Some Nigerian Reggae musicians have lent their support to the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government, promising to churn out quality music with enduring values.
The musicians: Ras Kimono, Orits Wiliki and Victor Essiet expressed their support when they visited the Lagos of office of the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday.
“That’s what God created and still keep us alive till today for because we’re talking about corruption, looking at what we’ve been doing; you go back to every song that we’ve been singing,” Mr. Essiet said.
“We are the only voices and the governments were our enemies, we don’t take government as our enemies but we take them as people who take us for a ride.
“In fact, when I see these people gather themselves in Abuja and give themselves awards, they don’t remember that they are the people that we’ve been fighting for years?
“And they embrace themselves, they are happy saying I have served the nation, in what way? What we’ve done, we, Fela, what we’ve done in this country, and Majek, is a huge thing.
“But today, who are the people that are benefiting?
“We pounded South Africa with music, with everything, but today who are going to South Africa to shoot videos now?
“We are the foundation that started to preach and talk about corruption and take on the authority, apart from Fela.’’
Kimono flayed the quality of the music on the nation’s airwaves nowadays and the easy lifestyles of the artistes.
“Some of them are playing Dancehall, when you play Dancehall and DJ, you talk about anything; profanity goes, drink goes, you can sing any jargon, it goes.
“But when you are playing Reggae music, Reggae carries consciousness and the youth are afraid to even speak about consciousness.
“Because they are afraid when you’re speaking consciousness you don’t make money, you are enemy to the authorities.
“The youth of nowadays don’t wanna go through that, the youth of nowadays want money; they want all the good things of life.
“If we follow that suit, yeah we will be making money; Reggae musicians we don’t make money, but we are not complaining, we still are content, whatever God gives us, we give thanks.
“They want the good things; they want the fame, they want the drink, they want the women, everything on top gear, they want to live in highbrow places.
“We live in the ghetto; we live in the neighbourhood where we see things happening every day.
“Where you see that next door neighbour doesn’t have N50 to buy a loaf of bread, so we can say about it.
“Not that we don’t want to live in Ajah or Lekki, but we want to live and see what people are going through and sing about it.”
Wiliki, on his part, talked about the quality of music in Nigeria and the need to restore showmanship to performances.
“And we realise that we are losing the values of the quality of music and contents, the past three four years, what has come out of our airwaves?
“There are some that my kids, I wouldn’t allow them listen to and so there is a body saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring that good music fill our airwaves.
“But you wonder what they are doing when you hear some music with -f -f words being played on our radio stations and so what they speak about are not inspiring to the soul.
“And so we want to come out and say, now that things are going down, we want to take charge as the founding members to say no, children, this is the right way to go to mentor them in the art of showmanship.
“Rather than calling DJ track one, track two, you must get a band; you must at least practice to play one or two instruments to be able to call yourself a musician because that is the only reason why you can last long.
“If you are just a DJ track one, in one or two albums you are out and so we want to be able to teach them that when you come to live concert, people who come to live concert are looking for one thing, showmanship.”
The trio are currently promoting their upcoming show, “Africa Meets Reggae International World Music Festival’’, which will hold in Lagos on Nov. 27 and Nov. 28.
Essiet said Reggae musicians first started the war against corruption and challenged the new ministers to justify their appointments.
They also demanded national recognition for their musical contributions to the country’s development.
More than 30 artistes from all over the world will perform at the festival, the organizers say.
These include Burna Boy, Patoranking, Majek Fashek, Righteousman, Emma Grey, Pasuma, Oritsefemi, Tee-Mac and El Jay from the U.S.