Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bend down, shake to the beat...

Whoa people! Let's talk Lagos parties!!!
Imagine the music and the feverish dance-steps! Most of you Lagosians, Nigerians, and lovers of Afro beats know what I'm talking about. Whatever you're doing, wherever you are --whether at home, out in the city, or even totally out in a foreign country-- whenever you hear the beat, you just feel like getting straight down and doing a jig or two. Lol!!!
My favorite is the song my Uncle always starts off his parties with, a song that created so much buzz in 2001/2002, I've been told:
"Pade mi ni sale...!!!!!"
"Aaaaahhhhh Under!!!!!!"
Yeah, that's right. You totally know who I'm talking about. You're already standing in that legendary dancing pose, shoulders back, hips down, butt stuck-out, and backbone set to undulate. You wait for the next cue:
"Le le le le le le le-- le le le le-- le le le le le le..."
The metallic sound of trumpets, then:
"Arege ji ah! Arege ji ah ah...."
"Aaaahhhh, Under!"
Then follows the well-known lyrics accompanied by staccato crazy beats with the Yoruba talking drums.
"Isale ele ele, konko konko..."
"E gbe jo oooo!!!"
"Kon Below! Konko Below!! Kon Below!!! Konko Below!!!!"
I never really figured out if the catch word is "Under" or "Thunder", or both. But the song is quite addictive, I must admit. Can't be totally captured with just words. This here, friends, will require a depicting video.
Just so we're clear, I'm talking of the one and only, Lagbaja, the masked King of the new millennium Afro beats. See link to a you-tube video of his hit song:
Very captivating, huh? I thought so too when I first heard it, even though I couldn't understand a word, except "Below". Lol!!!
To tell the truth, I'd still like to find out what the lyrics mean some time.
Anyways, Lagos parties are something every teenager needs to experience at least once in his/her lifetime.
"What about High-school parties?" You ask, not sure what on earth I'm totally driving at.
Teenage American parties, you mean? Oh puhleease, give me a total break! There just isn't any comparison!!! Those stolen-beer and pizza-driven excuses for a good time totally fade right into the background beside a Lagos street party.
Yeah! That's right! It's not just the colorful attire of the party-goers, the wide-reaching head-ties of the women, the rich agabadas worn by the men, the flashy jewelries, great high-life music, or delicious foods and refreshments supplied as 'item seven.' Lol!!!
To be frank with you, in comparison to what I now know as an 'Owambe party', which is the most common native party in Lagos; prom parties just feel so drab and boring with the punch and pizza--nothing really much to it. Ugh!!!
One thing I noticed about Lagos parties though, you don't really need an exotic venue to pull-off the perfect entertaining scene. Most people just use their compounds and the free spaces behind their homes. However, if you're one of those who live in a flat (apartment) or totally don't have a wide compound, don't sweat it. Just use your street!!!!
"No way!!!" You eyes almost pop out of their sockets. "You mean as in streets where cars commute and everything?" you ask, looking quite incredulous. "Seriously?"
Yep!!! Totally!!! Just wait till it's about 6pm, then measure-out about a two-hundred feet of the street in front of your home-- spanning to the left and right-- and clamp-down some road-block signs at each end. Then scatter around several plastic chairs and tables and position a few bouncers at strategic points to warn and redirect traffic. Mount an intimidating sound system with heavy-duty speakers wired from the inside of your building with plenty of extensions.
You totally got yourself a party venue. Lol!!!
"You must be kidding me?" You remark, totally blown outta your mind. "A street party, how cool is that?" You think for a coupla minutes, then ask, "What about the cops? Howddya deal with 'em, huh?"
Cops? What cops? The same guys the party host already 'sorted' with a coupla thousand bucks (Naira)?
Naahhh, street parties don't get bothered by no cops, irritated neighbors, or grandparents. The general rule of thumbs for such gatherings is very simple:
If you can't beat 'em; join 'em!!!
"Wow," you say, totally blown away. "I so wanna spend my summer hols in Lagos.
Now, that's what I'm talking about. Remember, the above also goes for coming-of-age parties, birthdays, school proms, naming ceremonies, bachelor parties, burial wake-keeping, golden-jubilees, after wedding parties, church functions, sports victory, etc, etc. You can basically celebrate anything in Lagos, even your first job, your first car, college graduations or your house opening. These parties bring the body and soul of the city together in perfect harmony. And you wanna know something cool?
Everyone is totally invited. In effect, a second home for street parties are:
M'ogbo, mo branch!
Indirect translation: I heard the music, I totally invited myself. And all my hommies.
"Yeah right!!!" You roll your eyes. "The more the merrier, huh?"
Yep!!! That's exactly what I'm talking about! All ya party rats outta 'ere, please join me:
E gbe jo o!!! 

Lotta Luv,

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  1. lol of course who don't know that song..
    konko below kon below....

    thats naija party for you..

  2. @ BSNC: Lol!!! Don't you just luv the Lagos parties? Lagbaja rocks! I wonder if he still releases new songs?

  3. Classic tune that...

    Brought back many memories of motherland!

  4. @ Rocnaija: Yes of course I know what you mean. Nigerians are so lucky, you have all these talented artists and movie stars. I heard Lagbaja's song just once and I was hooked. Since then I've been following other artists like Tony Tetuila and the guys that sang "Ier Gauo" (i.e. Magic System. I don't even know if they're Nigerians or not).
    My uncle tells me Fela was a legend too. I don't get much of what he sings about, but his guitar tunes are awesome!

  5. See I like your blog. Very informative. Maybe when I'm in Lagos, my parents might drop me off...PLEASE!!!

  6. @The Nigerian Fetish: Thanks. Beware, you may fall in love with city and never want to leave :)


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