Hours after asserting tickets, the early birds class was offered out on the value of three,000 naira. Days later the common tickets, priced at 5000 naira, offered out too. For context, these are about the identical costs tickets of extra established artists go for. Extra context, once you notice most Nigerians are grappling with a harsh economic system, and cash such because the above is not simply forked, particularly not when it got here to the humanities. However The Cavemen., as you may come to see, are particular.
On Saturday September 12th, I left dwelling to a dismal climate. The clouds, thick with the foreboding of rain, drifted slowly. Hours later I used to be strolling down a Lekki avenue, the place The Cavemen. held their occasion, and I may really feel a warmness wrap itself round me. Because the launch of ROOTS, I hadn’t performed any album extra. Their bold tackle Highlife lifted me onto dizzying heights I shuffled gracefully when its songs performed. â€œAkarakaâ€ is a favourite, as each different document is, from the festive â€œBolo Boloâ€ to the philosophical â€œIro,â€ a message on enmity and the way man’s existential uncertainty calls for or not it’s zapped. â€œAnitaâ€ is called after a lover, that includes the album’s most enchanting hook, a passioned scream of the girl’s title. Later that night, we’ll give voice to that shriek which bordered on misery.
Began by the brothers Kingsley and Benjamin Okorie, The Cavemen. are a Highlife fusion band. They produced most songs off Girl Donli’s Get pleasure from Your Life, engraving their sound on the album, one among my favorites from final yr. With acclaim from working with different mainstays like Ms. Donli and Bez Idakula (who featured the duo on â€کMagnificence,â€™ off The Mild), they put out music to a distinct segment however rising viewers, patenting the seeds sown in beforehand talked about songs. â€œOsondu,â€ their debut single, was riveting and communal, its message encapsulated within the lyric: â€œMgbe I na-aga ije gi elekwala anya nâ€™azu, ل»چsل»چnduâ€ which interprets to â€œWhen youâ€™re going in your journey, donâ€™t look again, run to your life.â€
Existentialist themes reminiscent of one’s future and the levity of life is among the the explanation why The Cavemen.’s Saturday occasion wore the texture of a moon eyed gathering of kinsmen. Linked as we’re by one album â€“which, to its brilliance, relates us to our collective historical past as Nigerians and the mosaic high quality of the Highlife style which eased the pains of the Civil Battle and ushered in much less gorier timesâ€“ we screamed â€œYeah!â€ when Kingsley, taking the entrance stage, requested if we would listened to ROOTS.
The venue, Sea Lounge, regarded eastwards to the water; seats had been sparsely organized to encourage social distancing; the delicate inexperienced grass, which coated the ground, was cushion for individuals who sat earnestly and regarded onto the stage. There, Kingsley, Benjamin (on the drums), and a band of about ten individuals set their devices: microphones, flute, drums, percussive instruments, trumpets, electrical guitar, again up singers, and the likes. Good music was able to be delivered.
â€œYo, the ROOTS album has clocked one million streams!â€ Kingsley introduced to the gang who cheered enthusiastically. The house fitted what was maybe 100 company and on the again, some made themselves snug, taking drinks and quick meals, smoking cigarettes. The disc jockey had been taking part in afro pop music â€“a alternative which proved to be strategic and solely served to the shivers despatched down the backbone when the acquainted sounds from the cave trickled, then poured.
The primary session had the band reel out a few of their most interesting data. â€œAkaraka,â€ expectedly, boomed from audio system as excited company sang phrase by phrase. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, well-known as BBNaija host, was one such visitor, seated behind costly bottles of alcohol and soda, and on his face unfold a smile. Phrase has it that Genevieve Nnaji was current though I did not see her. The film star, like Ebuka, shared her love for the group when a video of her driving to a tune on the album â€œLovely Rainâ€ went on Instagram. Expertise supervisor Godwin Tom, now organizing a category for music enterprise fanatics, sat alongside Mr. Uchendu, each males giving an aura of buddies reconnecting over an outdated favourite. I overheard the latter ask which sibling was Benjamin, the admiration for this uncommon stunning creative ingenuity apparent within the outstretched finger, the nice and cozy smile.
