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Alubarika sounds for summer

Ah, summer, the best of seasons.  A season most beautiful and most pleasing to the human soul.  A season to develop wings and fly away from your native clime to another in search of fun and relaxation.  A season to empty yourself in the brightness of sunshine.  A season for casting away all your burdens, reading, listening to good music in the brightness of sunshine.
Here in the Brexit town of Ipswich where Finidi George once played his football, I am listening to hot, sizzling music fresh from home, fresh music from Nigeria, the land where the youths are making waves, creating their own unique music and turning them into global brands.  That is a story for another day.  When you are surrounded by boys who have music in their DNA just like you, you can’t but be current with the Nigerian musical scene.  They would update you.  They would compile songs on CD for you to play in your car.  They would play their own songs and I would eavesdrop and sometimes dance along with them.  That is the joy and the beauty of being a father who takes his children as friends.
Currently, they are listening and partying to sounds like Tinana (KCee).  I tell them this song is an old school song with a modern, disco twist.  The song was originally done by Ben E. King under the title Stand By Me.  The British singer Seal also has his version.  If you go on YouTube, you will find other versions.
They are listening to Mr. Eazi, the Nigerian singer (real name:  Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade) based in Ghana who is burning the dance floor with songs like Holdup and Anointing, featuring Sarkodie, the Ghanaian rap star.  They are also listening to Adekunle Gold, a guy who is making waves by creatively sampling the sounds of One Direction and Mumford and Sons in songs like Sade, Orente and Pick Up where he pleads to God to “answer my call” and singing that he wants to be rich and drive a Bentley.
“Dangote and Otedola don’t have two heads,” Adekunle Gold whose real name is Adekunle Kosoko sings in a mixture of Yoruba and English.  Everywhere in Nigeria today, you will hear the sounds of Adekunle Gold blasting out from loudspeakers.  I was in Asaba recently and I was amazed how people were dancing to Adekunle Gold.

Olympic Gold in music
If music were to be part of the Olympics, I am sure Adekunle Gold would probably win a gold medal for Nigeria.  Another guy who is my favourite and who should win an Olympic gold for Nigeria is the reggae star Patoranking who first caught the attention of the world with his smash hit Alubarika in 2014 featuring Timaya.  The song goes:  “From Lagos to America, Alubarika, Alubarika, Blessings is all I see…From Lagos to Jamaica, Alubarika, Alubarika, Your blessings is all I see.”
Ever since he came up with the smash hit, Patoranking’s fans have been waiting patiently and anxiously for his debut album.  Their dream came true with the recent release of an album worth the long wait.  It’s titled G.O.E—God Of Everything. (GOE).
I like the album very much.  I cannot stop playing it.  I like the fact that it starts by putting God first.  At the album presentation at Best Western Premier hotel in Ghana, Patoranking told how he dragged her prayerful mother into the studio and asked her to pray.  And as she prayed, he recorded the prayer and kicked off the album with it.  This is the opening stanza of the mother’s prayer:
“Heavenly Father, we thank you.  We thank you for today, we thank you for tomorrow.  We thank you for the gift of life.  We thank you for making us a blessing to others.  We thank you for blessing us.  We shall be the head and not the tail.  No weapon fashioned against us shall prosper.  Good health, success and victory is our portion.  Sickness is far away from us.  Houses, cars, money, long life and prosperity, is our portion in Jesus name.”
Beloved reader, as you pray this prayer, my prayer is that God will answer your prayers and bless you with good health, long life and prosperity.  Nigeria may be going through recession, but our God is a turnaround God who will bring us back into the realms of prosperity.

Rags to riches
I love the rags-to-riches story of Patoranking—from Ajegunle to New York to Kingston, Jamaica, Alubarika following him everywhere.  He tells it all in this autobiographical album: How he was struggling, working hard, wanting to be another Bob Marley until God opened the doors of fame and fortune for him.  In Money, Patoranking, sings: “Nobody wanted to hear my story.”  But today, he has turned from “nobody to somebody.  And money dey find me.”
In the song Make Am, Patoranking, tells us everybody can make it in life, if you work hard and pay your dues.
“Nobody wey no fit to make am,” he sings.  “Blessing follow me.  Alubarika follow me.  Plenty money follow me.  Fine, fine ladies follow me.  Nobody wey no fit to make am.”
With evangelical zeal, Patoranking sings about the sovereignty of God over everything.  That we should not put our trust in man.  That money is not everything.
The beauty of this album is its diversity—like the diversity of Nigeria.  Whether it’s dance floor or the traditional reggae, Patoranking dishes it all out with style and panache.  The album is enriched by collaborations with all the big names on the musical scene: Phyno, Sarkodie, Wizkid and the Fuji music king himself Kwam I.  Oh, I love what Kwam I did on this album in the track Ayinde.
For those who witnessed the album launch in Ghana, the track “No Kissing” seems to be the track that sent everyone hitting the dance floor.  Maybe, it’s because of the Sarkodie factor that got them magnetised. Maybe.
Patoranking reminds me of an earlier Nigerian reggae star who had the talent and the charisma to be a global star.  But somehow down the line, he derailed and strayed into drugs and negative spiritualism.  And from there, he started tumbling, ending up in a rehab centre.  I pray that Patoranking won’t end like Majek Fashek.  I pray that through him, we would have a Nigerian answer to Bob Marley.
As I have always known, Nigeria is blessed with so many talents.  The future of this country lies in our youths.  If they can replicate in other fields, what they are doing in the realms of entertainment, Nigeria will surely be great again.

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