Saturday, September 29, 2012

SUNDAY OLISEH AND TARIBO WEST: A REUNION OF SUPER EAGLES’ LEGENDS

Sunday Oliseh and Taribo West Pix: By Arukaino Umukoro

On Friday, September 28, at the Soccerex Seminar Lagos, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, I met former Super Eagles defender and rock of Gibraltar, Taribo West, now turned pastor. I shook hands with him and joked "Pastor, I would like a prayer of blessings, sir,” He laughed “You’re blessed,” he said with a hand gesture as if he were the Pope. Of course

In case you don’t remember, West, also then famous for his crazy hairdos - including one half of a dreadlock painted in Nigeria’s colours green white green, was part of the golden generation of Super Eagles that won the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations that rose up to become the best entertaining side at the USA 1994 World Cup. At that time the Eagles were adjudged by FIFA as the fifth best side in the world. West was also part of the all-conquering Dream Team that swept aside South American giants, Brazil and Argentina to win the Atlanta 1996 Olympic football gold, the first time for an African country.

Okay. Let’s cut the chase.

A few minutes later, Sunday Oliseh walked out of the Soccerex meeting hall where he was drilled with questions by Osasu Obayuiwana, one of Africa’s leading football journalists, and Associate Editor of NewAfrican magazine. And in case you didn’t know, Oliseh, like West, was also part of the golden generation of the 1994 Nations’ Cup and 1996 Olympic gold winning team. Oliseh aslo scored that beauty of a rocket in the 78 minutes to clinch a memorable 3-2 victory against Spain, now European and World Champions, at the France 1998 World Cup.

Oliseh and West in conversation. Pix: By Arukaino Umukoro
Just as Oliseh came out, he met West at the door. On sighting West who had his back to Oliseh and was caught up in conversation with notable names that had gathered around him. Oliseh gave him a playful nudge from behind. And when West turned round to see who it was, it became two golden summers again, 1994 and 1996. Time seemed to pause as people around watched in delight as they gave each other repeated bear hugs that lingered in the memory and banter like best friends. They chatted for a while. Like during their Eagles’ heydays, it was beautiful to watch them play like long lost friends.

Oliseh, the classy and hugely-talented midfielder. Taribo West, the defender extraordinaire. Both were integral part of a Super Eagles generation that was bleeding with class everywhere. Indeed, they were a golden generation. It was great meeting them both. They were golden moments with a touch of impressive history.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Music (Nigeria): 'Omote' by Ese Peters


If you’re expecting the normal party song with lots of swashbuckling beats for commercial appeal, then it may not be this. However, ‘Omote’, by Ese Peters; a Nigerian artiste who performs rock ballads, is a beautiful composition definitely worth listening to, whether you're a fan or not. This guy sings so beautifully. What “Omote” lacked in party beats, it pulled off with some depth and soul, and probably would become a choice request for wedding ceremonies, receptions, romantic getaways, or just to woo that beautiful and special girl somewhere.

“AbOriginal Music is proud to present “Omote” – the brand new single from Alternative Nigerian Singer/Songwriter and producer Ese Peters. Debuting as the first single from his forthcoming self-titled EP, the Sizzle-produced “Omote” is a soaring ballad that is very much vintage Ese Peters. Backed by lush acoustic guitars, resounding string arrangements and subtle drum patterns, over which Ese Peters effortlessly but compellingly displays his soulful vocal tones, undeniable singing abilities and heart-tugging song writing dexterity, “Omote” is a brilliantly crafted Rock ballad that not only cuts straight to the heart of its listener but also sets Ese Peters well apart from anything that is in Nigerian’s musical landscape in 2012,” read the statement from AbOriginal Music, the label Peters signed on with after last year’s release of his AcousticEP.

A hit song? With the right marketing and distribution strategy- online and offline, lots of air plays on radio stations; and probably a little more, it could be. And it would definitely be worth the spot at the top of the charts.

Listen and enjoy: "Omote", which was officially released today, Thursday, September 27.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ese Peters: Nigeria's Next Rock Music Star?


