Shina Peters at 60: A life in music

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Shina-Peters-at-60-A-life-in-music-Shina Peters at 60: A life in musicShina Peters: A music profession outlined by the album Ace

By Reuben Abati

I take into account it an amazing privilege to depend Shina Peters, the Afro-Juju maestro, who turns 60 this week, as one among my buddies and brothers. Dele Momodu has already penned a brief tribute in his honour and a committee of buddies is planning a day of tributes to coincide together with his birthday on May 30. Shina Peters deserves to be celebrated, honoured and serenaded for his contribution to the humanities, his place in Nigerian music, his originality and his humanism. I met Shina Peters in these early days of changing into.

I used to be a graduate pupil at the University of Ibadan and sitting via courses in musicology taught by Esi Kinni Olusayin, one among our academics in the team-teaching element of Theatre Arts Theory and Criticism, I had begun to take a particular curiosity in that facet of criticism and the ethnographic accent that Nigerian-American Ms Olusayin positioned on it. Now, ethno-musicology is just not a joke, however what’s related in this piece is how I developed curiosity in the examine and the essential evaluation of music. And it simply occurred that I wrote in these days very actively for the Nigerian press – Daily Sketch – the place I did guide opinions, nearly weekly, Nigerian Tribune the place I additionally wrote opinions and essays, The Times Literary Supplement anchored first by Afam Akeh and later Dapo Adeniyi, and naturally the seminal Guardian Literary Series anchored by Ben Tomoloju the place literature was promoted and rigorous intellection was allowed, and The Guardian opinion pages the place probably the most severe debates in the nation had been performed in a really severe method by the nation’s greatest and brightest.

When Chinua Acehbe wrote that there was as soon as a rustic, there was certainly as soon as a rustic – a rustic the place expertise flourished, the place the city enriched the robe and vice versa and certainly, the place it was not a sin to subdue the consciously materials life and search issues of the elevated thoughts. It was in that context that I met Shina Peters. My childhood buddy, Kayode Ajala, was the editor of Hints journal. He and Dele Momodu had been the youngest editors in Nigerian journalism at the time. Our boss at Hints journal the place I used to be Contributing Editor was Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. Hints was a romance journal, certainly that journal reinvented romance journalism in Nigeria.

When Kachikwu was not attending to his day by day job as a authorized adviser in Mobil, he joined us at Hints, to supply that grew to become a bestseller in Nigerian greater establishments. We had been an amazing staff as a result of there was no publisher-staff relationship. Dr, as we known as him was a part of the staff. He wrote columns and tales like everybody else. He joined in the proof-reading of tales. He took an curiosity in every little thing, and even joined us in the workers canteen. He was our mentor. Hints journal was about journalism nevertheless it was additionally household, a major occasion in the lives of everybody who labored there. It is just not an accident that the journal produced fairly quite a few superstars- Chidinnma Awa-Agu, Amaka Obiofuma, Hetty Ajayi, Onah Dike, Ekerete Udoh, Kayode Ajala, Chim Newton, Toni Kan Onwordi, Helon Habila, Peter Nkwoche and so forth.

Then Shina Peters occurred. No, scratch that. He emerged. He developed. In 1989, Shina Peters launched an album which he titled Ace (Afro—Juju collection 1). It was not his first foray into music. He began music at a really younger age, music being the one factor he had ever achieved in his life. He served apprenticeship beneath Chief Ebenezer Obey and later joined General Prince Adekunle’s band the place he realized to play the guitar and the piano and sing. He was the famous person of the Adekunle band: younger, however dexterous on the guitar and the piano. Artists are peripatetic spirits: they hear solely to the Muse that controls them. The Muse that guides each artist is exclusive. The muse is transcendental.

