In celebrating the anniversary of Nigeria’s independence, we are giving you a collection of our retro sounds category, as we roll back the years on some of Nigeria’s most evergreen tunes. Enjoy!
Pazy And The Black Hippies – Comfort Me Jahoja [ 1978 ]
From the mid 70’s till the early 90’s Reggae Music was the most prominent and commercially viable genres in the Nigerian music hemisphere. The industry churned out a host of iconic and revered Reggae Musicians including Victor Essiet, Orits Wiliki, Majek Fashek, Evi Edna Ogholi, Peterside Otong, Daniel Wilson, Alex Zitto and Isaac Black. Pazy and The Black Hippies were also major contributors to the scene and released their critically acclaimed sophomore album Wa Ho Ha in 1979, an album that is widely considered to be one of the musical masterpieces of the Reggae Music genre.
Originally from Southern Nigeria’s Benin City, Edire “Pazy” Etinagbedia and his band The Black Hippies released their second LP, Wa Ho Ha on EMI Nigeria in 1978 building on a body of work that effectively glides between these styles creating an incredibly unique record that has become a cult classic. Wa Ho Ha features Pazy and his Black Hippies engaged in call and response vocal anthems all backed by incredibly deep rock steady grooves and Afrobeat rhythms filled with funky horns and psychedelic guitar accents. Recorded in the legendary EMI Nigeria studios, Wa Ho Ha typifies the 70s Nigerian sound enthusiasts the world over have come to know and love, but puts an inimitable twist on it.
The first single from Wa Ho Ha titled Comfort me Jahoja, can be enjoyed below on this weeks episode of Retro Sounds.
Bongos Ikwue – Show Me The Man Who Don’t Need A Woman
Benue State born Bongos Ikwue was one of the most dynamic, unique and sort after Nigerian musicians of the mid 70’s all the way to the late 80’s and performed a wide range of popular genres including Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rock and Alternative Afro-fusions, whilst blending his music with African folklore, modern philosophy and psychedelic sound beds.
He was also renowned for his unique and distinctive voice with which he showcased great flexibility, range, tonal accuracy and precise diction and also created numerous evergreen compositions that still resonate within the walls of the Nigerian music scene.
He released his debut album You Can’t Hurry the Sunrise (produced by Ginger Baker and Jide Alawiye), in 1973 but Ikwue soon signed up with EMI where he recorded a string of classic LPs through the 1970s including his most recognizable work Still Searching, from which this single Show Me A Man Who Don’t Need A Woman was taken.
The philosophical musings and psychedelic vibe which he was widely known are on full display on this beautiful piece which shows why he is still one of the most recognizable musical names from his era. Check it out below.
Dr Alban – Hello Africa (1991)
Dr. Alban, real name Alban Uzoma Nwapa, is a Nigerian-born Swedish recording artist and producer.His music can best be described as a Eurodance/hip-hop reggae with a Dancehall style. He travelled to Sweden to study Dentistry but in a bid to sustain his education he became a DJ at a club in Stockholm.
He was known to usually sing over the records he played on his turn table and that made his popularity grow fast.
In 1990, he met Denniz Pop from the SweMix label and, together with Denniz and rap artist Leila K, released his first record, “Hello Afrika“.
His debut album “Hello Afrika” was produced by Denniz Pop and released on the label SweMix Records,it included hits like “Hello Afrika” and “No Coke“.
The album itself was quite successful which earned Dr. Alban Gold-certification-awards in numerous markets including Germany (for sales of over 250,000 units), Austria (for sales of over 25,000 units) and Switzerland (for sales of over 25,000 units). One year later this success was surpassed by the second album One Love.
He became famous for his worldwide 1992 hit “It’s My Life” which was one of the songs from his second album “One Love” and was used as the theme song for a famous advert back in the days.
His third album “Look Who’s Talking!” was released in 1994, which managed to enter the top-10 in numerous markets including Germany, Switzerland and Austria.The album was the first to earn Dr. Alban a Gold certification award in his home country Sweden for sales of over 50,000 units.
Dr. Alban later on,founded his own record label Dr. Records, whereon he released his 1996 album, Born in Africa. The album was unable to match up with the success of the previous album releases.
Throughout his career he has sold an estimated 16 million records worldwide.
Here is the link to the video for “Hello Afrika“
Segun Bucknor & The Assembly – Poor Man No Get Brother 
Segun Bucknor is widely considered to be one of the unsung heroes of the post-war Nigerian music scene and is considered in some quarters as one of the few artistes that could be mentioned alongside the late great Fela Kuti as a respected contemporary. He is also one of the founders of Afrobeat music but was mainly known for his combination of African Soul music and American psychedelic elements to create some of the most powerful music of the late 60’s up until the early 80’s.
He was born in 1946 to a well-regarded family of musicians – his cousin Wole was a member of Felas first band The Koola Lobitos – he started his foray into music as a student at Kings College Lagos, when he sang in the choir and by the age of 15, he had recorded an played with the renowned highlife bandleader Roy Chicago’s Rhythm Dandies dance band. in 1965, he left Nigeria to study liberal arts and ethnomusicology at New York’s Columbia University, and it was during this period he immersed himself in the vibrant Soul, Jazz and Blues scenes which were not yet popular in Nigeria at the time. By the time his 3 year sojourn was over, he had begun developing his style of Afro-soul/Afro-funk which he would bring back home and utilize to create timeless music.
Upon his return to Nigeria, he joined the vibrant music scene that already comprised of The Funkees, The Hykers, The Strangers and a host of other bands that were already composing Soul Music and gradually his music metamorphosed to a more organic African expression of Soul music which he performed for the most part of his career.
Today on Retro Sounds, we dig into the digital crates to revisit one of his most recognizable records Poor Man No Get Brother, a satirical and cautionary mid-tempo groove that accentuates his vocal prowess. He passed away on the 11th of August 2017 and is survived by his wife Sola Bucknor and daughters, media personality Tosin Bucknor and businesswoman Funke Bucknor-Obruthe
Harry Mosco – If Only I Could Fly (1981)
Harry Mosco Agada was one of the most prominent,successful and widely celebrated Afro-funk musicians of the post-war Nigerian music scene. Formerly the lead vocalist of the successful band The Funkees he was renowned for his unique lyrical fusion of the Ibo and English languages which he masterfully utilized while performing and recording hit songs on their most notable body of work “Now I`m A Man‘ (1976).
Following a split with his erstwhile band mates, He left the group and started working on a solo career under the record label power house “Tabansi Music”.
He is best known for his successful album “Country Boy” (1978) and Sugarcane Baby(1982)
His music and lyrics has been widely interpolated and covered by a wide range of Nigerian musicians most notably Jesse Jagz on his 2008 single “Sugar Cane Baby“.
He passed away in 2012 but left behind a powerful encompassing catalogue as well as a legacy which i have revisited on the very first edition of Retro Sounds.
Here is Harry Mosco performing his hit single,If Only I Could Fly and strumming his Guitar flanked by two beautiful damsels.
Check it out.
Happy Independence Day Nigeria!