Atta Lennel started on the piano, he played a soft, soothing tune,
The next ones, breaking away, deep and one by one, didn't need experts, they were nice songs and I had heard him perform them before so they were somewhat familiar. Like I wrote after the first root n raw, Atta shows great mastery in what he does. He switches keys so easily with his voice and guitar and that I find quite impressive.
Next, the sound of Etuk Ubong's trumpet filled the air, I had to look around for where the sound was from. He gradually made his way to the stage.
A guitarist, a pianist and a drummer joined him, he introduced them as Lennard - keyboard, MK (Michael) - drums and Michael Wonder on the bass guitar. The sounds came out in such unison, they entertained me.
You could tell that each one of these guys knew their thing as they played easily. At the beginning of the second rendition the instruments produced a samba, beach harmony. The first was softer. Each player had time to show off how good he was, MK I found exceptional! His head followed the beats and he had a smile which said I love what I'm doing. His attitude added life to those drums. From time to time, Etuk would step aside and let each player take centre stage. I liked the display with various instruments.
You know those Igbo village scenes in Nigerian films? The way a flute sounding instrument (ocha in Igbo) is usually played to introduce the scene, that was Dike Chukwumerije's entrance.
Dramatic right? It was kind of nice though. Dike took the microphone and spoke words of wisdom, throwing in Igbo words here and there.
His words are always loaded and I am a huge fan. He made us laugh, think, wonder...He ended with a peom he wrote in honour of Chinua Achebe when he passed away. Words that evoked mixed emotions - power, death, culture, darkness, sorrow. As much as I did not understand the words in Igbo, I felt all these. He ended with a song and all this was his tribute to a legend.
Cef in his usual exuberant way came up drumming on a water pot.
Cef likes to play with his voice in such an interesting way I find. He has a good stage presence which is usually accompanied by a broad smile that he flashes intermittently while performing but when he gets excited, the smile remains.
From the audience, I could see excitement, rapt attention and the instrumentalists were all over joyed. The last song Cef did was called MaryAnne, the beats were techno, jazzy and all sorts. The song talked more about not giving up on dreams than describing MaryAnne though :-) The performance went on...
I asked Cef what the plan for Root n Raw is ...he hopes that shows will be done every quarter from next year so we'll just have to watch out.
Photo Credit: Bantu Studio (You can find them in area 11, on Ahmadu Bello Way, at the plaza opposite Unity house) .