All Together Now Africa part 2 - Nigeria

In 1967, most famous Nigerian musician in history, Fela Kuti went to Ghana in search of a new music. 10 years later he released "Zombie", an attack on the methods of the Nigerian military of the time.

The smash hit infuriated some, triggering a vicious attack in which Fela was severely beaten, his studio, commune and master tapes were destroyed and his mother was thrown from a window, causing her death. The year later in Accra, riots broke out during the song "Zombie" and Fela was banned from entering Ghana.

In 1969 Africa's bloodiest civil war was being fought in Nigeria between the forces of the military government led by General Yakubu Gowon and the secessionist forces of Biafra led by Odumegwu Ojukwu. Diplomats and emissaries had tried in vain for two years to stop the violence but in the midst of the brutal fighting Pelé and his team Santos travelled to Lagos to play two exhibition matches against local teams. In order to allow both sides of the conflict to see the game, a 48 hour ceasefire was called and honoured. Football again stopped a war just like in 1914.

“Some people believe that football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude, it is much, much more important than that!”

famously recorded Bill Shankly.

He felt that it gives us something on the level of the soul or spirit and like the intangible magical power of music and art these things we prize and love above all we do so because they are forums for conflict resolution and channels of peace.

All Together Now Africa seeks to use these channels to exchange stories from history and to promote and develop new exchanges of ideas and understanding. Traditional Nigerian music gave the world highly complex rhythms originating from work songs once used in synchronising people’s efforts and labour, harmonizing. In the northern regions, farmers work together on each other's farms and the host is still expected to supply musicians for his neighbours. This use of music in this way created the call-and-response choir, in which a lead singer and a chorus interchange verses, sometimes accompanied by instruments that either shadow the lead text or repeat the vocal phrase – the basis of modern rap and hiphop today. The same power.

Viva Nigeria


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