter Tosh, as one of the most extraordinary artists ever to walk the soil of this earth. It is the reason why my attention is drawn to anything that mentions his name. It was in so doing that I found a video that chronicled how he was killed in September of 1987.

Tosh was killed by a friend named, Dennis “Leppo” Loban. It is said that Leppo went to Tosh’s house alongside two other men and asked for money, holding a gun at Tosh and all others who were in the house. When Tosh could not provide the money, Leppo shot him in the head, twice. 

Tosh had gone to jail a couple of times for “ganja possession.” It is generally believed that the actual motives for his prison terms were often the constant criticism of the Establishment. It was while serving one of such sentences that he met Leppo. 

In the video, Tosh’s friends who were with him at the time of the murder said that Leppo had taken advantage of Tosh’s generosity. Every two or three weeks, he came around, asking for hand-outs. One day, sadly, he came with a gun to ask for the money, when he couldn’t get it, he then shot the singer.  

A Jamaican man, who was asked to give his opinion about the incident, said that, prior to Tosh’s death, a police random search of a car in which Tosh and friends were driving, uncovered an unlicensed gun. Of the friends that were in the car, there was Leppo. But, instead of Tosh going to jail, Leppo was the one who, in the end,  went to jail. After his prison term, Leppo came out feeling bitter because Tosh couldn’t adequately compensate him for the sacrifice he had made for him.   

The Theory

When Leppo agreed to serve the sentence, he was hoping that, in return, Tosh will make him a wealthy man. But, Tosh felt that Leppo was doing that to show appreciation for favours he had done him in the past and those to come, after Leppo would have finished serving the sentence. The misunderstanding came because the covenant was not clearly spelt out in writing; Leppo simply assumed he would be made wealthy.  But when he came out and all that the singer could do was to give him enough to last for two weeks, each time he came, Leppo felt betrayed. Then he said things that hurt and ended the friendship. The singer, seeing how the friendship had ended because of money, went on to record the song, Lessons in My Life, which was released in the No Nuclear War album. Some lines of the song went thus:

I've learned some lessons in my life
Always be careful of mankind
They'll make you promises today
But tomorrow they change their mind...

...I've learned some lessons in my life
Always be careful of my friends
Money can make friendship end

But I'm an upfull man
And I love upfull people
I'm a progressive man
And I love progressive people
I'm an honest man
I love honest people
I'm an intelligent man
And I love intelligent people

When Leppo heard the song, he felt Tosh was referring to him. And, considering the sacrifice he made for him, he felt the betrayal had gone past the red line.

Leppo’s trial lasted for only eleven minutes. He was sentenced to death, but later commuted to life imprisonment.