Flashback Friday: Bright Chimezie's Evergreeness

I remembered when I first accidentally came across Ziggima music icon Bright Chimezie on TV. I was in high school back then and was skipping through stations for what to watch. I eventually got tired and left it on one station and his music 'African Style' came on as a filler (you know those open spaces of transmission time on Naija local TV stations that are usually filled up with random music videos). I listened for a moment and I was sort of entranced by his music despite my youthful exuberance and western preferences.

Chimezie in his younger years
The part of the song that got me most hooked was the one where he told a tale of his trip to a western nation and decided to eat a Nigerian meal instead of theirs and the shocked white folk called for the police to report that he was 'committing suicide'. The most popular hook of that part of the track is where he says 'Police eh, police eh, police, he's committing suicide oh; the black man wey dey here is committing suicide oh' . That line stuck with me forever.

Chimezie's music was an urban upbeat kind of high-life with pulsating beats and bass-lines that would make anybody nod to it. He was very creative and stylish with his vocals which was punctuated in systematic rhythm. Many of his songs also carry humorous anecdotes, tales and thought provoking references. This are the elements that make his brand of music evergreen. On listening to 'African Style' again, I was overwhelmed with the quality - it sounded like music that was still very applicable for traditional dance halls today.

A recent photo of Chimezie 
Its equally apparent that breed of artistes that sing like Bright Chimezie seem to be fast going into extinction. Many of his songs are like medleys that stretch deliciously into about 11 minutes of play (also typical of other genres like Juju music, Fuji etc) I once got an insider info that Flavour N'abania used to do gigs that followed the nature of this music. No wonder he's grounded in a contemporary type of urban high-life music; also we can see that he started off with doing remixes of high-life greats. I'm looking forward to seeing who would come out first to do a remix of any of Chimezie's hits.

The last time I saw Chimezie was during the COSON dinner that held at the Muson Centre, V.I. He still looked as vibrant despite his older look. I even came across a more recent video of a 10 minute track he released some time back titled 'Because of English'. Apart from the fact that he has aged over time, he hasn't lost his spark as reflected in the video. He even did some of his trademark moves in the video. And in his usual way of dishing out informative anecdotes, he gives a tour of the Igbo alphabet as well as reminisces of the dangers of speaking vernacular in high school.

I could definitely relate to the later.

In all thism Chimezie has not lost sight of his trademark look (talk about personal branding) of sleevesless or short sleeved ankara tops with traditional beads and cap.

Bright Chimezie has definitely made his own mark in the sands of time of Naija music genre. I hope out contemporary artistes of today can learn a thing or two from him.

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