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Remembering King Sonny Brown

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At 7.24am on Saturday, January 16, 2016, I received a text message from the ever ebullient Dagogo “Dag” Josiah informing me that King Sonny Brown was billed for burial at Finima that day. I was taken aback not because he was dead but because of the facts that: (1) it virtually coincided with the memorial of Rex Lawson’s death, which is uncanny (2) I hadn’t heard of his demise and (3) the burial was billed for the same day 1 had the phone call at Finima in Bonny Local Government Area. For those of us from what is referred to as “upland” in Rivers State, travelling to Bonny requires psychologizing oneself for a sea journey and the brevity of notice did not help matters either, especially in view of my being a teacher, you know what I mean. So, I lounged around at home all day reminiscing on the King Sonny Brown I knew.
King Sonny Brown and I first met in January 1970 at the erstwhile Afro Bamboo, No 35 Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt at the end of the civil war; news had filtered out that he needed a bass guitarist because he was planning to quit Rex Lawson’s band and go solo. Ace drummer, Idua “Tammy Evans” Papamie (obm), arranged what I considered a wary auditioning due to the then extant silentfissure between highlife musicians and rock artistes. Following this artistic get-together, I rehearsed with Sony Brown’s band at its embryonic stages before Tammy and I co-founded the Blackstones Band. Irrespective of our parting, Brown and I remained very close and I attribute that to some similarities in our personalities such as behavioral and attitudinal dispositions. When I wrote “Song for Unsung Sons of Songs” (The Tide Newspaper) in which I discussed Brown’s musical career and that of Erasmus Jenewari and George Iboroma, King Sonny Brown profusely expressed appreciation, his characteristic taciturnity, which is a reflection of shyness, notwithstanding. Yes, Sony was very shy; perhaps that explains his gentility and simplicity.
A major occurrence that has remained indelible on my mind in my relationship with Brown was the fact that he and I had a conversation with Rex Lawson before Rex embarked on Journey to Warti on that fateful day in January 1971, which ended Rex’s life.
The next time Brown and I saw Rex was at the Port Harcourt City Council Hall where Rex was laid in state; Rex was discolored and bereft of his characteristic cheeriness for he was dead. The legendary Governor of old Rivers State, Alfred Diete-Spiff, had directed a State burial for Rex and the creme de fa creme of the State and every musician of repute from the State were there; many also came from outside the State. While the mourners paused and paid their last respect as they slowly marched past the casket and walked away in a pensive mood, a visibly devastated Sonny Brown sat at a corner of the hall that day in palpable distress and disbelief. I understood his mood: Rex had sheltered him, George Iboroma, David Bull, Boma Bonny, Chike Charles and other highlife musicians from the State during the civil war; and though they had individually set off on their own, they had always remained very close. Like members of one big family, they continued to join one another at their shows, thereby painting a perceptible portrait of partnership in camatader, Now, the body of the patriarch and pivot of that family of voices was lying lifeless, gone forever. I could not offer Brown a penny for his thoughts for I knew how he felt; we all shared the pains of the loss but Brown’s was obviously deeper: Rex bequeathed him a giant shoe, which he wondered if his feeble feet could fill.
King Sonny Brown will be remembered for many melodious tunes, .major amongst which is “Pinoyibo.” Delivered in Ijaw, the bluesy rhythmic pattern of the song made it a smash hit of the highlife genre in the sixties, irrespective of the fact that majority of his audience did not understand the Ijaw language; the song heralded Sonny Brown as a major player in the field of highlife music. As a crowd puller, “Pinoyibo” was placed at par with Osita Osadebe’s “One Pound No Balance,” Rex Lawson’s “So Ala Temem,” Erasmus Jenewari’s “Opa Iwariso” and other slow tunes that enable couples hold each other closely and nibble on ears as they whisper amorous endearments on the dance floor. While Brown may not have been as prolific as Lawson, Osadebe, Victor Uwaifo, Celestine Ukwu and rnany other highlife musicians of that epoch, he was a dexterous trumpeter and consummate band leader who maintained an  indisputable presence and  resilience on the scene. Brown was timeless both in his music and as a person; he was also very gentle and humble.
I join millions of people across the world who were privileged to witness the evolution of the highlife genre of music, from its pristine stages to the heavily influenced present stage, in celebrating the living legends of Victor Olaiya, Victor Uwaifo etc and commemorating  the departed creative souls of Bobby Benson, Rex Lawson, Celestine Ukwu, Bill Friday, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Joe Nez, Osita Osadebe, Inyang Henshaw, Kingsley Bassey, Roy Chicago, David Bull, Sonny Brown  and others  who must be spawning melodious musical  waves  in another dimension wherever that may be.

