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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

BNXN TEASES UNRELEASED SINGLE ‘TRABOSKI’

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Afrobeats Superstar Singer, Daniel Benson ‘BNXN aka Buju’

Afrobeats superstar singer, Daniel Benson ‘BNXN aka Buju’ has sparked excitement from fans by teasing an unreleased single ‘Traboski’, less than two months after the release of his sophomore EP ‘Bad Since 97’.

The talented singer made this known in a tweet on Sunday, 2nd October 2022 with the caption ‘So you get the drift 😂 TRABOSKI’ as many fans were excited about the teaser.

BNXN sang in his usual melodic tune with a catchy hook and record produced by Young Willis.

On 25th August, 2022, BNXN FKA Buju released his sophomore EP ‘Bad Since 97. ‘

The seven-track project includes hit songs/ features with music superstars such as ‘Many Ways’ ft. Wizkid, Kenkele ft. Wande Coal and Modupe ft. Olamide.

‘Bad Since 97’ follows BNXN’s 2021 EP ‘Sorry I’m Late.’

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MARVEL UNVEILS “BLACK PANTHER 2” TRAILER

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Marvel Studios has released the official trailer for its long awaited sequel “Black Panther: #WakandaForever.”

A sequel to its 2020 blockbuster “Black Panther” the new film tells the story of the Wakanda People in a world following the death of their beloved king T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman).

As revealed previously, Boseman’s character was not recast, rather the new film is considered to be a tribute to his legacy.

In the first teaser for the film, the words “The King lives and the Panther… forever in us…” are painted in Wakandan on a mural of T’Challa in Wakanda.

This picture looks to be part of a segment from the teaser that also includes Wakandans dancing and performing music while wearing white ceremonial clothing.

The new trailer also includes fighting scenes as a new Black Panther is unveiled.

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Entertainment

BBNAIJA S7: FANS COMMEND ORGANISERS, CALL FOR IMPROVEMENT IN NEXT EDITION

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BBNaija 2022

Some fans of the just concluded television reality show, Big Brother Naija season 7, have commended the organisers for an entertaining and educating show.

The fans who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos, gave divergent views of their assessment of the show, with some advice to improve on the next edition.

NAN reports that 25-year-old Josephina Otabor, known as Phyna, emerged the winner of the season 7 Level Up edition as she walked away with N100 million grand prize.

The grand prize comprises N50 million cash prize, a new SUV by Innoson Motors, a Dubai trip for two, a year supply of Pepsi, new techno phone-Camon 19, supply of Unik soap, and supply of home appliances from Nexus among other mouth-watering items.

Rachael Enem-Isaac, a presenter with Pulse Nigeria, described the show as entertaining and educating.

Enem-Isaac said that because the just concluded show was initially split into two level up houses, most fans lost interest in it, which accounted for the low viewership.

She said she also observed that the fans were not as engaging as the previous shows.

“In the previous shows, some of the housemates had already been verified on their social media platforms, while most of them were able to garner over one million followers, but this year, some of the housemates were only able to attract 300,000 followers,” she said.

Enem-Isaac advised the organisers to take a break in 2023, which is the election year, to look into the loopholes, get feedbacks from fans and design ways of improving on the show.

She said since plans were already on ground to merge Nigerian and South African housemates for the next edition, this must be thoroughly planned to present a great show.

“I advise that the organisers take a break in 2023, engage in working on the feedbacks gotten from fans, let 2023 be the election year so that the youth are not distracted from politics and come back in 2024 to present a great show,” she said.

According to a Chinese national, Kelly Lin, Marketing Officer for Oraimo, the show was loaded with vibes, real energy and series of drama which made it interesting compared to the previous editions.

Lin urged corporate organisations to come up with similar shows that will project Nigerian culture, artistes and fashion designers.

She said the show also tried to engage the youth positively in view of the challenge of unemployment experienced in the country.

Also, Uche Adigwe, an electrician, advised the organisers of the show to ensure that the housemates’ privacy was respected by earmarking different rooms for the male and female housemates.

He said this was to create some sanity and decency in the show.

Amanda Pelemo, a businesswoman, said she observed that the just concluded show had more sponsors than the previous editions which made it loaded with fun as each sponsor came up with series of games and tasks for the housemates.

Pelemo commended the process of auditioning for the show which revealed that the housemates were younger and real.

She advised that in subsequent editions, a single house should be maintained as against two houses.

According to her, the initial idea of two houses affected the viewership of the show. (NAN)

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