The Kitchen Sink | Featured Artiste: Hadassah

Quick Note:  I am having issues with Disqus, so please bear with me as I try to get it resolved.  But you can still leave comments in the meantime :-)

[Kitchen Sink / Flickr]
So, how did your Thanksgiving go? Any left-overs? LOL! I had a lovely Thanksgiving ... thanks for asking :D

I don't know if you are still in school or you're already done (like moi).  Regardless though, you might have to take exams and then, it would matter what style of exams you prefer or tend to excel at.  Without forcing you to relive any exam nightmares, I was wondering what style of exams you prefer.  From my own experience, I am aware of these styles (please add to the list if you want):

Misprints of a Recipe | Featured Artiste: Samsong

[Picture from HERE]

No, I am not about to launch into a detailed recipe for 3 ways to prepare garden egg (Does anyone actually "cook" garden egg? *curious*) or how to make guava pie for Thanksgiving. The title was inspired by a section from H. L. A Hart's "The  Concept of Law" where he discusses mechanical jurisprudence.  Without boring you with the details, I thought of that phrase again with respect to the education plan for Nigeria.
Apart from the infamous "6-3-3-4" system, I wonder if the current educational system was constructed with the Nigerian child in mind.  While I do not advocate re-inventing the wheel, there surely is a need to tailor the educational system to fit the unique needs of the Nigerian child while still making him/her competitive at the international level.

You see, I am not saying anything new, neither am I even referring to something Nigerians in general have not thought about and even debated.  At some point, we did have a system that worked, with degrees from our universities such as the University of Ibadan being recognized as solid and respected degrees due to the rigorous training and instruction that was given to students before they graduated.  I don't believe in lamenting about the "good old days" because I believe there are better days ahead, but we absolutely have to figure out what went wrong and learn from past mistakes before we can hope to make any progress in the future.

Original Photocopy | Featured Artiste: Vivien Stephen

[Picture from HERE]

First off, Congratulations to 9jaFoodie on moving to what I call “the next level.” She has moved to so please check out her new website and support her as she starts out on this new phase.  And now off to today’s business. *clears throat*

For the last couple of years, Nigerian music in general has been going through some sort of renaissance, and since gospel music no dey carry last, it has also been part of that process.  Parties, weddings and other social functions have noticeably reflected this trend as there are considerably a lot more Nigerian songs played at these events than used to be the case in the past.  I can’t really pin-point what series of events led to this, but I am definitely loving it.  Nowadays, it is so common to hear songs sang completely in pidgin and/or another Nigerian language.  In fact, that seems to be the winning recipe for the more popular love songs.  It is like all of sudden we woke up and discovered that our culture (which inevitably includes language) is something worth exporting, so to speak.  I can’t really explain what happened to me too, but I know that all of a sudden I pretty much lost interest in music that did not have that Naija flavor and have even come to see it as the standard.

The Honest Businessman [Featured Artiste: Tolazee]

Picture from HERE
I have struggled with this idea for a very long time, i.e. whether or not it is possible to be an honest Nigerian businessman/woman. The Nigerian economy still needs a lot of work, but right now it is essentially made up of many types of businesses. I am of course referring to the private sector. It seems that there are very few honest businessmen in Nigeria and this has nothing to do with the size of the business. This cuts across the various social classes and dishonesty seems to be the order of the day from the market women selling groundnuts to the CEOs of banks. In the light of all the financial/ethical scandals that have rocked the financial sector, I have really asked myself this question: Can one really be an honest, God-fearing, “drama-free” businessperson in Nigeria? How does one stay on course in a rotten system? You can say that this is the same thing anywhere in the world. I get that, but in Nigeria the problem seems to be a lot more acute. I mean, if the folks at the top of the private sector are “hammering” with unclean hands, then what message does that send to those hoping to hammer one day?

Personalized [Featured Artiste: 'Motara]

[Picture from HERE]
Have you ever received a gift that was specially crafted for you or at least “seemed” like it was specially made for you because it was somehow personalized? It may have been a gift that had your name engraved on it or something that was literally made from scratch for you alone like a painting / drawing of yourself.  If you have, then maybe you know the warm, fuzzy feeling (LOL) you get from that gesture (if you haven’t, “Klismas” is around the corner, so you know what to do *wink*)

Thinking of personalized gifts made me think of the names of God, i.e. the names we use to describe God.  In a lot of songs, we tend to hear the same names repeated over and over again e.g. Ubangiji, Alagbada ina, Alawotele orun, Igwe, Abasi, etc.  I don’t even know what some of these names mean, but I embrace them as long as I know they are somehow ascribing glory to God.  So what names do you personally use to describe God?  I think your answer would reflect the way you view God and your own personal experience of who God is to you.  I also believe that you can create a special name for God that no one else uses and that can help to build intimacy in your own private worship life.

