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Early Music Life Waziri Oshomah (Waziri Oshomah Biography)
Alhaji Waziri Oshomah starts his speech in front of a dancing audience. His lyrics warn against the evil of envy, but the crowd is here to party. We’re in Afenmailand, a small section of Edo State in southern Nigeria noted for being a peaceful community where Muslims and Christians coexist and dance. The mood is one of satisfaction, excitement, and pleasure, since seeing Waziri perform is like having your body and soul addressed.
Alhaji Waziri Oshomah, a devout Muslim and pillar in his community, Born into a Muslim Afenmai/Etsako family in southern Nigeria, Waziri was entranced not only by the highlife sound emanating from Lagos, but by local Etsako groups, who favoured driving guitar lines over the flamboyant horn sections of the capital. When his parents disowned him for fear he had strayed too far from his faith, Waziri responded by infusing his music with the teachings of Islam, creates a unique form of dance music that fuses local folk rhythms, pan-Nigerian highlife, and Western pop, creating a particular sound that epitomizes Afenmailand’s spirit of cooperation.
His songs are thoughtful and philosophical, drawing on Judeo-Christian and traditional imagery to talk of piety and reverence, imparting Islamic principles such as humility and modesty in a way that everyone can comprehend, regardless of belief or faith.
He’s the inventor of a distinct dance music infused with Islamic principles and combined with local folk traditions, highlife, and Western pop—and he’s Edo State’s best entertainer. He’s known as the Etsako Super Star.
Despite parallels to William Onyeabor’s electronic sounds, Fela Kuti’s visceral afrobeat, and Ebo Taylor’s Ghanaian guitar-led highlife, Waziri’s is a world unto itself. It is an universe in which musical expression and Islamic culture coexist. In the purest sense, this is soul music.
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