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REMEMBERING THE ORIENTAL BROTHERS INTERNATIONAL BAND

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Today on Midweek Digest, I invite you on this trip on memory lane as I remember this my greatest indigenous group as a boy, The Oriental Brothers International Band. They still remain so today.

The Oriental Brothwes was formed immediately after the civi war by five original members Akwela, Ichita, Warrior, Dansatch and Kabaka. Although they operated all around the South East, then known as East Central State, ECS, they were mostly based in Owerri and had Enugu as their second city. At Owerri they stayed and performed at Ambassador Hotel while Ambima Hotel, Uwani, was their Coal City home port.

THE FULL FIVE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE BAND

The group was actually formed by Godwin Kabaka Emeka Opara who also led it. However, Warrior was more or less the band, because of his golden voice as the lead vocalist. Dansatch in alternate lead and backing vocals, wasn’t as always a good singer compared to Warrior. But Kabaka was a master guitarist who showed so much sparks at a time the East African guiter flare was of so much influence in the evolving post war high life in Nigeria, when Oriental Brothers flourished.

oriental brothers performing ibezim ako liVe

However, it was Dansatch who composed most of those later long plays that characterise the peak of their Decca days, before their final disintegration. In between, musicians like Alloy Anyanwu, who left in very acrimonious circumstances and had inspired the song, Ozo Bu Iwe m, came and went.

NWADA DI MMA

They had actually blazed in with the famous album sleeve design of the five fingers line up, featuring the unforgettable Ihe Oma, followed up with Nwada Dimma, Osa Enwe Akwu, Akwa Uwa, etc. They were incredibly talented and manually did all their recordings live and straight, in those analogue days of the reel, and would start all over if they made mistakes after hours of laying down a track.

DR. (SIR) WARRIOR IN THE HEY DAYS OF HIS SOLO CARRIER

Warrior was outstanding in his vocal dexterity as his rendition of Dansatch and other members’ compositions made the songs sound like his own, with his inimitable ability to adlib with all those small talks that persuade the listener. Soon, this would bring the many tensions and quarrels they experienced, as Warrior increasingly became more assertive, undermining as it were, the authorities of the nominal leader. After all, his was the voice the fans knew and loved. He was the brightest star in their constellation. Kabaka left relinquishing band leadership to Dansatch. He and Warrior carried on when the rest left.

ORIENTAL WITH ONLY WARRIOR AND DANSACH

When Warrior eventually left to start his group, Dr. (Sir) Warrior and His Oriental Brothers International Band, the original Oriental died as a band. Dansatch on his own brought in some fillers but could not sing like Warrior. Kabaka couldn’t sing and as such all of his guitar playing skills could not save his band, Kabaka International Guitar Band.

KABAKA’S SOLO CARRIER FAILED

So, it sank into oblivion. All would be buried by Warrior’s super powering and great output that filled the vacuum created by the absence of the original band. None of the splinter groups released any notable song, not to talk of album. The only person that got anywhere near to seeing Warrior’s back was Alloy Anyanwu whose offence to the band was that he came, learned their styles and went away for a solo career which eventually proved remarkable.

OZO BU IWEM VIDEO DONE BY SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE BAND

Warrior commanded his heights by not only being prolific in churning out album after album, as an experienced side man himself, he got good musicians who were able to retain the original and unique Oriental sound riffs he had helped to create. And of particular note was the congarist, Imensa, who played the conga in ways that were evocative of Akwela’s wizardry as was paraded and immortalised in Nwada Di Mma album.

THE 1997 REUNIONANYI ABIALA OZO’ ALBUM SLEEVE

The band did come back in 1987 to release an album, Anyi Abiala Ozo, that has the hit, Onye Egbule Nwanne Ya, on the flip side. While it delighted fans, it was obvious their days of playing together as a group was over for good. Warrior remained on top until he succumbed to chronic diabetes that had made his life a real misery. At death, his parents were still alive and his children very young. I mourned his passing greatly in 1999 after hearing the sad news on NTA in Birnin Kebbi where I was doing my national service.

But, I was fortunate to have briefly met him at Etche in Rivers State, in 1994 or thereabouts, when he came with his band to perform at Egwi playground, during the coronation ceremony of His Royal Majesty Job Nwala, as Onye Ishi Agburu (King) of Etche Kingdom. The band was on break when he strolled past me to smoke a little bit away from the crowd. I met him. He looked pale and somewhat gaunt. All the tales being peddled about him, like being sick because he was injected after being caught while trying to smuggle drugs, came back, even when I never believed them one bit.

WARRIOR

As we talked and I wished I could ask him about it, I connected with his persona, his aura, and was instantly star struck. So many things came to my mind. So many Oriental songs flooded through my mind. I remembered those days in the early 70s. I remembered those beer parlours in my neighbourhood at Coal Camp, Enugu, where my father and his friends occasionally relaxed after the day’s job at the nearby Tinker, where he had his mechanic workshop that specialised in Opel cars (he had two, Record and Kadette), and drank Heineken, Becks, and sometimes palm wine shandied with Guinness. My father chain smoked the Target brand of cigarettes. His habit and the sickness that struck him which was attributed to it, probably discouraged me from smoking till today.

