REGGAE MUSIC'LL BOUNCE BACK-SAY SKANKING MASTER, SANDY O'RACE
Sandy O'race and Skanking Master (Chris Etuk) are among millions of reggae faithful who are not happy with the dwindling fortune of the Jamaican originated 'ska' kind of music in Nigeria today.
Unlike the late 1970s and 1980s when reggae music held sway with the likes of The Mandators, Ras Kimono, Majek Fashek, Ortz Williki making waves, the music has been relegated to the background with Nigerian hip-hop taking full control. On their own, these two African Reggae Ambassadors, Anambra State-born Sandy Orace and Skanking Master, who also hail from Akwa-Ibom-state, have decided to lead the campaign to re-launch reggae music in Nigeria.
Dreadlocked Skanking Master started with reggae when he was 14 years old; when he was constructing guitar with woods and other local items; 'I had had encounters with my mother because sometimes when I was sent on errand, I ended up with my guitar. Children would gather around me and always will be the vocalist. She would come and scatter those things. Mother came one day and wanted to scatter us but on getting there she had a rethink, looked at me, smiled and said, may God keep me alive to see what you'll be in future.
'From secondary school they started calling me Rasta and as time went on, I became the school band leader at Comprehensive Secondary School in Ikono LGA of Akwa Ibom State. When I came to Enugu I played with bands such as Comrade Band, Blacktop, as well as Early Man and the Ancient Band. In Lagos, I played with bands like Hitman Willis, I had a stint at Wazobia Hotel Apapa before I went solo and released the album Make a Change (2007).
Now I have a new album called Skanking Master in the House-Hit track 'Cant stop Reggae.' The promo is currently being aired on radio stations.' The Akwa-Ibom born reggae musician did a song for Samuel Peters when he won the heavy weight boxing title entitled, Respect; he also produced Welcome Akwa-Ibom in his new album; the track is already becoming an anthem in the state.
Said he; 'One thing that is constant is change; the same thing that was in vogue in 1913 can bounce into reckoning again; you can't relegate reggae and that's why I remain there and reggae remains reggae till tomorrow. Things will keep changing; the world itself is spherical; things go round and round and that is why today things are the way they are. If hip-hop is at the centre stage today, I assure you that reggae is around the corner and will surely bounce back. Sandy Orace and I are there working to ensure reggae regain its rightful place.'
He urged music promoters in the country to also give reggae a chance; 'The same goes for reggae presenters on radio, most of them still believe in old Jamaican musicians who are dead whereas there are new reggae prophets around. Let them be wise; like the hip-hop, at a time it was America all the way until they discovered that locally we have lots of talents. There are so many reggae musicians locally who have the message and so reggae can be re-launched because I tell you people are in love with reggae.
For Sandy Orace, who hails from Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, he prefers to be addressed as the new reggae prophet. With his first album Mystic Man in 2000, Many Rivers, (2011) marketed by 'Iyke the Don' Sandy Orace said 'The problem is that people fail to realize that reggae is still alive and that is why we are here. To spread the message of reggae, and continue from where the old prophets stopped. Our people must realize that reggae is not dead and cannot die.'
Orace urged reggae presenters on radio to play more of indigenous music than concentrating on the archival Jamaican stars at the detriment of the Nigerians. He predicted that a revolution would soon take place just as it did in the Hip-hop industry and urged reggae musicians not to give up.