 

Jason Osai

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Why Women In Nollywood Have More Money Than Men – Linda Osifo

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Ebony Nigerian actress, Linda Osifo has opened up on why women in the movie industry are more successful than their male counterparts.
When asked why women do better, have more cars than the men in the industry, Osifo, speaking during an interview with Ebuka Obi-Uchendu on Rubbing Minds, said there are so many more avenues for women to make money than men.
According to her, actresses have ambassadorial deals from wig brands, skin care, clothing brands, which is why some of them have more money than men and are able to acquire houses.
Linda said,
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“As a woman compared to a man I have more options to get more jobs than a man.
“I can advertise hair, wigs, shoes and a wide range of clothes from brands which most men cannot. The ratio of men to women is 1:3 which makes the market wider for us.
“I’ve become a brand ambassador to skincare brands and that’s an industry that men don’t dominate and conquer so this is how women are more successful.
“Women have more opportunities to make money.”
The 29-year-old actress said the mentality of the society that a woman can’t make it on her own is the reason for the rumours that most actresses have illicit affairs.
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“I’ve come to understand that society has the mindset that most women can’t succeed on their own. It’s a big problem because there are many women who are doing so much for themselves,” she added.
She noted that social media plays an important role in an actor’s career because we are in a digital world but talent sustains your success.
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“The more people on social media platforms, the more you can market to them, but at the end of the day talent sustains success,” she said.

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The Voice Nigeria 3: How Darey Pushed Esther To Victory

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The Voice Nigeria Season three came to a crescendo last Saturday night when 23-year-old Esther Benyeogo emerged as the winner of the music reality TV show.
With Esther’s victory at the keenly contested competition, Darey Art Alade has engraved his name on the list of the Voice Nigeria coaches whose talent emerged winners.
The journey to victory for Esther began with a blind audition that had a total of 32 talents performing to get the attention of any coach in order to get a turnaround.
In the third week of the show, Esther made her first appearance at the blind auditions. Her rendition of Andra Day’s ‘Rise Up’ erupted the first teary emotion on the show as coaches Darey, Waje and Falz turned to canvass for her acceptance into their teams. After her rendition of the song, Waje couldn’t hold back her tears as she got emotional and cried while heaping accolades and commendations on the graduate of the University of Benin.
Settling into Team Darey with Rachel, Ayomikun, Jeremiah, Blescene, and Dapo, Esther made no mistake of saving her powerful voice for the last round, she displayed her dexterity and brilliance from the knockouts where she was sent straight to the battles after her rendition of Westlife’s ‘Flying Without Wings.’
The Delta indigene didn’t settle for less as she conquered Jeremiah on the battlefield to qualify for the live show.
Her final performance at the grand finale elicited cheers and claps from the studio audience.
Though not new to winning singing competitions, Esther says, winning The Voice Nigeria 3 is special because she’s recognised for her singing abilities.
“I am grateful to The Voice Nigeria and my fans out there for this amazing experience. It has been my utmost joy to come on your screens every week and share my gift on such a huge platform. This win is even more special for me because it is one thing to know you have a gift, but it means everything to be recognised for that gift. I must however give thanks to God without whom I would not be here today and also appreciate my family and friends for their love, support, and prayers,” she stated.
With every of her step, Darey couldn’t help but shower accolades on Esther, who had won God’s Children Great Talent Season 7 contest in 2017 at age 19, after she emerged first runner-up in the Next Big Teen talent in 2012.
“Of course, I am thankful to my Coach, Coach Darey, for making my time here truly rewarding, and for equipping me with the skills to give this my best shot,” she said of her coach.

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I Hope Nobody Else Dies Before PSquare Reconcile – Ayo Animashaun

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Media entrepreneur, Ayo Animashaun, has urged former PSquare duo, Peter and Paul Okoye, to settle their differences and not wait until they lose another person.
The executive producer shared a photo of members of the defunct Plantashun Boyz, 2face Idibia, Blackface and Faze after they had made peace at the ‘Night of Tribute’ in honour of late Sound Sultan in Terra Kulture, Lagos State on Sunday, July 25, 2021.
The singers were at some point called upstage and urged to reconcile as a way to honour the late singer, who was their bosom friend and colleague.
They agreed, embraced peace and even performed their classic songs together on stage.
Holding photo of the Plantashun Boiz which he described as his ‘picture of the month’, Animashaun called on the Okoye twin brothers to follow suit while hoping they do not lose any life before they eventually do the needful.
He wrote: “My picture of the month….I hope we don’t lose another life before @iamkingrudy and @peterpsquare realise it’s their turn to bury the hatchet. @therealblackfacenaija @fazealone @official2baba.”

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