Monday, April 25, 2016


I think myself an eclectic because I listen to and enjoy all kinds of music, many times without understanding what's been said or sung about. Sometimes I purposely don't rush to learn the lyrics of songs or rap music in English, because I fear I might lose interest in the song, especially when the song is still "pon da replay".

When I learnt about the death of "Prince" I wasn't devastated. I doubt I had heard any of his songs recently, but I felt bad that he had to go still so young with what many consider enough time to continue to churn out the kinda music that made him peculiar. Back in the day, Prince' music was thrown at me by the TV and radio without much I could have done about it. Eventually, his music grew on me as long as I saw or heard it before I began to have much of a choice about what I heard or saw, with my TV and Radio, and my remote control, and began to hear and see less and less of Prince, not because I didn't enjoy his music while it lasted, but because most of the time I was confused about him, what he tried to say, how he tried to say it, and how he expressed himself.


Much later, I guess on discovering he was black (after seeing him as white in our Black & White TV many time as a kid), and didn't look it, also began to affect how I felt about him, though Michael Jackson who was also black and looked whiter than Caucasians was never diminished before me. Also, it was such that each time I saw a Prince video, I was easily distracted by the shape of his guitar, or the feminine way he went about gesticulating while singing, as well as all of the lights, that before I had the chance to pick the lyrics the music was over. That honestly, was how it had been between me and Prince before I took control of TV and Radio, saw and heard less of him, except for a few times in recent years and then last week when he died.

It was different between me and Papa Wemba, who also came to my consciousness about the time Prince was riding the waves. In his case however, I continued to see and hear him after I had my remote control. It didn't matter that I understood no word he spoke in French or the local Congolese language he often used in his Makosa. Somehow I felt I got the message he was passing in his songs in that very peculiar soprano of his, even when I had no idea what he was singing about, like in my best of his, "YOLELE". It was a great relief for me when he did a collaboration with another artiste in English, unfortunately the song didn't resonate with me as did the ones in lingua I didn't understand.


His death late last week didn't shock me, but I felt bad, just as with Prince'. Apparently, both of them left right in the middle of doing what they loved most. Prince found dead at an elevator, days just right after a tour promoting his latest work, and Papa Wemba after he collapsed while performing at a show in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan. Both weren't retired from their careers when the grim reaper visited, rather they left while in very active service, associated with what both have always been known with and for. I definitely may not miss them as much as those close to them, but having played some roles in my formative years musically, I will notice their absence, especially their peculiarity, especially in an age where almost every singer sounds the same, killing the very essence of music.

May the souls of Prince, and Papa Wemba Rest In Peace, and their works Live Forever!



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