I first took notice in 2002.
I was in Lagos and that particular day my cousin had switched the channel from channel O to A.I.T. There he was, the tall masked one trying to toast a woman who wasn't even trying to hear him out. I was captivated. I do not know what got me, was it the horns? the lyrics? the juxtaposition of english and yoruba? or was is simply because I was hearing homegrown music after a diet of stateside r & b by way of south africa?
Whatever it was, it was made concrete when i saw the video for Surulere a few days later. I was blown away. The cartoon video drew me in and had me transfixed in front of the television. The lyrics? He was more than an R&B toaster, he was a man of substance and that won my heart. I had to have his tapes, cds whatever. He was definitely going back home with me.
Fortunately, a friend hooked me up with Lagbaja's tape (We before Me) which I proceeded to play day in and day for months when I got back to Boston. Thank God for friends and family in my life. They have been the ones to grow the love that I have for Lagbaja. When I came back to Nigeria later that year, my uncle gifted me with another Lagbaja tape (Ikira) and another one of my friends worked it so that I got to see the last show of the year at Motherlan. It was the best night ever! The show took forever to start (NEPA) and we had to leave early (fear of armed robbers) but I had a blast. The highlight of the show for me was when Lagbaja took Baby Ta Ni Ko Fe Wa and extended that song with another that I have been trying to find ever since. I love when musicians take an old favorite and give it new flavor. Like what Mos Def did to Ms. Fat Booty in 2001 on the Lyricist Lounge tour when he pulled and extended the Gregory Isaac snippet he teased us with on the original track. I am still trying to find the live version of that too. Writing this makes me realize how much I have missed going to concerts. The last concert I went to was, it's a lie, it was Lagbaja's in 2002. O ma se.
But I digress. I was listening to Lagbaja's Akebaje on the way home and I just felt like expressing my love for the man. I am trying to get my hands on his latest cd. In the meantime, I have been reading the lyrics on his website (very nice by the way, i think he even chats with his fans, amazing.) and listening to it on duduradio. My favorite track right now is Aisan.
I wish that I could see Lagbaja live. Sigh. Lagbaja come do a tour in the states or better yet someone hook me up with a ticket to naija and someone with a car who will take me to Motherlan'.