Bongos Ikwue, music icon and a living legend turned 70 recently. He gathered broadcasters at Double K Resort in Otukpo, Benue State as a prelude to his birthday anniversary and to announce his yet to be released new musical works. At the conference, he spoke on his music, the Nigerian situation, challenges of the music and film industry and many more.
The motive behind the gathering?
The Motive behind this gathering is to let the world know that I have done some new works that I’m very passionate about. It is a unity project which has six songs.One of the tracks in the album is titled “Nigeria Has Come To Stay”, other tracks include “Mustapher Christopher”, “Your God Is My God”, Hold On Africa, One United Nigeria and Cock Crow At Dawn.
Each of these songs point to the fact that we need to stay united, we need to be tolerant because no country survives without unity. So, I’m not only singing it, I believe in it.
You talk about your peace project, what do you really have in mind?
The message I am propagating is that we must learn to live together as one people. The time is now, you see, we have allowed ourselves to be fooled. When the white man first came here, they took the black man as slaves. But what did the black man do?
They built for the white man, paradise here on earth, not in heaven. White man told black man,’’ hey you! when you die you’ll go to heaven. But in the mean time, build my paradise for me here on earth. That’s why I’m not used to playing gospel songs. I believe people live by what they do and religion tells them what they shouldn’t do.
All Nigerians better know that it is not a mistake that you are made to come from whichever part of the country. We must first come to terms with who we are.This understanding implies that you are a Nigerian and you are going to die as a Nigerian.
We must wake up to this reality. We are big and large with forests and large expense of land,endowed with natural resources. When are we going to open our eyes and see that the time is now.
Going down memory lane, how would your compare the music of yesteryears to what we have now?
What we have now is what we have now. What we had then was what we had then. And like I said earlier, we need to be careful concerning what expose to our children to. You can see that I’m still writing new songs today, I’m playing them today, they are being played in our radio and TV stations today as I speak to you.
I’m living in today’s world, I may have come from yesterday’s world but you see I live in today’s world, I don’t believe in yesterday. Tomorrow will never come, today is a bad place of tomorrow
Looking at the trend in Nigeria music now, would you say Nigerian artists are playing less of life bands compared to what we had years back?
That is what I’ve been saying, it’s a matter of time before we start playing again. Because you cannot carry your CDs all over the places. I got up just now and I sang with my daughter and you saw the band playing. You cannot carry your CDs to everywhere in the world, you go on stage and start miming to it. What do you guys watch, have you ever seen a band playing in the US or Russia and the people are miming?
Don’t you think you are failing in your duty? You are the ones who must tell the people of this country how it is done elsewhere, and how for them to do what they are supposed to do. Do a little research and find out where in the world somebody would stand before his Queen and is miming to CD. It doesn’t happen anywhere.
Where would you want to see Nigerian music in the near future?
Music is a minor aspect, not the entire entertainment. We sit down here and receive bombardment from the western world. Our children cannot do their local dances anymore. They are watching foreign programmes on our screens.
These programmes are thrown at us by the foreign television stations and our children are watching them with great impunity.
At 70, do you intend to retire from music soon?
Retire from anything, no.
It’s music all the way?
I’ve been playing music andat the same time, involved in other things. So, am just carrying on and carrying on.
You have been a musician all through your life. What would you want to be remembered for?
I do not want to be remembered for anything. When I’m dead, I like to be gone and forgotten completely. People who want to leave legacies end up stepping on other people’s toes.
When I’ve spent my time on earth, it will be the final thank you to the Almighty. The only question I’ll like to ask myself will be, did I put all of my time to maximum use while alive? Once I’ve done that I don’t want to be remembered for any reason.
What of for your music?
Nothing is up to me when l’m gone brother, I think that, I will be gone.
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I do not want to be remembered for anything – Bongos Ikwue