Recently, I had a talk with a journalist friend about the fate of popular musicianship in Nigeria. I asked what he thinks.
It did not take my friend anytime to start me with his conclusions, which as it appeared, he had sitting on his chest already. My friend waved his hands as if cutting the invisible air around us. Musicianship as far as he was concerned is "comatose without ever intending to disparage musicinship added. "If they simply cannot unite and get their acts together, what is there to write about?
HMM! I looked at him. He was right. I could not fault his findings. So many well intended good efforts have been lost in trying to organise musicians in Nigeria, and to get them to unite. For their own interest. Efforts that often start well and with great expectations are blown into the wind, as soon as the main actor bows out. The objective is then left to flounder, and their objectivities driftback into the naive past when nothing was known about professionalism and unionism.
Wrong notion. The assumption that musicians can handle their music affair and operate the business of industrial union without previous training and experience boggles the minds. Almost beyond the reach of reason. A well briefed musician must know that to succeed business-wise, in the profession, he would need the services of a publicist, an agent and a manager to run the outfit. Much more a labour union with wide interest and people which it has, without prejudice and self interest to cater for.
Nevertheless one must not lay all the negative scraps at the feet of the musicians alone. For there are many forces in the country assiduously working against the best interest of popular musicianship in Nigeria starting with the society itself which refuses to recognise popular musicianship as an industrial institution.
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