KELE CHI’ FROM UGWU MANU NA NWANNE YA ALBUM

I still remember the vynil plates spinning on the Changer record player as the unhurried, penetrative guitar of Kabaka, and Warrior’s sonorous voice, flowed through the big box speakers with drawings and murals in the fashion of the commercial arts of the time, into the hearts of these men, singing Ibe Zim Ako, Nwoke Ezuike, Ndidi, Kelechi, etc, as they grappled with their post war recovery challenges and sought healing in the good time came back.

IBEZIM AKO COMPOSED BY DANSACH

I never forgot the many hangouts at Wounded’s Bar at Broderick Street when those who got the Udoji bursary, do you remember Ego Udoji, would host their friends to long drinking sessions. It never stopped intriguing me whenever an uproar in celebration erupted nearby in yet another awardee coming home with his money. If I thought that generation had been imprudent in frittering away our future by squandering the excess oil earnings in organising FESTAC, and sharing money to citizens, what would I do of the brazen heists going on today in the country?

‘NDIDI’ FROM THE TRIBUTE ALBUM MURTALA MOHAMMED

When we finally relocated to the village in 1978, I would continue to grow with Oriental Brothers and the rest of their contemporaries like Ikenga, Abraka, Alloy Anyanwu, Oliver De Coque, Osadebe, etc, even when I wasn’t much of an Osadebe person as a lad, as I am now as adult. And today, as a presenter of old school music in Solid 100.9 FM Enugu, each day I load any of these songs on the deck and they play, I never fail to reminisce over those days of glory when art and message were in music. I never stopped seeing my father on his big wrapper with this huge bunch tied under his belly that were partially covered by that white, netted singlet, with his chewing stick in the morning, as he prepared to leave for the day to his workshop.

Most times, when the madness and complications of today’s world would overcome me, I always wished those days would return, when the world was simpler, more beautiful and people loved their brothers and trusted their neighbours. Well, they are gone forever, but leaving behind beautiful vestiges in songs that preserve the good days in their time capsule.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Chudi Uwandu

    September 1, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Great entertainment. I did not drop my phone for a second until I had finished reading you. I was an Enugu boy, grew on the streets, an uwani and Asata boy. Your narrative took me back the years and I swan in its nostalgia.
    Thanks for reliving these golden memories. My name is Chudi Uwandu. May I meet you? You have, indeed, iced my my cake with your treatise.

  2. Wordshot Amaechi

    September 2, 2021 at 5:00 am

    @Chidi. Thanks for your kind words in appreciation and support. The joy of doing these is knowing it had not been a wasted efforts after all, as someone’s day has been made a little lighter by just going through. We just begun, and many more like these will feature in the coming days and weeks. Pls keep looking our way. Your attention on us is what will keep us on our firm and steady stead. Read, comment and recommend by sharing. Welcome NWA ENUGU IBE M! Cheers! Wordshot Amaechi.

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Entertainment

COURT AWARDS N5M DAMAGES AGAINST MUSIC STAR, OXLADE OVER LEAKED SEX TAPE

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Nigerian singer and songwriter, Ikuforijimi Olaitan Abdulrahman, popularly known as Oxlade

Justice O.A Oresanya of the Lagos High Court has awarded N5 million damages against Nigerian singer and songwriter, Ikuforijimi Olaitan Abdulrahman, popularly known as Oxlade over a leaked explicit sex tape with a woman on social media app, Snapchat.

A sex tape of the singer had surfaced online in February 2022, without the knowledge and consent of the woman involved in the video.

The leaked video sparked public outrage, forcing Oxlade to issue an apology to his fans and to the woman in the video.

In a judgement dated January 24, 2023, Justice Oresanya described the action of the singer in secretly recording an explicit sex with a woman and thereafter leaking it online as “despicable, horrendous, distasteful and classless.”

The affected woman, John Blessing had filed a suit before the court on March 15, 2022 seeking N20 million damages and a declaration that the respondent (Oxlade’s) act of recording his explicit sexual acts without her knowledge and consent amounted to flagrant contravention of enabling laws and a gross violation of her fundamental rights to dignity, privacy and freedom from discrimination guaranteed under Sections 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); and Articles 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement), Act, CAP A9, LFN, 2004.

During the trial, the claimant’s counsel, E. T. Idemudia and O. S. Mabekoje with U. R. Michael for the respondent, the judge had set for judgment when parties agreed to opt for amicable resolution via a consent judgement.

However, in the court’s observation, Justice Oresanya lampooned the singer and cautioned him against such act in his relationship with the opposite sex, going forward.

