Remembering Sound Sultan at Felabration – Emmanuel Ojeikhodion
Sound Sultan was everything you would hope for in a musician. From his stage presence to his dexterity with the guitar all the way to his satirical and socially conscious lyrics which identified him as a true acolyte of Fela.
A true measure of his worth and influence could be gleaned from the outpouring of grief at his passing. A part of me has refused to heal from the day the news broke. What is the thing in death that turns a man fast into a blurry lamp?
Growing up, Sound Sultan’s songs were my fave and still are, alongside a stash of other songs. The lyrical flavor in his songs were spiced with well-cooked lines blaring with raw energy from the home-theatre. The Jagbajantis crooner never failed to deliver in content. A good number of his tracks are woven around and address social ills; when you hear “Motherland“, you’d know he was referring to ‘migration’, ‘the need to remember home while abroad and the need to stay rather than running from the thorny edges’; when you hear “Mathematics” you’d know he was referring to ‘the decadence in the society and the effect of colonialism’. The brashness of these songs sold him across borders and its satire remained unflinching.
On hearing the sad news, I was dispirited for a while and had to unearth his songs to reminisce on each one of them all over again. The pain his demise left in me drove me almost to depression. A rain of nostalgia drenched me as I quivered in the valley of memory. I remembered his track “Rainy Days” and how it made me waltz back then as a kid. The song narrates the emergence of rain settling in after the heat of the scorching sun and the need to save ahead before the rainy day. It’s uncanny how the things of childhood remain unfettered & still continue to trail one’s steps into adulthood.
Forgive me if I have draped you in my grief but I have a lot to say about the Naija Ninja. I remember the memories of him like moments from my dreams and how every morning, my father’s old radio would blare out his songs. I’m hoping to be myself again but it is hard with the the media and social media still inundating us with bits of him.
In contemplating Sound Sultan’s life and passing especially in the shadow of Felabration one is moved to ask; what’s in this life that we chase after if all we do is rise only to fall and be pulverized into dust?
I will always remember the ‘Bushmeat and theHunter‘; ‘the Rainy Days‘; ‘BODMAS’; ‘NaturalSomething‘; ‘Motherland’…..
Sleep well King. Area dey miss you!
Emmanuel Ojeikhodion is an emerging Poet and Essayist from Nigeria. He has appeared in Strange Horizons, The Hellebore, Sledgehammer Lit Journal, Spillwords Press & elsewhere.