Archive for July, 2009

WUNMI OBE HITS 40

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 31, 2009 by ayenithegreat

wunmi Obe  (3)Showbiz couple Tunde and Wunmi Obe will host very close friends and family members to a private dinner and dance party today in Lagos, in celebration of Wunmi’s 40th birthday anniversary.

 Wunmi, a writer, singer, actor and entrepreneur clocks 40 today.

 She was born at the Lagos University Teaching hospital, LUTH on July 31, 1969.

 ‘‘It felt like it was so far away. I remember back then in the eighties, I used to imagine what it’ll look like in year 2009 when I clock 40. But now, it’s all happening so soon’’, the celebrant told Ayenithegreat on phone early this week.

 Born Omowunmi Valerie Adedoyin Aboderin to the late Chief Olu Aboderin and his wife Florence Jadesola, she attended Grange school, Queens College and studied Philosophy at the University of Lagos.

 It was while an undergraduate at UNILAG, that she met Tunde Obe, a co-aspiring singer and co-member at the popular Turning Point band. They got married on June 26, 1998, and are now blessed with three kids: Modesayo (8), Riccardo (7) and Andre (5).

 From club rounds to private gigs and regular slots at Jazville and the old Coliseum, Wunmi proved she’s got talent, and earned industry respect, at a time when many of her contemporaries were still struggling with acceptance. And she took it to an entirely new level, when she debuted on the Charly Boy show as Miss Snowbottom. She acted the part not just well; but excellently. Just as she did the short hilarious drama sketches with Tunde.

 She won more fans doing the Charly Boy show, and reached large audiences across the nation. But she has spent the better part of a brilliant career as a recording artiste (with T.W.O.) and performing artiste (with the band DeJavu).

 ‘‘Apart from a few holiday jobs back then, I think the only job I’ve ever kept outside entertainment, was as a copy writer with LTC advertising. Entertainment is it for me. And it’s the same for my husband Tunde’’, she says, insisting that she has not ‘‘really’’ abandoned TV. ‘‘I’ve done a couple of stuff on TV in recent times; even a soap. But maybe it’s about time I give it the same attention I give music?’’

wunmi Obe  (2)

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WEEPING FOR MICHAEL

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 10, 2009 by ayenithegreat

weep not, child

weep not, child

For years, her father hid her from all of us. But when she’ll eventually make her ‘debut’, it was before billions of people, spread across different continents.

 Even her father didn’t have that kind of audience when he started out over four decades ago.

 Paris Katherine Michael Jackson: We were hearing her voice for the first time.

 ‘‘I just want to say ever since I was born daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine’’. And that was all, before the 11 year-old broke down in tears.

 

Yes! She had a right to weep. Michael was her father! And she was not the only one that shed tears at MJ’s funeral at the Staples centre last Tuesday. Jermaine- who has been in tears since Jackson passed – wept too. Same for Usher, Janet (who hid behind dark shades), and millions of fans across the world who watched the event live on TV.

So, how come some section of the media are speculating about the possibility of Paris’ breaking down – one of the most heart breaking moments of the service-being pre-planned?

 And, how come, video footage of Michael Jackson’s ‘ghost’ lurking around Neverland, during a Larry King live broadcast from the ranch, is becoming increasingly widespread on YouTube?

Because it’s difficult for us to associate anything ‘normal’ with MJ. It looks unbelievable that he’d just die like that and be gone forever; that his daughter will break down and cry while trying to give a speech at his memorial service. Normal stuff. Michael Jackson doesn’t do ‘normal’!

Some sceptics swore his corpse was not in the coffin. How about that?

 Others imagined he would just open the coffin, get up, smile, do a moon walk, and tell us all it was all just a joke- Paris and her siblings would have really found that funny.

NIGERIAN FANS ‘SMITTEN’ BY R.KELLY

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on July 10, 2009 by ayenithegreat

 

Kellz digging it in 9ja

Kellz digging it in 9ja

There’s no denying that the 42 year old R&B star has a huge following across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

Since his 1993 solo debut, the singer-songwriter has been a hit with Nigerian fans. And many, up to this day, continue to cherish his greatest hits; unanimously agreeing that there’s no contesting the fact that he’s the ‘R’ in RnB.

 

But following repeated allegations of child pornography and minors’ abuse, especially the 2002 leaked video tape allegedly showing Kelly and a 14 year-old engaging in sex, many followers renounced their fan-ship, apparently disgusted by the purported act, and convinced by the weight of the evidence against him. Radio stations in Lagos yanked him off their playlist. Writers condemned him, and many publicly expressed their disappointment.

But for six years, Kelly insisted he was not the man in the video. And not for a minute did he allow the tribulations to diminish his art. He was eventually declared not guilty on June 13, 2008.

But it was until a year later, before one could say for sure, if Nigerian fans still thought him guilty or not.