Anatomy of a Bad Song v. 2 [Featured Artiste: Mr. Eddie]

Picture from HERE
In continuing with the Anatomy series (see Version 1 HERE), the second version addresses a trend I am sure you are familiar with.  You might not even think there is anything wrong with it, but I do.  I am referring to the phenomenon that someone I know refers to as “STOP-OVER MUSIC.” Well, what is Stop-over music? A simple answer is that it is “Cut and paste” music.  That doesn’t help much, does it?! LOL! Okay, what I am referring to is a scenario where a gospel artiste takes the beats / music of a very popular “secular” song and the only thing he (or she) changes are the lyrics.  In other words, he uses (or attempts to use) “sanctified” lyrics with a secular song, which may or may not have sexual undertones.  

Think of a typical “bump-and-grind” song and then for a minute try to imagine that same song with gospel music lyrics instead.  Outrageous, isn’t it? It just does not fit, just like a square peg can never fit in a round hole.  No matter what you do to the lyrics, at the back of your mind, you are still thinking of the original secular song.  And in fact, you might even catch yourself singing it sef.  If you’re like me, and you like to distinguish between secular and gospel music, then you’ll appreciate the need to avoid creating stop-over music. 

Packaging that works [Featured Artiste: Ozichi]

Image Credit: Godiva 
First off, I want to celebrate with Michael of @moifrequency.  The occasion? His blog is up and running again after a nasty scare.  Hallelujah!

I have personally heard a few Nigerians say that “oyinbo man sabi packaging.”  I agree.  However, I don’t think “packaging” is a peculiar skill you’re born with.  It can definitely be learnt.  By packaging, I am of course referring to how you present a product, i.e. in a way that is attractive to potential customers while still ensuring that the product is functional and of good quality (Whoa! What a mouthful, but you get the gist, ba?) In the context of music CDs, I am referring to the album cover / album art.  I don’t know why, but I have often seen a good album with a (for lack of a better word) “crappy” album cover.  Inasmuch as I purchase most of my music online nowadays, the album cover is still a major factor in helping me decide whether or not to even preview the songs in an album. 

This is where Graphics design would be very useful.  I am not sure the folks who design these album covers have any formal training (not that it is necessary, but it could be useful).  I am guessing that they are skilled at using the various software for graphics design, and that is it.  I hate over flogging the issue, but there is a glaring lack of creativity here as well.  And of course, since we are dealing with Nigerian gospel music, you can be sure that there are even more serious offenders.  The reason why I said that is because we (Christians) tend to come up with the same ideas for album covers.  Let me illustrate (here we go!)

Fresh Meat [Featured Artiste: Tolucci]

Picture from HERE

There is something that has been bugging me for a while now.  It has been giving me sleepless nights and making me break out in cold sweat. My heart skips several beats when I think about this pressing issue, and I can’t keep it to myself any longer.   I have decided to come out and tell the truth, and here it is: I want to eat my neighbor’s chicken! (*evil laughter* … Gotcha! What secret did you think I was going to divulge?! Odeshi!)

Yes, believe it or not, one of my neighbors keeps a chicken (or should I call it a hen?) in his yard. Alice (yes, I have christened the chicken “Alice” after that chicken dish at Outback Steakhouse called “Alice Springs Chicken.”  Please don’t ask me why! LOL) has an identity crisis: she thinks she is a dog because she hangs out with them (or rather tries to ... they chase her. So much for being open-minded, dogs!) 

I am not sure what my neighbor's philosophy is (maybe Alice is there to lay eggs … after all, we are right smack in the middle of a recession), but the presence of that chicken has given me cause to evaluate just how fresh the meat I eat is.  I think Alice would taste so much berra than that Wal-Mart chicken, especially when she it has been seasoned right.  I even made a list of spices and seasonings for Alice’s “birthday” including: curry, thyme, garlic, onions, Knorr cubes, paprika, partminger leaves (my grandma used to grow it back in Naija to season Alice’s distant cousins and other relatives who made our acquaintance at the local market), etc.  Is your mouth watering yet? *grinning from ear to ear*