“The action and attitude of the Respondent (Oxlade), who is said to be a celebrity, is despicable, horrendous, distasteful and classless. The Respondent is admonished strongly to act with utmost circumspection in his relationship with fellow humans, especially the opposite sex. “what goes around comes around”. I need not say more,” the judge said.

Prior to that, the Justice Oresanya also faulted Oxlade for treating the judicial process with disrespect and accused his lawyer of aiding him to desecrate the temple of justice.

According to the judge, “The attitude of the Respondent towards the proceeding leaves much to be desired. The Respondent failed to appear in this Court and the only reason given for the Respondent’s absence by his erstwhile counsel was the Celebrity status of the Respondent which to my mind cannot be equated to that of many notable celebrity Artistes in this country who have comported themselves well respectably both within and outside of this country.

“Counsel, as Ministers in the temple of justice, should never encourage any party to a law suit or client in treating the temple of justice with disrespect and disdain no matter the status of the client in the society.

“Client comes and client goes, the legal profession and institution remains. It is also disturbing to note as part of the tardiness of the Respondent and his counsel that this terms of settlement was filed in Court after the Honourable Court had concluded the hearing of the matter and on the verge of delivering its Judgment on the merit fixed for 16th January, 2023 in which the Court would have awarded exemplary and aggravated damages far greater than the agreed settlement sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira) against the Respondent for the alleged cruel violation of the privacy of the Claimant via the online/internet publication of an explicit sex tape involving the Claimant and the Respondent on 9th February, 2022.”

The judge thereafter entered the Terms of Settlement dated 11th January, 2023 as the Judgment of the Court.

By the consent judgement, Oxlade is to pay damages to the tune of N5 million to the claimant in two instalments of N2 million and N3 million respectively.

The judgement forecloses her perpetually from initiating any further legal process or any process in respect of the facts and matters giving rise to the suit, and from instituting or discussing the issues constituted in the claim on any platform, and before any third party.

Both parties, as well as their privies, assigns, agents, successors, legal counsel, and personal representatives agree to maintain confidentiality of all non-public information and materials pertaining to the suit, and the Terms of Settlement.

Failure of either party to adhere to the terms shall entitle the affected party to damages for such breach, including any and all injuries incurred as a result of such disclosure.

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MARTIN LAWRENCE, WILL SMITH CONFIRM FOURTH ‘BAD BOY’ MOVIE

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Hollywood actors, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence

Hollywood actors Martin Lawrence and Will Smith have revealed that they will team up once more for a new installment of the “Bad Boys” series.

Smith recorded himself in his car as he approached Lawrence’s home in an Instagram video on Tuesday.

“Is it about that time? Bad Boy! It’s official. You know what it is. Bad Boys ‘Four’ life baby,” they declared

No details about the start of production or additional casting were immediately disclosed.

The pair’s blockbuster cop comedy, Bad Boys, was released in 1995. Hit sequels followed in 2003 and 2020.

The original ‘Bad Boy’ movie, directed by Michael Bay, was produced in 1995. It earned $141 million worldwide.

The 2003 sequel ‘Bad Boys II’ totaled $273 million while ‘Bad Boys for Life’ in 2020 outgrossed the previous two entries combined.

The action-comedy movie talks about two American narcotics police officers who are committed to ending the reign of drug dealers in their city

In the last sequel, the two officers faced off against a mother-son pair of drug lords who wreak vengeful havoc in their city.

According to Deadline, the new film is in early pre-production. It added that the third movie’s directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are returning to direct the fourth.

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Entertainment

‘NO COME LEKKI, OR WE GO FIGHT’, PORTABLE WARNS TG OMORI

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Nigerian street singer Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable

Nigerian street singer Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable, has reacted to TG Omori’s request to direct a music video for him.

This is coming after TG Omori’s Tuesday concession to the musician’s requests following repeated daily attacks on social media.

He requested a song from Portable so that he could make the video, but he did not specify if it would be free or if the $50,000 cost would be waived.

In response to the proposal, the pair started an Instagram live session on Wednesday.

Portable bemoaned TG Omori’s excessive costs and accused the director of once again disliking him.

He then jokingly warned TG Omori not to travel to Lekki or Sango for fear for his safety because a fight would likely break out if they met.

In response, TG Omori clarified that it wasn’t personal and that his main goal is to make money.

The pair’s disagreement did not end there, on Tuesday, as Portable dragged TG Omori, for sidelining his friend Asake and diverting his attention to Seyi Vibez.

He also spoke on fake love in the industry as he lambastes TG Omori and Seyi Vibez.

In his words: “Change pattern make dem no see you finish. Na so TG Omori see Asake finish. Na him dey shoot video for Asake o before you know, he see say Seyi Vibez trend, he run go meet Seyi Vibez wey dey copy Asake.

”No be Asake pattern Seyi Vibez dey do? No love in the city. Dem no see my fake do, copy copy. Sing your own pattern, me I gat my own pattern. Why dem dey do that thing? Fake love dey industry.”

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
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