The Ezigbo Obiligbo Dance Dimension
The depth of their dancing skills is outstanding but they are of a different dimension because they are backed by a musical quartet of traditional instrumentalists who use very basic equipment to produce a moving piece of musical excellence.
Ezigbo Obiligbo Dance group come from an unlikely area of Nteje in Anambra State and when they begin their dancing and the quartet release their musical virtuosity, you are bound to move along, dancing at their easy going pace as they switch up or down tempo to create a dance that form part of the mainstream culture of the land.
Their musical collaboration with Flavour Nabbania on songs like Awele helped to bring the dance group into the mainstream of modern Nigerian music. Watching a recent video of the group was a very exciting experience. I am sure that Anambra State Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Sally Mbanefo will ensure that dancing group will continue to get government interest and support in the coming years.
The Six robust male dancers and their equally six female companions are joined by another quartet of girl dancers who complete the movement with their leading man, a portly figure endowed with a superior dancing skill that combine with the 4 instrumentalists to produce a beauty of sights and sounds.
Their instruments include ‘Udu’ – simply a decorated ceramic pot with a base that enable it to sit on the ground or held by the player who hit the open top to produce a unique bass, fused together with the other instruments including ‘Ubo’ that release a dance routine that is definitely a mindblower.
If you love dancing or you are a dance teacher, you can actually create all sorts of dance steps from the formidable variations they create. You can also extend the dance styles from the music that flow from this rich time tested African traditional music.
The Ubo is a kind of traditional guitar while the guitar used in rock, jazz or highlife music is known in Igbo as Ubo Akwala.
It seems therefore that African roots music is so diverse that those who today produce the afrobeat or afrobeats or even the hip hop and rap music are sitting on a goldmine from which they can turnaround the music of African origin, using the traditional beat to augment their various productions. For acts like P-Square, Phyno, Tekno, Davido, Wizkid or Naira Marley, Chidimma and Tiwa Savage, the coast is very clear to experiment from the huge storehouse of the diverse cultural underpinnings of African dance.
The latest Four minutes, seven seconds dance video of Ezigbo Obiligbo titled IFE ENU NEME opens with a Staccato mix of Ubo, Udu, andOgene, accompanied by a vocal medley of the four instrumentalists, but the lead vocalist is distinguishable by the powerful thrust of his vocal endowments. The female dancers are certainly mesmerising as they move with grace and dignity in line with their leader’s moves and direction. Of course the boys are strong and definitive in their own manly style with no self-important posturing. The group appears very professional in their overall display, but for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, should be a material for a world concert tour that is guaranteed to bring them fame and fortune.
Toni Day reporting