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Shina Peters quickly left General Prince Adekunle and he teamed up with a colleague of his, Segun Adewale to kind a band that was referred to as Sir Shina Adewale and the Superstars International. It was a case of expertise assembly alternative; the partnership was electrifying; this mixture of expertise in a proper sense was maybe the primary of its kind in the historical past of juju music in Nigeria. Students of enterprise partnerships would discover in the Sir Shina Adewale instance a helpful case examine in why partnerships fail in Nigeria or usually in enterprise. In the course of a examine of the Odutola brothers, which produced a co-authored guide with my colleague and buddy, Sesan Ajayi, a guide that was commissioned by General Olusegun Obasanjo as he then was, we had noticed that even biology doesn’t mitigate the challenges of partnership. In the Shina Adewale case, the partnership produced extraordinarily lovely music: 9 albums in all and all masterly experiments in sound, that means and leisure. Segun Adewale led the vocals; Shina Peters anchored the instrumentation. The two buddies quickly fell aside, and that was a tragedy for Nigerian music. Both males couldn’t handle their success and their ego. Sir Shina Adewale stays a misplaced alternative in Nigerian music and a foul script in the examine of enterprise partnership. The two males took juju music past the custom already established from Roy Campbell to Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade, after which ruined it.

Shina Peters put into the partnership his mastery of instrumentation; melody and the rhythmic mix. Segun Adewale introduced a wealthy, seductive, soulful voice that fitted naturally into Shina’s model, all laced with wealthy philosophy – a placing and intimidating mixture of Ebenezer Obey, Prince Adekunle and Sunny Ade. If each had remained collectively, they’d each have emerged as the very best factor that ever occurred in juju music. But they blew it. I don’t need to take sides. But Shina Peters’ place is that Segun Adewale finally started to assume that he was the key of the staff’s success. It is probably Karmic that Segun Adewale virtually vanished alongside the road, after the break up, and that Shina Peters developed, even when I take into account his collaboration with Segun Adewale, probably the most authentic section of his profession, and a major second in the evolution of juju music.

Shina Peters developed via Ace, and that was the purpose at which we met. When the album titled Ace was launched in 1989, there had been nothing prefer it, earlier than it, or after it. Ace was not precisely juju – Shina Peters named it Afro-juju, to be interpreted in this evaluation as a medley, a fusion, hitherto unseen, of rhythm, syncopation, polyphony and dance with a contact of meta-spatial incandescence. This originality most likely explains the recognition of the album. It was not simply music; it was music as that means, as psycho-motor, spatial, kinetic exploration, a mix of man and notes in the interrogation of sense and emotion. Both women and men latched on to each ingredient of that album. Something new had occurred once more in the juju area and the general public couldn’t have sufficient of it. Juju music is ordinarily sedate, extra of sense than instrumentation and kinetics, however Shina Peters blended all of it; he stretched the boundaries of the style, he did to juju music what Fela did to highlife. Ace received double Platinum.

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Shina Peters grew to become a phenomenon. He offered newspaper copies. Hints journal unleashed us on him. Dr Kachikwu needed each attainable story on this phenomenon. Kayode Ajala had a provide of standing vehicles. Money was additionally not our downside. He and I adopted Shina Peters in all places. We grew to become his buddies and brothers. It was throughout this era that I knew the likes of Segun Awolowo (met him earlier in Ogun State University), Femi Otedola (then of Impact Press in Mushin), Lanre Tejuoso, Kweku Tandor, Abayomi Jolaoso, Dotun Olaribigbe (Lobito Disco), Dele Momodu, Mayor Akinpelu, Gboyega Okegbenro, Kunle Bakare, Dayo Olomu, Wale Olomu, Wale Oluwaleyimu, Eko Round City (later Eko Kashoggi), an extended record of society ladies, a part of that routine in fact additionally included nights in accommodations, journeys to golf equipment, joints, breakfasts in child mamas properties and all of that. That was additionally once I learnt to drink beer – from a glass to half-bottle till I selected Star – Shine Shine bobo – as my favorite model, and virtually grew to become a connoisseur. We sat behind the stage and inspired Shina Peters and wrote tales. We adopted him in all places. Ajala and I ultimately grew to become a member of his interior circle. We may enter each room in his home. Shina Peters is an open, unpretentious artiste. He worshipped his mother and father. He was dedicated to his spouse, Sammie who additionally supported him with the fanaticism of a disciple. He loves what he does –music.

