DREAMS COME TRUE: Nwakego's Music for the Igbo Children
Life is always calling to us. Do you listen for it? Do you hear its whisper on the wind asking you to reach inside to be more, to bring out that special gift you have to offer the world? Sometimes, the call comes and we act right now ... more often I think it comes in incremental steps. We hear it. We respond. Then other things need to happen to make all the pieces come together into that DREAM of ours come true.
The story of Nwakego demonstrates this truth:
Nwakego is Igbo (pronounced e-bo). She speaks English and Igbo. Her motherland is Nigeria. She is a poet with a beautiful voice and a message of love and thanksgiving for the world. Her new CD, MMA-MMA in Thanksgiving and Love is a celebration of Igbo songs brought to life as a gift to her children and all Igbo children of the world --- and for you and me too! Nwakego explains it this way...
"After my baby, Chizaram, uttered her first Igbo words “Bia” and “hapu ya” I knew I had a sacred responsibility to raise her as a well rounded Igbo child, who will understand, speak, write and BE truly Igbo. I thought of all the Igbo children in America and Europe who are suffering identity crisis because of the loss of their mother tongue. By maintaining our Igbo mother tongue, we maintain our pride and ethnic identity as a people. Our language is our identity. It is whom we are. God made it so"
Nwakego's work on MMA-MMA started in 2001. It was inspired by Fr. Eustace Edomobi came up with the idea of doing studio recordings of some of our traditional catholic hymns as a way of preserving them for future generations. So, the multi-talented group began recording with a mini home studio at the church basement of St. Antoninus Catholic Church of Newark, New Jersey. In 2002, Nwakego went to Nigeria and recorded in a professional studio. "When I returned to NJ, I listened to it over and over again. I decided to re-do the work sometime in future."
Baby Chizaram's inspiration resulted in a new album with nine songs --- eight are Igbo. Nwakego's intention is to clear and her call-to-action to parents of Igbo children is compelling. She says to them:
“Let us begin to speak Igbo, eat and drink Igbo, wear Igbo, SING Igbo and BE Igbo! It is our birthright and ebere emegbuorelam onye tufuru birthright ya!"
IGBO: Spawned, sustained and graduated on a stalk of HOPE
As I've listened to the beautiful sounds, voices and the call of the African drums, I am reminded of Nwakego's dream come true. Perhaps it is the example of the Igbo people that makes their sounds so precious. If you are like me at one time, you may not know that the Igbo people survived The Biafra-Nigeria Civil War that lasted 3 years back in the 1960's. A dear friend of mine, Igbo visionary, Dr. Oguchi Nkwocha from Biafra/south-eastern Nigeria, shared these insights with me to help me appreciate the strength being Igbo people; it also has made each of Nwakego's songs be an echo of strength and hope of the Igbo people: |
"While the world watched or stood by the Nigerian government made a decision that "starvation was a legitimate instrument of war" --- at least two million Biafran people starved. However, in the years that followed, they emerged from the hope to start again. The Igbo lifted themselves up from nothing. Many Biafrans alive today were spawned, sustained and graduated on that stalk of hope. Today, I look at the pictures of starving Biafran children from that era. Perhaps, it's me, but I can still see that lingering ray of hope hiding in their faces... ' ...give me hope. Any hope at all, and I can sing a song for you..." Learn more from Dr. Nkwocha
With Dr. Nkwocha's mentoring, I have learned to see the power of DREAMING and also to more fully appreciate Nwakego remarkable new gift to the Igbo children, mothers, families and the people of the world. For in each song --- in the sweetness of the voices and each beat of the African drum is Nkwakego's calling ---- her DREAM come true ---- her personal contribution with the potential for sweeping influences on the lives of others.
WON'T YOU SHARE IN THIS GREAT WORK?
MMA-MMA in Thanksgiving and Love
Visit Nwakego's website
BUY a copy; listen to MMA-MMA in Thanksgiving and Love
Let it move you...and its proceeds to benefit Igbo children all over the world.
To You, My Love
A Collection of Love Poems
by Nwakego Ihenacho Ezeanuna
Buy at Amazon.com
A beautiful collection of life and love, expressing the feelings we long for as humans.
I listened to MMA-MMA while I was writing this message to all of you. Imagine this coming as a gift to Igbo children all over the world, emerging from that distant stalk of hope. ...and for Nwakego, bless your contribution as a woman in the lead!
With love and gratitude for this new work...