January 13, 2012

Velvet

I really had no intention of dedicating a post to this singer from Nigeria, but one of the tunes has been stuck inside my head for nearly two weeks now. So I am hoping writing about it may be conducive to the process of exorcism (so to speak).

You may remember my post about the great Tunde Nightingale, where I expressed my puzzlement about the nickname reserved for this singer. It just goes to show that when it comes to vocals there may be some cultural differences between my western perception and that of the varied African peoples. "Peoples", for Tunde was not the only vocalist with this 'nom de plume' (or 'nom de micro', if you like). There is Rossignol (real name: Philippe Lando), star of the first line-up of the O.K. Jazz and co-founder of Rock-a-Mambo. And I remember a record (which can still be found on the Global Groove blog) where Tchico - normally also a "rossignol" - is called a "ladybird" (at the end of the song "Oh! Maman Chérie")!

In this case I am puzzled about the adjective used to describe the voice of Alhaja Hassanah Waziri.
"Velvet"??
Unless it is meant as a clever alternative to "rough" or "rough-edged" I am at loss for the source of this label.
Maybe it is a cultural thing...

And that brings me to the reason for my original reluctance to post her lp. For as to her roots I can only speculate. The reference to her in the discography of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah may suggest a (family) relationship. Perhaps she is also from the Etsako region of Edo State?

As a layman when it comes to highlife in general and Nigerian highlife in particular I am at times reminded of the likes of Orlando Owoh, i.e. of what I would like to call the more 'muddy' variant of Nigerian highlife. As a bonus Ms. Waziri has a nice horn section backing her, and that's one thing I have never heard with Owoh (but then, what do I know?).

The song stuck in my mind is, by the way, "Emomhe Alhaja Awawo Oigbesor". Be warned...

Shanu Olu SOS 219 (1986)

6 comments:

FrancoPepeKalle said...

This is so interesting music I have heard for some time. It will be interesting. I am going to try to check out more Ghana music.

ken_yatta said...

Beautiful record. Thanks very much.

jan duinkerken said...

I would say this music is more like Rogana Ottah than Orlando Owoh. Thank you!

WrldServ said...

@Jan Duinkerken: You've made me curious of Rogana Ottah now... This is one artist (of the many) I appear to have missed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the record. Very god music

glinka21 said...

I've begun developing this theory that poetic metaphors given to performers come from the way the cultures perceive those metaphors. So velvet, in a hot climate: not so much seen as smooth? Perhaps just, as heavy? Or heavy and smooth? Her voice certainly is deeper than several others you've posted.

Again, just a theory.