Nigerian Music and Queen Elizabeth II – Pulse Nigeria

Music

As the United Kingdom and the World celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of the longest serving British Monarch Queen Elizabeth II, the song carefully selected to soundtrack the monumental event was ‘A Life Lived With Grace’ composed by a Nigerian Catholic Priest, Reverend Father Vincent Chinmelu who won the Song of the Common Wealth Competition.
The song and the identity of its creator were quite notable especially as the Monarch in whose honor it was curated had interacted with Nigerian music at different points.
On Thursday, 8th September 2022, the United Kingdom ground to a halt when news of the death of its Queen was announced. As condolences continue to pour in from all corners of the globe, it’s instructive to say that the Nigerian Music industry has lost one of its earliest and most prominent fans.
The different moments capture the Queen’s interaction with Nigerian music from her first visit to Nigeria in 1956 as part of her royal tour to Commonwealth countries, from January 28 to February 16. On her first visit, she was received at the Airport by music and cultural tropes who colorfully welcomed her into one of her African Colonies.
During her tour of Nigeria, she was entertained by different indigenous music accompanied by cultural displays. Even in the North, music was used to entertain the Queen. It’s documented that Dan Maraya Jos‘s ‘Kusimilaya’, was so popular that it was performed during the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Nigeria.
It’s documented that Queen Elizabeth famously awarded highly revered and celebrated Highlife-Juju musician IK Dairo the prestigious award of Member of The British Empire, thus making him the first African musician to receive the Honor.
The Queen is also reported to have Knighted Juju Icon Sir Shina Peters after he mesmerized her with his impressive performance.
“I went to London in 1970 and at an event organized by the United Nigerian Cultural Organisation in collaboration with the British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I was made a knight. They were amazed at how well I could play the guitar at that tender age,” Sir Shina Peter was quoted in an Interview with Nigerian Newspaper Punch.
Nigerian Music Icon King Sunny Ade is also reported to have dedicated part of his ‘Welcome to Nigeria’ album he curated for FESTAC ’77 to Queen Elizabeth.
It was not always a cordial relationship between Nigerian musicians and Queen Elizabeth as Afrobeat pioneer and Music deity Fela Anikulapo Kuti‘s 1989 record ‘Beast of no Nation’ took a swipe at the British Government and its monarchy over apartheid in South Africa.
Queen Elizabeth will return to Nigeria 47 years after her first visit. She attended the Common Wealth Head of Government Summit hosted in 2003 by President Olusegun Obasanjo. Similar to her first visit, she was welcomed by a sensational cultural dance trope.
While there are not a lot of available songs which document Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Nigeria, a handful of Nigerian artists might likely document her demise in their songs, especially in this age of globalization.
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