Music has always been recognized as a useful form of therapy to provide an outlet for emotions. The ability of words married to sound to travel into the deepest parts of our being; touching, healing, and fixing what the world may have broken within us is pure magic. No one can tell what Nigerians living in Nigeria would have become without this magic. If we didn’t have music and humor- these two elements coming together as a form of therapy for all the inadequacies we face in the country. Imagine a country where we didn’t have ‘Twice As Tall’, ‘Celia’, ‘Made In Lagos’, ‘A Better Time’, and other great albums that keep us going. Imagine if we couldn’t listen to the soothing sounds of Nigerian soul music, afrobeat, highlife, afro-pop, and rap blasting through roadside speakers of movie sellers, through the dwindling sound of Lagos danfo radios, through the body movement of passengers lost in their headphones. Imagine a country where all we could listen to was the voice of the likes of Lai Mohammed lying through their teeth, saying the sky is green when it is blue, selling us scrap for the price of gold.
The music industry in Nigeria is rich in wonderful sounds from talented artists creating works that appeal to different tribes, classes, and age groups of Nigeria’s population. From the powerful sounds of global artists like Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Davido, Wizkid to the inspiring voices of young artists like Rema, Fireboy, Joeboy, Oxlade, Omah Lay, etc. Not only has the healing power of music found its way into the hearts of Nigerians, but it has also become on its own, a language of emotion and expression. From the time of Fela Kuti to this day, Nigerian artists have used music to speak truth to power, to expose, to heal, and most importantly, to cope with the non-ending disappointment and disregard of human rights by our leaders.
Music played a very vital role during the most recent End Sars Protest in Nigeria. Young Nigerians marched together, in one voice, speaking one language, bound by the sound of music, singing to our many wonderful tunes irrespective of the numerous divisions of tribe, class, religion, etc. At the protest grounds, we heard songs like ‘Mr. President’ by African China, ‘Jaga Jaga’ by Idris Abdulkareem, ‘This Is Nigeria’ by Falz, ‘Barawo’ by Ajebo Hustlers amongst many others. Songs like ‘Fem’ by Davido which was not composed primarily as a form of protest became a gathering of angry, tired Nigerian youths, a song of protest. Music has been and will continue to be a big part of what I call, “Nigerian therapy”, it will continue to serve as a coping tool for most Nigerians seeking to deal with the inefficiencies of our leaders. In a country that takes more often than it gives, Nigerians have found solace in the one thing that gives without taking- MUSIC.
This article was written by Ugochi Okoli; connect with her on Instagram via here