October 05, 2011

Why worry?

I know I shouldn't, but I can get very worked up about stupid adverts. Unfortunately for me, there is an ever expanding range of those, and the level of stupidity has gone down to way below what until not very long ago was considered absolute zero. When it comes to that paradigms shift faster than the speed of light......

One advert that has completely put me off buying anything from that particular brand is by a manufacturer of cameras. In this advert a lady announces that she is a type of camera. Who are you kidding, woman? Are you receiving treatment for this psychopathic delusion?!

And this brings me seamlessly (!) to the subject of this post. For there are very few musical groups that have a name that is more inviting, more curiosity provoking than the group of the late Suberu Oni. Indeed: Why Worry?

I have attempted to dig up some background to this musical master from Nigeria, but have found it a challenge. Suberu Oni appears have been one of the pioneering highlife artists rising to fame in the 1950s and 1960s. A contemporary of Ayinde Bakare and Theophilus Iwalokun, he was a native of Ondo (and assume they mean the city in the state of the same name) and sang in a local Ondo dialect with a distinct, deep guttural voice.

The name of his record label suggests Suberu Oni was proud of his origins. The name Ekimogun is probably related to the name of an annual event. "On Ekimogun Day all sons and daughters of Ondo Kingdom at home and in the Diaspora come together to showcase their culture and raise funds for the development of their community.
In the past 23 years that the Ekiomogun Day has taken place, hundreds of indigenes have benefited from scholarship awards and trainings, through the funds generated by the organisers of the event, the Ondo Development Committee.
I think it would be too much of a coincidence to assume that Oni´s label led to the naming of this event. It seems more likely that both refer to another element of Ondo tradition and/or culture.

As to this lp, I am totally in the dark when it comes to titles and other useful info. Perhaps someone can help us out. If not, we still have the solid, old style music and those remarkable voices. And that in itself is good enough, if you ask me.
So why worry?

Ekimogun EKLP 096 (alternative link)


whiteanduptight said...

yes, why worry when we have great blogs like yours to take our mind off all the stupid out there... :)

thanks for sharing all this great music to help make us happy & not worry!

Anonymous said...

Well, Mr Worldservice, Good old Steve, Do you remember The Buggles - I am a Camera.....
Now a lady does the trick and the company that sells cameras gets more exposure one way or another. For me commercials are a time to go to the toilet, get another cup of tea .
And when you go to Mali in a few weeks I wish you a splendid time there, save journeys, and a fruitfull holiday (don't forget your camera)


WrldServ said...

@Anonymous (Richard): Luckily I do not remember The Buggles. When they released this hit (?) - and I read in the wikipedia that this was in 1981 - I had already gone off western music and was well on my way to discover the overwhelmingly abounding riches of non-western music(s).

The ratio adverts-programmes is such that I would have to drink myself into a ureteric stupor to justify visiting the lavatory during every commercial break. This doesn't seem wise.

And I wasn't aware that I knew you well enough to call me "good old", let alone "Steve".......

ajnabi said...

Always worth a visit is your blog. Thanks. No worries.

Anonymous said...

Stephan, may I beg for pardon. You are right to point out to me that I should not be familliar. We never met, never shook hands, and another thing, I choose anonymous comments. I shall respect the way YOU wish that I shall call you


Anonymous said...

oh dear, mr. wereld omroep can NOT be called "Good old Steve".

that is too bad.

you see, in true Kinshasa spirit we greet people nicely.
remember mzee:

bato nyonso na mbotama bazali nzomi pe bakokani na limemya pe makoki.
bazali na mayele pe base, geli kofanda na bondeko okati na bango.

if you really have 20 or more years interest in african culture you should have learned to smile when someone calls you "Good old Steve".

greetings from an old mbende man.

WrldServ said...

@van der kist: Again: too many assumptions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for digging this up. I'm very well acquainted with Suberu Oni and his Why Worry Orchestra. They are indeed from Ondo town in Ondo state in nigeria. They were quite the funny pair( The band consisted of two main guys) One of them, Suberu Oni was a big broad guy with quite the hearty laugh. To my young eyes back then he seemed to be larger than life, he must have been at least 250 pounds and to my 8 year old eyes he might as well have been a giant. His partner couldn't have been bigger than 150 pounds and quite short. Suberu lived behind my grandma's house in Ondo town and was quite a sight in the town. He would come around almost every day to pay his respects to all the elders in the neighborhood, he and the band were quite well loved. They had a bunch of hits locally in the Ondo state area and they along with Sir Francis Akintade were the most popular groups out of Ondo state until king Sunny Ade came around and basically knocked off all the old guys. they straddled that line of musicians who came of age in colonial Nigeria and tried to make the transition to post colonial Nigerian sensibilities. Some where more successful than others, they made a bunch of appearances on the radio(FRCN-The federal radio corporation of Nigeria) and on the telly. Not quite sure how much their popularity crossed over into the country at large but in the Ondo state area they were quite they rage. Some of their popular hits were "Oba rere a mbe ebe" "Why worry lawa wa" "Ogedengbe" their lyrics were usually along the lines of parables and admonitions to the youth and topical political issues. My grandma had an old gramophone and we played a bunch 78's, the Why Worry Orchestra was on heavy rotation. The story goes that Suberu's bandmate wandered off one day and was never seen of heard of again. Sitting here with my brother and reminiscing. Thanks

whiteanduptight said...

dear van der kist,

would it be possible to ask for an translation of what you wrote that is not in english?

you sound like a very nice & wise "old mbende man", and i'm very curious as to what that says. :)

thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi, anonymous here again. I was scouring the web trying to find images of The Why Worry Orchestra to send you but boy, there's about nothing on them . What a shame. Because i'm so intimately familiar with the band members and their music this post resonates with me deeply. I'll keep trying to find stuff to send you. Heading to Nigeria in a few weeks I'll be in Ondo town and i bet i can dig up stuff. By the way, Suberu's the one with the deep gruff voice on the album. Boy really missing the good old days

WrldServ said...

@Anonymous (i.e. the last two): Thank you for these very helpful additions. Any information about this great artist is very welcome!
In my opinion it is a disgrace that artists of this stature are at risk of disappearing into the mist of oblivion.