It’s not uncommon to attend a music show in Nigeria and watch the featured artistes ‘perform’ over their CD’s; one would expect a performance with improvised dance steps and live instrumentation, with elements not present in the original release, but instead, the offering is the act hopping across the platform, working up the crowd with hyper movements, chants and a proper mime and mouth-along to the actual song. While this could be somewhat entertaining, a few painstakingly perform live, with a band and offer much more than an uncoordinated mime.
One of such is the big-hair-rocking, vocal maestro, Omawumi.
Omawumi Megbele has an impressive catalog of music but despite the greatness of Wonder Woman (2009) and Lasso of Truth (2014), her forthcoming 3rd album, already holds the prospect of being critically acclaimed. It is said to be a live album and an ambitious project and feat which some of the biggest acts, at the moment, in Nigeria, and Africa, cannot pull off. However, without any doubt, Omawumi is up to the task; since 2010, she has performed live, with a band, in the uncontrolled terrain of numerous live stage performances, where anything could have gone wrong. Therefore, a controlled one should be child’s play for her.
An alumna of Idols West Africa, where she placed second and Timi Dakolo, first, Omawumi convinced Africans she had a lot to offer and backed up her hugely entertaining run, on Idols West Africa, with a Kwaito inspired first single, In the Music, that caught on like wildfire. Nine years after, since Idols West Africa, she is still in demand and part of her appeal and staying power, is her vibrant and energetic live presentations.
Just like the plethora of Nigerian artistes who do not perform live; Mrs Yusuf, nee Megbele, started to mime and mouth along to her songs until 2009, when she decided it was no longer a viable path for her but due to “hunger and greed,” she faltered and compromised for those who couldn’t afford her live band. Obviously conflicted, in 2010, she mustered enough courage to bulldoze that path and since then, it’s been one live performance after another, refusing to put up a quasi presentation of her music.
It’s in light of her resolve, the idea for a live album was conceived. In her words;
Since 5 years now, there are people who know I do not perform over CD’s but despite that, they insist I perform that way so I decided to a make it easier for all of us; I am going to record a live album so when you are enjoying the guitar, you will know that it is someone that is playing that guitar.
Recording a live album is more expensive than a regular one but Omawumi insists on putting her money where her mouth is.
Live albums are somewhat common in South Africa but, as far as we know, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, is the last Nigerian artiste to have released a full live album and now, Omawumi has picked up the baton. It remains to be heard, the constituting sounds of the album but irrespective and using Omawumi’s clout as a yardstick, this album should be, in pop culture speak, lit.
See some of her live performances below: