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Waziri Oshomah Biography
The first thing that springs to mind when most people think of Nigerian music is probably afrobeat, the darkly funky African jazz dish made known by bandleader Fela Kuti, a Yoruba from the southwest of the country. They might also bring up other Yoruba musicians, such Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade, who are the two main figures in the southwestern juju movement. Perhaps they would focus more on the eastern part of the nation, where Igbo highlife artists like Oliver De Coque, the Oriental Brothers, and Stephen Osita Osadebe have left their stamp on the scene. Individuals with more creative minds can consider citing Hausa and Fulani griots like Dan Maraya Jos, Alhaji Mamman Shata, and Alhaji Musa Dankwairo as examples.
However, it is uncommon for the mid-western part of the nation—which includes the present-day Nigerian states of Edo and Delta—to receive attention. The music of the Afemai, or Etsako people, is one of the richest musical traditions in Edo, which boasts a plethora of musical traditions that are both deep and vast yet grossly underexplored. Alhaji Waziri Oshomah is the undisputed champion in the Afemai music genre.
Among the more discerning fans of Nigerian highlife, afemai music has long been kept a secret. For many, it is nearly addictive, leading them to frantically seek out more and more recordings in this esoteric genre. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes this song so seductive; it possesses elements of gritty, mesmerising, euphoric, melodic, and heartfelt music. But when words fail, most people would use the adjective “deep” to describe it. The fact that the music doesn’t quite have a general designation or an iconic leader to guide it in the same way that, example, Fela provides for afrobeat makes it more difficult to discuss. Waziri Oshomah, dubbed “the Etsako Super Star,” is typically the most approachable and dependably rewarding entry point.
Isah Sule, the father of Waziri Oshomah, was born in 1948 in the midwestern village of Osomegbe. Osomegbe, which is located in the Ekperi clan’s domain, has a diverse population in terms of both culture and religion. We are roughly 60% Muslim and 40% Christians, according to Oshomah. My family practises Islam. Additionally musically inclined, his family took part in the performance of traditional social music. He recalls, “My parents were composers.” They also served as the lead vocalists for other local ethnic groups, including Agbi, Izi, and Agie, to name a few.
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