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Naija Sounds

Naija Sounds

Nigerian music is not really something I was ever too aware of before I came here. Okay so yes there are a few second generation Nigerian pop stars back in the UK, Lemar and Sade spring to mind, but here you don’t have Naija MTV or anything close to that, but here you do have one thing and that is that the locals love to dance, and love to dance in a very specific style and fashion.

Okay lets try and describe this dance, to me it is a bit like the cockerel for the boys, chest out, pose and march, and for the girls, well it is shake what your momma gave you and be as suggestive as is possible. The music they dance to is their own but it has a pop & ska beat, mixed into R&B, it is very MoBo and is in truth very easy to dance along to. However the fun part for me is watch the guys dance, they really do work hard at it and also spend quite a bit of time dancing with other guys, or should I say dancing against other guys, it is like watch two grown cockerels strutting their stuff to show off.

The music is a little like the food in Nigeria, packed but limited. For quite a while I was convinced that there were just 4 tracks in the Nigerian library. Mind you I also have to say that one particular song, “Wahalla Day” by PSquared was the national anthem of this land, the song was everywhere, still is, and it was played over and over again. Now I now know there are in truth other songs on the play list, but without question there are these four super tracks and no Naija night club would ever survive a night without playing them a minimum of 5 times each per night.

On the few occasions I have seen traditional dancers and musicians the sounds are very drum based and the movement exceptionally repetitive, it is a bit like watch chanting or some form of brain washing, it is the same movement to the same beat and sound over and over. But I do like the traditional stuff, you do get the feeling as you watch it that you are experiencing Nigerian history and some deep culture.

I myself do love to dance, and here it has proven to be something I can get away with, to the locals I may still be this Oyibo old man, but I think they can see that at some point I could move, a bit like playing football, they can see I could play a bit and so when I do have a boogie they don’t look at me like I am mad, or doing “daddy” dancing, but seem to like the fact that I have gotten their dance and can do it and match the cockerels, but of course I can’t help myself sometimes so yes I do have to throw in a few moves they have not seen and it is always fun to do so.


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© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.