In these days, he invited us to hearken to his albums earlier than they had been launched. After Ace and Shinamania nevertheless, Shina Peters may not reproduce the magic of the second that introduced him to worldwide limelight. I could also be mistaken, however I attribute this to his departure from Sony Music. Art is actually collaborative. It is an ensemble enterprise. When a essential hyperlink disappears, the implications could also be far-reaching. The Sony Music staff of Mrs Keji Okunowo, Laolu Akins, Tony Alenkhe supplied a pure residence for Shina Peters’ expertise. His exit from that residence robbed him of the required assist to fill the vacuum that had been created by the sickness that took Sunny Ade out of the scene for quite a few years. Sunny Ade’s return and Shina’s exit from Sony music modified the sport.

As somebody who can declare to know Shina Peters, on and off the scene of play, I state that there are various classes that youthful musicians can be taught from his profession and expertise. My final main piece on music in Nigeria attracted very emotional responses from younger Nigerian musicians. I predicted at the time that a lot of these egoistic and noise-making musicians would finally find yourself as full nobodies and that solely artists of actual expertise would survive. I consider I’ve been confirmed proper. Music is just not noise, it’s about that means. It is about capability, expertise and relevance. Shina Peters continues to stay related as a result of he’s a person of true expertise. His endurance is the product of his professionalism and his capability to reinvent himself. His dedication to the juju style is spectacular. In these days, he actively inspired youthful musicians significantly Dele Taiwo, and different youthful juju musicians.

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He might be delicate, nervous about competitors, and infrequently insecure, however he has no doubts about his abilities and capabilities. This is the supply of his power and endurance. He could not have produced another platinum music for some time, however he has achieved significantly better than his contemporaries in the face of the competitors of the musical genres: in the previous it was juju vs. fuji, now the panorama is way wider and the competitors is way stiffer than might be probably imagined. When we finally do a stock-taking of the evergreens in Nigerian music, Shina Peters and his oeuvre will definitely be near the highest of the record. That at 60, he already has an assured place among the many masters is a outstanding achievement and on that I congratulate him. Star! SSP! Happy birthday, sir.


Kunle Ajibade: A life in Journalism

Kunle Ajibade can be 60. He turned 60 on May 28. I actually don’t know what to say about this one. He can not sing. He doesn’t dance. He doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t know easy methods to steal or cheat. I’ve identified him for about 30 years and I’ve by no means caught him with a girlfriend or a facet chick aside from his spouse. He has very naughty buddies like me however he has refused to permit our shortcomings to rub off on him. I’ve by no means heard of any scandal about him, actually. He has by no means raised his voice in anger in my presence both. He is generally called a gentleman and that’s who he’s – a humanist and a gentleman. Kunle Ajibade is the writer of two books- Jailed for Life and What a rustic! And a patriot – With all that this nation has achieved to him, he and his spouse have refused to stop or quit.

He was jailed for life by the Abacha authorities for an offence he by no means dedicated. He was not even the one they had been in search of, he simply occurred to be in the workplace they usually took him. Providence got here to his rescue and he has by no means complained since then. Kunle Ajibade is a particular breed. I love him for his power of character, his mind, simplicity, and self-discipline. What connects us is his mind.

When it involves issues of the mind, Kunle Ajibade is that man who will inform you as it’s. He writes properly. He speaks properly. Cant or authority don’t impress him. He is above all, a positive journalist, a bibliophile, and one of the crucial brave in our technology. Ex-Guardian, ex-African Concord and one of many founders of The News and Tempo magazines, Kunle Ajibade is an icon of the journalism career in Nigeria. Congratulations my brother. Didn’t know you had been older; now I’ve to name you Broda Kunle. Many pleased returns, Broda mi, and to Madam – thanks and thanks for standing by this man via thick and skinny.

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