When he set foot on Lagos for the first time last week, one thing was clear: Mr. Kelly was keen about leaving a good impression. Before, during and after his gigs in Lagos and Abuja, he went ‘out of his way’’ to bond with fans, reporters and crew members. He asked to be snapped with the most unlikely people, exchanging banters with pleasantly surprised fans, and generally carrying on like a ‘’regular guy’’.

Many who came across the singer were easily reminded of Wyclef Jean, the Haitian who will go down in history as the most friendly, most unassuming and most supportive foreign act to ever visit Nigeria.

‘‘He’s so so simple, I can’t believe it!’’ a fan who attended the show told e-Punch.

‘‘He walked up to me and said, when are we taking our picture?’’, Lily, and industry insider who worked on the concerts, told friends excitedly.

He autographed her call card.

Another guest, who saw the star singer use a fan’s handkerchief to wipe his face, could not stop marvelling at ‘his himility’.

For someone who rarely tours or travel far, it’s interesting how well the singer has mastered public relations; how he manages to sweep fans off their feet even when there’s no mic in his hands – especially fans who did not have the best of opinions of him, prior to his visiting.

How did he do it, that fans who – just a few years ago were burning his CDs and calling him names, were suddenly scrambling to cough out alarming figures to see him rock the stage? How did he do it that, after just a few nights in the country, they’re now the ones spreading his gospel like they’re paid to do so?

Kelly... swept Nigerian fans of thier feet!

Kelly... swept Nigerian fans of thier feet!

He gave a good account of himself in Lagos and Abuja, drawing from a rich repertoire of fresh and old materials. But visiting acts are usually known to give a good account of themselves. What they fail to do most times, is leave a proper impression of their personae; what they fail to do is pull ‘PR stunts’, that can cause a whole nation to pronounce a ‘not guilty’ verdict.

Didn’t Kelly just do that?

MICHAEL JACKSON: THE MAGIC AND THE MADNESS

Posted in living with atg on July 3, 2009 by ayenithegreat

 

MJ pic

The slideshow of the life and times of pop star Michael Jackson is still playing, even as friends, fans and family members continue to pay glowing tributes to the man who provided the redefinition of modern pop music.

 

It is expected that the late singer’s body will go on public view in a matter of days ahead of a funeral reportedly slated for next week.

 

Jackson, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday June 25, was the most iconic pop star since Elvis Presley, and his rare talent and career achievements – in spite of myriad personal troubles and an eccentric public-private life- have stamped his name in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.

 

Just like James Brown, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Fela Kuti, Jackson had remarkable personal failings, amazing contradictions and a huge potential to self-destruct.  With a blessing of the gift, and the burden of a curse, it was inevitable that he’ll live a life dominated by magic on one hand; and absolute madness on the other.

 

So, he broke chart records, sold millions of albums, got ladies weak in the knees, recruited fans all over planet earth, dined with presidents, married Elvis Presley’s daughter, and won awards like they were going out of fashion. But, for every fine move, there were-unfortunately- a bundle of mishaps, waiting to rear their ugly heads.

 

The mishaps of many ramifications, and a media desperate to feed the public with endless jackson-mania –expectedly- connived to steal attention from Jackson’s art; making sure that when we pictured Michael, the man we saw was not a successful singer-songwriter-performer. What we saw, instead, was a weirdo, a freak, a paedophile, a liar. What we saw, was the image of an addict, a spendaholic, and a man-trying-to-be-a-boy.

 

If the media conspired against Michael, it could be said that he himself was part of the conspiracy. He fed lies to the press, pulled poorly-thought-out PR stunts that eventually backfired, and lived a very very bizzarre private life; one whose content is staple food for the tabloids. He got a nose job. Talked of buying the bones of ‘Elephant Man’. Cooked up the story of the oxygen chamber, saying he was going to ‘‘live forever’’, like ‘Peter pan’. He even got sperm donors and surrogate mothers when he wanted to have kids…

 

With increasing damaging coverage and post-surgery repercussions, Michael became a sad story and a sorry sight. And many wished he would just die, before his demystification reached full cycle.

 

And death- that’s what it took to remind us all; including the media, of how much we still adored the boy-man. It took Michael dying for us to celebrate him again. He may have failed to make the much anticipated comeback, he may have been on the bottom calibration on the barometer of media opinion, and he may have stopped being the ‘king of pop’ long before even he realised it.

 

But, when Michael’s heart stopped pumping blood last Thursday, no one could have predicted the outpour of love and emotion that followed – even from the media!

 

Did we really love Michael that much?

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MICHAEL VS ELVIS?

 

Michael’s death, last week, has brought up a plethora of interesting debates. Among them: who was greater in life and in death? Michael Joseph Jackson? Or the equally legendary Elvis Aaron Presley who died at 42 in 1977?

 I’d like to know what you think!