Remember this name: Ese Peters. This Nigerian singer, guitarist and songwriter, from Warri, Delta State, is blessed with a vocal talent that could propel him to become the country’s next contemporary/rock music star. Well, he also describes himself as a dreamer. But one thing that he doesn’t need to dream about is how really good he can sing and perform love songs.

After last year’s release of his Acoustic EP, which includes the hit single, Gone (Wetin I Go Do), Peters has followed it up with another single; a beautiful composition titled “Omote”, a rock ballad that would leave any girl with a taste for good music swooning for love. Although written and performed in English, Omote is an Urhobo/Isoko word for ‘girl’.

And Omote does have a music soul, untainted by the rush of blood for commercial or mass appeal, as common with many new generation Nigerian artistes. Well, the thing is, this guy doesn’t come across like an uncommon artiste. While there are a lot of foreign influences on his songs, Peters’ evolving music constantly probes the depth of originality, in voice and delivery.

Omote, don’t you know that I’d trade the world for you, just to see you smile and have all that you wish for in life. I would walk, run, pull down every door in your way. And if you fall, I will pick you up. And if you cry, I will dry every tear in your eye. Cos you’re the sweetest thing I know… And you dance. And you fly. And you tear down the walls with your heart. And you run. And you soar... ” With a lush voice that cuts to the heart like John Mayer’s or Dave Matthews’, Peters gushes about his undying love to his ‘Omote’. Laced with romantic clich├ęs, the song may just be a runaway hit with the way he makes the listener believe again in love. “Omote is an honest declaration of love. Honesty is a rare commodity in today’s world. It is one lover telling the other; ‘I’ll be there for you’. I think we all need that every once in a while. It is raw and passionately painful. It is truth. It is real life, that’s what makes it special,” he told me.

Once an independent artiste, Ese Peters signed a record deal with AbOriginal Music, after last year’s release of his Acoustic EP. Watch out for Omote, which is due for release on Thursday, September 27, online, including on this blog, on Spinlets and iTunes, as well as on radio stations nationwide.

Omote... Two words: simply beautiful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ANDY MURRAY US OPEN CHAMPION: THE GRAND SLAM THAT FINALLY WAS




It had long been written in the stars. “If you write a script, that is the way to have won it,” gushed an emotional John Lloyd, former British number one, when 25-year-old Andy Murray won the US Open, his first ever grand slam, on Monday, September 10.

It was a fitting description as Murray had to fight hard till the last shot of a thrilling five-setter to beat Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in a pulsating four hours and 54 minutes of breathless tennis on Arthur Ashe Stadium. With his hard-fought but thoroughly deserved victory, Murray also became the first British man to win a tennis grand slam title since Fred Perry 76 years ago.

At some point, especially in the first two sets, it was almost as if the wind gods and his tennis shoes conspired to ensure Djokovic didn’t deny Murray his first grand slam hurrah. “Murray picked a heck of a way to win his long-elusive first major. Monday night's win over Djokovic was epic in the truest sense, a wild, five-set odyssey that featured swings of momentum, obstacles, acts of God, redemption and, finally, triumph,” wrote Jon Wertheim, of Sports illustrated, summing it up nicely. Like his coach, 52-year-old Ivan Lendleight-time grand slam winner - whom he hired on December 31, Murray had to wait until his fifth grand slam final to emerge victorious.

"I'm getting closer,” Murray had said, in between tears, in that gut-wrenching Wimbledon final defeat to Roger Federer, the world number one. In that match on July 8, Federer ran away with a 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 to secure a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title and 17th grand slam title. A month later, on August 5, on the same court, Murray defeated the same Federer 6-2 6-1 6-4 to win the London 2012 Olympic gold. He also clinched silver in mixed doubles with fellow Brit Laura Robson after they lost in the final to Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka.

Finally, on September 10, at Flushing Meadows, Murray achieved his dream, by winning his first grand slam title. In the end it was worth the wait as he now joins the elite league of grand slam winners and also moved up to number three in the world tennis rankings. He is also the first man to win both the Olympic singles title and the US Open in the same year. 

“I am just so relieved to finally have got there and I can put this one behind me and hopefully win more,” said a delighted Murray after the match. Only a few would doubt the potential of a man who’s finally conquered history to become a grand slam champion.