Tag Archives: music

#Jan25 Egypt: “We know freedom is the answer, the only question is, ‘Who’s Next?’

I’m sorry I have been absent from this blog for almost a month. Have been overwhelmed by many, many things.

But tonight, I had to write. I’ve been toggling between AlJazeera and CNN, laughing at the way the journalists are swallowed up in jubilant crowds. People grab their hands and lift them up in a salute, dance around, women in head scarves at midnight, bareheaded teenage girls, and little boys on their father’s shoulders, young men waving flags.

 

A woman standing through the moonroof of a car in Alexandria held up a flag. (David Degner for the Wall Street Journal) (click the image to be taken to original WSJ photo blog)

 

I have been marvelling at getting to see in my lifetime a moment this beautiful. How powerful ordinary people can be when they come together and say they’ve had enough. 30 years of the Mubarak regime. 17 days of committed protest.

 

(c) Nevine Zaki posted on YFrog "A pic I took yesterday of Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers #jan25" Click on the photo to be taken to the original.

And tomorrow all the sensible practicalities will settle in, and the complications of what comes next, the plans on how to transition from military to election, from decades of emergency rule to the law of the people, but tonight is a celebration.

 

 

A man in Cairo held up a laptop displaying an image of celebrations in Egypt after hearing the news that Mr. Mubarak was resigning. (Guy Martin for the Wall Street Journal) (to see original photo on WSJ photoblog, click on the photo)

And, if they can do this in Egypt, where else can we do it? If the young and old come out together, and insist, no, no, no, you wax faced old men, no, no, no, you vampires in your Ilmorog competition of thieves and robbers, who drone long speeches about responsibility to the nation, while tucking away millions into your pocketed bellies,  no, no, no, we facebook, we tweet, we take to the street. We’re gassed, we’re beat, we sleep in the street. We die, we shout, our mother’s cry, but we do not go home, we do not go in, we stay, we stay, we protest, we pray.

 

(c)Euronews

It’s shocking, it worked.

Yesterday, the old man rambled about how he was Egypt, and today he left. And Egypt is now this collective person, this person who has filled the streets, the laughter, the tears, the shouts, the flags waving.

Was it the passion? Is that what it is? Can we do that? Or we all too content to complain, and keep managing?

On Facebook, this video has been going around. It is the voice of the young. Questions. Dreams. Imagine this, they say

First they ignore you.

Then they laugh at you.

Then they fight you.

Then you win.

The song was apparently posted on YouTube a few days ago, but, as music and art so often is, it was prescient, confident of success, yet reflective on the anxieties of revolution: “We know freedom is the answer, the only question is, ‘Who’s Next?’

 

On YouTube, the info on the song is listed as follows:

Inspired by the resilience of Egyptian people during their recent uprising, several notable musicians from North America have teamed up to release a song of solidarity and empowerment. The track is fittingly titled “#Jan25” as a reference to both the date the protests officially began in Egypt, and its prominence as a trending topic on Twitter. Produced by Sami Matar, a Palestinian-American composer from Southern California, and featuring the likes of Freeway, The Narcicyst, Omar Offendum, HBO Def Poet Amir Sulaiman, and Canadian R&B vocalist Ayah – this track serves as a testament to the revolution’s effect on the hearts and minds of today’s youth, and the spirit of resistance it has come to symbolize for oppressed people worldwide.

Artist Information:
Omar Offendum (MC #1) – http://twitter.com/Offendum
The Narcicyst (MC #2) – http://twitter.com/TheNarcicyst
Freeway (MC #3) – http://twitter.com/PhillyFreezer
Amir Sulaiman (MC #4) http://twitter.com/AmirSulaiman
Ayah (R&B Vocalist) – http://twitter.com/AyahMusic
Sami Matar (Producer) – http://twitter.com/SamiMatar
Artwork by Ridwan Adhami http://www.ridzdesign.com

And as the night grows old, and the morning is near, look at the faces again, and pray for the days ahead.

 

Many families joined in the celebration in Alexandria. (David Degner for the Wall Street Journal) (To view the original photo blog, click on the photo)

Music is who he was: Rest in peace, Sazzy

 

Sazzy (c) Intersection

 

I’m not sure where I first heard Abuja based producer Sazzy’s (Osaze Omonbude) music. I imagine it was when Korex of Intersection Media posted a link on Facebook to his music video “Doubt,” an addictive angst-filled track, with the cry of “I no go doubt myself again, oh” in the chorus. His techno track “Anymore” is equally angst-filled and danceable. I was hooked.

