As I drove home on this particularly hectic Monday, I pushed the play button on my car’s music set to ease the day’s pressure with good music. It was Buchi’s song; “Cultural Festival”, brilliantly delivered with the rare skill of gifted story tellers. My friend; Opeyemi, had sought my help to translate the chorus of the song, which the celebrated Reggae Gospel Artiste; Buchi, featured here, did in Igbo language.
I was fascinated by the music and the story line but try as much as I did, I couldn’t make out most of the words of the chorus. I therefore reached out to Buchi and he excitedly broke it down for me. It was a song his Grand Mama taught him and he delivered it in that original Abia dialect, hence my initial obfuscation.
“O na-enye kari onye obula, Chukwu na-enye kari onye obula
O na-enye ka ndi olu bekee, na-eri ikpege n’onwa n’onwa
o na-enye o, o na-enye o, o na-enye o”
The English translation is:
“He gives more than anyone else, God gives more than anyone else.
He gives like those in white-collar jobs, that earns money month by month
He gives, He gives, He gives.”
Buchi went further to clarify to me, the context and message of the song… He explained that, in his Grand Mama’s time, those in white-collar jobs were considered elitist and advantaged. She therefore compared her experience of God’s lavish giving, to their privileged condition.
Thereafter, I listened to the song with a deeper understanding and especially enjoyed his celebration of Christianity as our way of life… our culture. His cogent reasoning was that if his Great Grand Mama and Grand Mama left Christian legacies for him, it must then be that for his generation, Christianity has indeed become a culture.
“It was cultural festival in my Country and the Minister for Culture said, ‘bring me the reggae gospel man’ and it was a journalist who said, ‘what do we want with the gospel? Give us the juju and the masquerade. It’s cultural festival, nothing to do with the gospel.’ But I turned and said to him, ‘Christianity may not be a part of our ancient history but it is certainly our culture. For longtime we’ve been with Jesus, Christianity has become a culture… Isaac, Abraham and Joshua, they are the ancestors now…’ “
“Cultural Festival” is one of the hit songs in Buchi’s recent album titled; “I See” and the album is available on digital stores via the links below: