June 20, 2012

Peacock comfort

I am aware that Moos at Global Groove has posted an album by this very same group a few days ago. But in this case I can't resist adding my contribution to a well-deserved eulogy of the fantastic Peacocks International.

According to the inimitable John B. of the matching Likembe blog in the notes to the discography of this band on Professor Toshiya Endo website, the liner notes of the lp-version of this cassette claim: "..yet only very few of the millions of fans within 150,000 family units in Nigeria and Ghana really know who the Peacocks are. Some call them Ghanaians and are ready to stake anything to argue their claims, but call them what you like, the boys are Nigerians."

As an outsider I am truly amazed. I have never been in any doubt as to their nigerianess. And, it may be my total ignorance of efik, ewe, igbo or any of the other languages they may sing in, or call it intuition if you like, I had a nasty suspicion they might be from the igbo-side of Nigerian music.
Whether it is the music of that late Consistent King of Highlife, Stephen Osita Osadebe, or these Peacocks, there is a definite comforting feel about this music. I have had plenty of time to analyse this, as I have had this cassette for a few decades and have listened to it hundreds of times.

There is magic in those guitars, the passionate harmonies and meticulous percussion. And this is amply demonstrated in the songs on this cassette. You just haven't lived if you haven't listened to that opening of "Sambiro", or have joined in* the chorus of "Sambola Mama" or "Isuola Me" while driving at top speed on the motorway. And my head has an irresistible tendency to start wobbling listening to "Kinkana Special". And I could go on, but it might get embarrassing...

If you want to know more about the group I am afraid I will have to direct you to John's Likembe blog. I am still hopeful that he will share some more Peacock music with us.

EMI HNLX 5096(cassette)

* well, just the sounds and not really the words....


Anonymous said...

Thank you!

reservatory said...

This is great stuff. So rough and so smooth at the same time. THANKS.

Kendo said...

The Peacocks actually come from my town - Owerri, Imo State of Nigeria. Their leader, Raph Amarabem was at a time the lead guitarist for Rex Lawson, avowedly one of the greatest highlife musicians the world has known. After Rex died in 1971, he went to form the Peacocks. Many of the band members had stints in Ghana and when they broke up in the seventies, their lead singer, Dan Orji formed Skylarks which had some local success.