Prince Nico Mbarga was born in 1950 to a Nigerian mom and a Cameroonian father. The Melody Orchestra, a lodge band, was his debut as a member of any group, in 1970. Finest identified for â€œCandy Mom,â€ one of many continent’s most well-known songs ever, Mbarga nonetheless advanced a pristine model made attainable by an eclectic mixture of Nigerian and Congolese guitars fused into Highlife.
The Cavemen.’s efficiency of â€œBenaâ€ was preceded by asserting its sound was influenced by Prince Nico Mbarga, dubbed an â€کancestor.â€™ â€کOh, oh, Bena go away me go,â€™ goes the refrain of the document set to an earthy beat which, sounding probably the most like a 70s tune, powers the homage. If you thought the joy could not exceed its present stage, they launch right into a rendition of Michael Jackson’s â€کYou Gotta Be Beginning One thing,â€™ whipped right into a Highlife rhythm and, as our bodies exploded in dance, staged a return of â€œBena,â€ alternating the tune’s chorus with Jackson’s â€کYeah, yeah.â€™
It is one of many extra sensible moments in an evening crammed with them. Benjamin’s vocal presence, gentle and targeted, was a crowd favourite, erupting into cheers when he threw his head ahead to sing a sustained word or shriek. When he leaned again, it was to hit the drums like one possessed by music-inclined goddesses of the Victor Uwaifo period. â€œBolo Bolo,â€ subtitled â€کHappiness within the Cave,â€™ scattered the ground and was carried out throughout each units thrice, the final of these coming late at evening, bursting from an upbeat tune about â€کcoming collectively to be as one.â€™ J’Dess, the singer whose voice serenades on â€œLoopy Loverâ€ and the â€کshow me the way to loveâ€™ chorus of album nearer â€œOnye Ma Ucheâ€ additionally received fan love, particularly from the women.
Expectedly, The Cavemen. carried out all of the songs off ROOTS, every bit scintillating. The music trade is legendary for its emphasis on deliberation which, actually, runs the mile as a lot as high quality of music, and it is thrilling that The Cavemen. and Freeme Music, their handlers, has each on lock. It is anticipated they will go on a promo tour across the nation and particularly within the South East, the place their sound has its roots. Merch was on sale at Saturday’s occasion: shirts, pins, and so forth. Kingsley wore a brown knitted kufi hat and some company did too, an occasion of branding phased into the title even because the music works its angle. Already, The Cavemen. is among the most ingenious title anybody may suppose up for another Highlife group. Above the venue, on a billboard which towers Lekki and within the sight of the 1000’s who drive that bridge, a inexperienced hued promotional was positioned asserting that day’s occasion. It was gracious. It was poetic. However extra appropriately, it was technique assembly nice sound, and you may’t be mad at that.
Round 8PM the present eased to an finish. Earlier than then, the genius, guitarist Nsikak, made an look, taking the stage and reaching for the electrical guitar like a person sure of goal. Per week in the past, he’d collaborated with rap duo Present Dem Camp and The Cavemen. on the stirring â€œDance For Me.â€ When the band bowed out for the second and ultimate time, the disc jockey took over, promising elite gbedu and delivering with Burna Boy’s â€œOnyekaâ€ and, when the primary drops of water poured from the evening sky, a well-known sequence of ominous strings and hello hats performed: â€œLovely Rain.â€ Fingers went up in appreciation and prayer, asking the world be cleansed of evil. I keep inside that magic of water and sound for some minutes earlier than I go away. Out on the road, a heat feeling wraps me. These hours have been a few of my greatest because the begin of the yr. Again on the occasion, a younger man had excitedly stated to his good friend, â€œMehn, these guys are magical!â€ to which the opposite individual concurred, in his phrases, â€œan expertise.â€
Whereas The Cavemen. are nonetheless serving area of interest bases (ninety p.c of the individuals current on Saturday had been younger individuals), I’ve little doubt, after seeing them dwell for the primary time, that they are going to fulfil goal and take Highlife not simply to myriad corners of Africa, however the world, in all its expanse and nice need for the merely particular.