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40 Years on, Koleman Revolutionaire Still Sparkles 

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“Each time l look at my archive l am stunned. I feel like we haven’t released half of what Jah has deposited inside of me, trust me. You know I’m a multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer so I often produce myself and others with regards to music. I have a large number of unreleased materials that I would be happy to push out as Jah permits. It’s some of my best works yet.”  

That is classic Pupa Orits Williki talking to me on phone, on his forthcoming double album launch, scheduled for November 11, 2022 on the MUSON Centre as a part of his fortieth 12 months on stage celebration. The grasp artiste can even be bestowing what he phrases, Legendary awards on 12 notable musicians in Nigeria. They embody King Sunny Ade, Bongos Ikue,  Ebenezer Obey,  Alhaji  Kollington,  Onyeka Onwenu,  Bright Chimezie,  Sir Shina Peters,  Alhaja Salawa Abeni, Dr. Tee Mac lseli, , Emma Ogosi, Eleru Stella Monye and a posthumous award to Amb. Osayomore Joseph.  

“Let’s celebrate them now that they are alive because they laid the foundation of our booming music industry today. These people devoted their lives to bringing smile and laughter to people through their creativity. It’s sad that Osayomore Joseph is no more. But we have to give honour to who it is due.”

As the decision ends, your thoughts does a summersault, bringing again in daring aid, the reggae icon fondly known as Koleman Revolutioaire…

His entry into the Nigerian music scene at a time reggae was in ascendancy, was unobtrusive. He was too cool, too calm, too mild to suit into the mould of the dreadlocked sabre-rattling reggae artistes of the day who wished to “bring down Babylon.” Not that he didn’t subscribe to “Babylon as the cause of the problems of the world” and must be carried out away with or a minimum of reformed. Indeed, to him revolution is the one manner out! With lengthy braids dropping nearly to his waist, his voice cool as cucumber, he advocates revolution as the way in which out. But it’s revolution devoid of violence, warts and all…

These have been the bedrock of his music from his debut album, Tribulation to Conqueror, What’s dis, What’s that (which earned him the best earnings) amongst others. The revolution which he espouses, is predicated on 4 planks: The non secular revolution that makes you what you might be; understanding the essence of the supernatural drive and militant fighter who despises violence and embraces divine love. ‘’I consider that even whenever you battle in your proper, for those who make use of violence, you would possibly die and lose the aim for which you fought.’’ he informed me at an earlier interview. ‘’The love that I preach I name ‘’Inity’’ (unity), the kind Jesus practiced by coming and sacrificing his life.’’

He additionally believes strongly in the proper of each one to reside. Here, his battle is for equal rights and justice. “Many a time after I see males in uniform brutalising anyone, I’ll cease and intervene. I hate oppression,’’ he defined.

Unsurprisingly he turned often known as Koleman Revolutionaire, a moniker given to him in France by Sydney, a good friend of his supervisor who thought of him an excessive amount of of a gentile particular person.  It is an assertion he agrees with. ‘’I’ve at all times been a reserved particular person,’’ he confessed. 

His first band was shaped in Paris, known as The Revolutionaire Band. Unlike many musicians, his first album was absolutely sponsored by a French firm, Alanche’ de’ Lamour. It was what took him to France within the first occasion. In Nigeria, (*40*) dealt with the discharge and advertising. ‘’Many Nigerians by no means believed a Nigerian might current reggae in that format,’’ he stated of the reception of the music. “Many thought it was a Jamaican artiste.’’ 

His comply with up, Conqueror, caught like wild fireplace with an infusion of toast, rap and roots. The fourth album, One Drop, launched on his personal label, Cowrie Music in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health below then Federal Minister of Health, Prof. Olikoye Ransome Kuti, is a social campaign mainly carried out to propagate public consciousness on the AIDS scourge. ‘’It is barely in Nigeria that musicians are taken as reward singers. Musicians must be the attention of the general public. Music stays the best weapon anyplace.’’ The music was properly acquired and the tag anti-AIDS crusader caught to him. He doesn’t thoughts. ‘’There’s consciousness on AIDS at present however the issue stays.’’ It is predicated on this that he needed to work on a house film with a slant on AIDS. ‘’It is titled Yvonne, not likely suggestive of AIDS however has a message on it.” This has since taken a lifetime of its personal for him with the undertaking, aptly tagged, MUSICAL AID FOR AIDS (MAFA) which has benefited many no matter coloration or race. 

Other albums that endeared him to the Nigerian populace embody: Mubalmumbe, The good, the Bad, the Ugly, Faya Burn and Lift Him Up Higher. He additionally composed Land of Plenty, theme music for the tenth FIFA organized World Youth Championship Soccer (NIGERIA ’99); produced Nigerian Artist for Peace Project in collaboration with Sonny Okosuns, composed the theme music for Ogun 2006 GATE WAY GAMES and  produced  the video for COMMONWEALTH GAMES amongst others.

Music to Orits Williki, is an instrument to proclaim godliness, to show folks to God and to present happiness to these dropping hope. ‘’I need to use music to make you realise the you that’s in you,’’ he maintained.

The previous 10years, nevertheless, have seen him focus extra on revamping the Copyright administration in Nigeria as Chairman, Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN). As he put it: “Thank God today, Jah won the battle.” Within the interval, he upgraded his music studio to a High-Tech recording Studios, known as, Cowrie Muzik/Media Network Int’l “which caters for our independent production company for TV contents. Soap operas, Talk Shows, Short movies and Skits for our online Broadcast and recording younger artists for my Label, Cowrie Muzik lnt’l Ltd.”  

His projection for the following few years is to leverage on the digital alternatives accessible at present to market his works and different artistes. He equally hopes to take copyright dividends to the peak the place “all who have works enjoy the deserving fruits of their hard labour.”

Any regrets? You ask. “If I’m been honest, it would be ungrateful for me to say I have any regrets. Jah did his thing with me. The only thing is that I wish we had social media in our days. That would have been something else.”

Does he really feel fulfilled as he marks 40 years on stage? You probe. He stalls. Then he replies with philosophical calmness: “Fulfillment is relative; some people are fulfilled with physical wealth; others may just be satisfied helping others. I will say, yes, I am fulfilled. The satisfaction I get doing something that I really love, gives me unending joy. I would not trade it for the world…”

•Onoko writes from Abuja

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