On his Facebook page, he described his sounds as

‘’indie-afro-hop done by aliens trying to be human’’. He also has no limitations on genres. “If it sounds good, I’ll do it”. […] “I just want everybody to grow with me day by day as I take over the world”.

So, when not long after, Sazzy sent me a friend request on facebook, maybe because I had been posting the video all over my wall, I responded:

July 17 at 2:31am
thanks for the friend invite. i’ve had your song “doubt” on a constant replay loop for the last 2 hours. you’ve got mad talent. take care.

He responded with gracious words (and a little advertisement):

Sazzy Omonbude July 17 at 2:41am Report
Thanks for accepting. Wow! thanks a lot, really great to hear that. Really appreciated.
I got a new international dance single. Will love to give you the link, so here it is
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH_yYH-JmhoAnd pls dont be a stranger. 

Sazzy

The track he sent was perhaps not quite as contemplative as the others, but it was definitely danceable.

So this past Saturday morning when I signed into facebook and started seeing status updates from Abuja-based friends, saying “Sazzy, rest in peace,” it shook me. It was shattering news. I didn’t know him. We exchanged those messages and may have exchanged a couple of lines of Facebook chat, I can’t remember now. But I had gone to his page only a few days before to wish him a cheery “Happy Birthday.” I had listened to his tracks again. I hadn’t known him in person but I had known his friends, I had known his music. What does one do, what does one feel, when a facebook friend dies, someone at this level of acquaintance, new to history, whom you may have never met but whose updates you regularly see and who may have also seen your updates?

On his myspace page, he looked forward to the future:

”I really do believe with GOD, Hard work, Patience and Persistence you can achieve anything in life and I do hope all my aspirations and dreams shall come to pass. This is just the beginning for me, loads more is yet to come, music is about to change”.

And as a young talent gone too soon, his death is reminiscent of the death of rising star Dagrin only half a year ago. Now, Sazzy’s last update on Facebook seems a sad foreshadowing:

Sazzy Omonbude Hey thanx for all d birthday wishes….bin a bit ill bt thanx all d same

He had just turned 26. He had sickle cell. And he made mad good music.

 

Sazzy (c) Intersection

 

Yet, his “beginning” has become his legacy. The internet is chock full of his traces. He left behind a dance track list on his myspace page and reverbnation page (he’s currently listed as #5 on the Abuja charts), a youtube page with two videos, a twitter page full of banter, a facebook fan page that is slowly filling up with tributes, and one mix album “The Take Over,” for sale online, with some of the most promising new Nigerian artists, including Sazzy’s “Mr Chairman.”

A whole flurry of other blogs and new have written obituaries and tributes to him.  Olamilde Entertainment gives a short biography taken from his myspace page:

Sazzy born Osaze Omonbude in Nigeria, Oct. 15 1984; he had a good client and fan base in his country. His intention was to his wings internationally. As a child, he grew up listening to mostly international acts like The fugees, Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z, Nas, Madonna, Shade, Fela and loads more. Since then he has always had a dream to sing and produce internationally, “let everybody here what I have to say’’. With a strong love for Good Music in any genre and a free mind in creativity, Sazzy was the type of act music needed. ”I really do believe with GOD, Hard work, Patience and Persistence you can achieve anything in life and I do hope all my aspirations and dreams shall come to pass. This is just the beginning for me, loads more is yet to come, music is about to change”.

Among the other sites to cover his untimely passing are modernghana.com,nigerianfilms.com, Linda Ikeji’s blogCampus HeatNigerian Entertainment Today, Abujacity.comLast Plane to Lagos, Bella Naija, and 360 Nobs. Not Just Ok, posted a tribute song by his Sazzy’s friends Uche the African Rockstar, Yoye, Lindsey, 5 Mics, Bugzy, Snappy. [UPDATE 5 November 2010: You can read the article about Sazzy I published in last week’s Weekly Trust here]

[Update 30 October 2010. Yesterday, Sazzy’s  friend Korex Calibur, whom he worked with on music videos, posted Sazzy’s final music video, a brilliant piece, which makes you realize just how much we are going to miss him….

On his myspace page, Sazzy writes,

”Every time I write or produce a song, I think outside the box and do not get caught up in music of the day or time. I make music straight from the heart. Music is who you are, I can’t be somebody else.”

And if music is who Sazzy was, he’s left a large part of himself behind in this world to comfort those who loved him.

Respect, Mr. Chairman. We will miss you!