BY CHUKS NWANNE
Just as Nigerians were still trying to come to terms with the fact that the country has been included in the terror watch list of the United States of America – a situation brought about by the action of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, who is being held for allegedly trying to blow up a flight carrying 300 passengers on Christmas Day – rumour started making the rounds that our nightingale, Asa, had been arrested abroad.
According to the rumour, which was posted on some gossip websites by unknown reporters, the Bibanke crooner was nabbed by the London police in Heathrow Airport, for allegedly being in possession of substance claimed to be marijuana.
Immediately the news broke out, phones calls, text messages and e-mails started raining from concerned Nigerians from different parts of the world. For sure, most Nigerians treated the report with so much disbelief judging by the character of the artiste involved. But in a swift reaction, Asa has cleared the air from her Lagos home.
Speaking through a telephone conversation, the singer stated: “I have no idea about the story; I don’t know who this person is or what he looks like…I don’t know.”
Asked if she had passed through Heathrow Airport in recent times, the award-winning singer/guitarist exclaimed, “No! I’ve not been out of the country since early December; I’ve been around working on my second album. Right now, I’m home in Lagos.”
The dreadlocks-wearing artiste, who launched into the entertainment industry with her self-titled album, was full of thanks to Nigerians and fans, who according to her, has treated the rumour with disbelief.
“I just want to say thank you very much to my fans; I don’t know what I would have done without their encouragement. I’m really grateful to them and I love them,” she said.
Born in Paris, Asa’s early life in the City of Light left the little girl with little or no memories, since she was no more than two years old when her family returned to live in Nigeria. Paris was just one stage in the life of her courageous and hard-working parents. But her fate was tied up with the city; it was to Paris that Asa returned 20 years later and where her life as an artist took wing.
Asa was the only girl in the family and had to share her parents, not often present, with three brothers. At a tender age she began to look after the house during her father and mother’s frequent absences; that was when she started to sing. The desire came to her and didn’t go away, carving out a permanent place in her soul. So Asa sang her heart out. She preferred singing to talking, improvising endlessly — until her mother made her stop.
Over the years, her father had built up a fine collection of records featuring soul classics and Nigerian music. The little girl grew up to the sounds of artists including Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Lagbaja and went on to draw inspiration from them, which is evident in her style of music.
Mr. Capable drops Lagos Party
He launched into the country’s music industry when he returned with Ebute Metta, his own version of Rihanna’s Umbrella. Today, Banky W, otherwise called Mr. Capable in the entertainment circle, has joined the league of top Nigerian hip-hop artistes.
The returnee artiste recently dropped the video for his new song, Lagos Party, the second single off his W Experience album, after Strong Thing. The star-studded video features cameos from artistes such as P-Square, M.I, eLDee, Andre Blaze of Nigezie, Lami, Omawumi, Wizkid, Noble Igwe, Ebuka, Annette Begg, Kaffy, Kel, 2shotz, Matthew Mensah, Skales and others.
Directed by Kemi Adetiba for Dragonfly Productions, the video is an all-Lagos affair as it was shot on location at Lagoon Crest in Lagos.
Beautiful Nubia brings Irinajo home
Canada-based-Nigerian folk and roots artiste, Beautiful Nubia and his Roots Renaissance band, will be staging a special concert in, in celebration of birth of Irinajo, his latest work.
Billed for January 24, at Sparkle Hall, 118 Joel Ogunnaike St., Ikeja GRA, Lagos, starting from 4pm to 8pm, the gig will be a four straight hours of uplifting, soothing and danceable music from a master performer and his group of accomplished musicians.
With an uncanny ability to reach back into the past, re-invent ancient rhythms and mesh them with original melodies to produce soul-churning sound offerings, Nubia has evolved a form of music that continues to defy classification and appeals to a continuously growing market comprising all sections of the populace — the poor and the rich, unlettered market-women and university professors, urban youth and rural folk, male and female, young and old.
All elements of the society can be found at a Beautiful Nubia concert and, as he likes to say, “Everyone is welcome to Beautiful Nubia’s party!”
9ice, Toni Paye... They put their union asunder
Barely a year (exactly July 17, 2008) since singer Abolore Akande aka 9ice got married to fashion artiste, Toni Payne, news recently filtered in that the couple had separated.
In a press statement issued by the musician’s PR outfit, both lovers, for now, will go separate ways.
“9ice and his beautiful wife Toni Payne, with whom he tied the knots, are separating. The couple has agreed to separate for a while, even though they continue to remain good friends and business partners. Their baby Zion will reside with Toni for now,” the statement reads.
“This is a very tough decision for the couple, and it’s a tough, even trying time for the young partnership we all admire so much. And they’re even the more constrained to make this announcement; knowing it will shatter many of their fans, and admirers within and outside the country. But they have both agreed to be responsible about the development, and make public what is necessary, to avoid unnecessary speculations, and rumours,” the statement reads.
Who’s the first Nigerian artiste to own a shoe line? Durella or Sham Pain
It is no longer news that a hit maker has launched his shoe line, Durella Sneakers. This is coming after his record label, TC Records, introduced his Durella Car Freshener. For now, the sneakers are not on general sale but there are hints that the they would be available in all Twice As Nice shops from the 1st of March 2010.
But on the heels of the report on Durella Sneakers, hints came from US-based Nigerian rapper Sham Pain, that Durella is indeed not the first Nigerian artiste to own his own shoe line.
According to Sham Pain, “I send all my congrats to Durella, he’s doing his thing, but I was the first Nigerian to have my own shoe line named Kashi Gators, way back since 2006 and sold the company in 2008.”
“My clientele were all the top USA sports personalities and footlocker as you can read about them on the website Sport Illustrated/CNN below: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1108350/index.htm”
General public, over to you