Apr 4, 2014

Everlasting sound of Martha Ulaeto

CONCERT musicians seldom compromise their music for other idioms – perhaps as a mark of professional pride. But on the Nigerian scene, some adventurously versatile classicists such as Prof. Akin Euba, Funmi Adams and Martha Ulaeto have been known to make successful incursions into the popular music realm with remarkable recorded works. Of this trio, Ulaeto recorded three albums in a progressively logical order, a fact that speaks volumes for her deep sense of commitment, and yet she is the least recognised.
As a testimony to her varied talent, she recorded her debut album in 1981. Titled Love me now, the bulk of the work was done in London – with Ghana’s George Lee making tremendous input in terms of production and instrumentalisation. George it was who helped to situate Ulaeto on the scene in terms of eliminating her vocal nuances and idosycracies, which were deeply soaked in the concert style.
The album had a few up tempos which tended to take her away from the romantic flourish of concert music, a technique which propelled her to swing the music. But George’s saxophone was there throughout the singing to boost her voice and lace it with the straight, pop sound of the saxophone, especially as George has a wonderful tone.
He was the leader of the Ghana Messengers, one of the early highlife bands to exhibit signs of progressiveness. Doubling on tenor and alto saxophones, George was one of the early soloists to introduce the jazz progression to highlife. And he had made some remarkable impact both on the Ghanaian and Nigerian scenes way back in 1959 before he travelled to England where, over the years, he was involved in numerous productions and mind-blowing saxophone sessions. George later moved to South Africa where he died a couple of years ago.
Inspired by the instant success of Love me now Martha came up with Everlasting in 1982 followed by Christmas Africana in 1985. Apart from Christmas Africana, which had a definite message of Christmas, Martha’s lyrical theme was essentially inspired by love – as evidenced by Love me now, the very first album and Everlasting.
The second album did not come on strong rhythmically like the first; it therefore lost something in terms of commercial appeal. But this, and the third, experienced progressive improvement in the area of singing. The concert element was gradually disappearing and gave place to the straight, conventional popular musical approach.
However, the albums all have their different qualities. While Love me now has better commercial appeal, with Christmas Africana crafted in the spirit of Christmas, Everlasting is a rich variety of music from various tribes of Nigeria including folklores from Akwa Ibom, a love theme in English. The album is entirely loaded with powerful lyrics.
“My everlasting love, that’s what you are that’s what you are,” says the opening lines of this title song, which portrays the writer and performer as a woman deeply in love at the time. Progressing further, the lyrical lines say, “the very first time I saw your face, I knew you were the one for me.”
The second tune, which is written in Igbo, is titled Ije Lovu, a song about a woman’s love for her man. She gives him so much but he takes it all for granted. Obuzikwo Lovu – can this be love? She asks.
The third item, another love song, begins like this. “Sometimes I reminisce and wonder why it’s so easy to forget to love.” Titled Love is best, the song appeals to people who do everything but love, to take a little time off those mighty schemes and projects, to give and share a little love.
Forcados you yemo is in Ijaw and it means, ‘Forcados I’m crying’. In this song, a young girl is in tears as she calls on the people of her native Forcados to come to her aid. She has been forced to abandon her young lover to marry an older, wealthy man, a sugar daddy, with whom she can find no happiness.
Side two opens with another of Martha Ulaeto composition also anchored on love. The song begins by saying, “Take my hand and let me be the one to show you just how great love can be.”
Adura mi meaning ‘my prayer’ was written jointly by Martha and Taiwo Ogunade, a renowned musician.
Ndito Isong emana nyi which means ‘children of our land’ is a folklore in Efik. Exhorting the children, the song says that they can “excel and shine like the sun to all parts of the world.” It goes further to appeal to all to love and live in peace so that we can build our homes for the children of our land.”
‘Abasi ulok ulok’, a folk song concludes the session with lyrics and music by singer, composer, song-writer Martha Ulaeto. According to her, the song is sung in her native dialect of Ibeno and the people fondly refer to it as Ibeno Anthem. Says she: “There is hardly a happy (or sad) gathering of Ibeno people without the rendering of this song. In it, they call on the god of their forefathers (Abes Ulok) to be with them, give them happiness and see to their every need.”
Everlasting is essentially predicated on love, a virtue, which the world needs today to live at peace with one another. And because all the songs stand out as distinct melodies; it is also a demonstration of Martha’s inventiveness in terms of structuring melodies. And of course the entire session has marked her out as a prolific lyricist.
Everlasting was recorded in London at Pye and Gerrard studios and mastered at Gerrard studios – in 1982. It was produced jointly by Mike Abiola Philips and Martha Ulaeto herself – with several musicians of note as session men.
Martha’s musical inclination was stimulated by her step-mother who was an organist and pianist in those early days. And as a school girl, she was cast in leading solo parts at the Cornelia Connelly College, Uyo. She joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as an announcer in the early 70s, but her passion for the music profession did not allow her to pursue a career in broadcasting. Consequently, she found time to do solo parts in Dr. Sam Akpabio’s Operatta Cynthia’s Lament in 1971 and Adam Fiberessima’s Magnum Opus, Opu Jaja in 1973.
Working with these two famous Nigerian composers could not but attract public attention to her talents and so she proceeded to the National Conservatory in Athens under a Greek Government Scholarship for advanced musical studies. After her graduation there in 1977, she studied in London under two distinguished teachers, Constance Shacklock and Victoria Ellior. She has performed in many international concerts, prominent among them, the 1985 Africa Rise.
Martha has since stopped recording after her third album, Christmas Africana in 1985. But the three albums she has to her credit constitute enough legacy, especially in terms of contemporary African music. Essentially a concern-oriented musician with a smooth voice, her three albums in the other musical idioms constitute an eloquent testimony to her varied talent.
This adventurous spirit earned her a Solidra Award in Lagos in 1985. Her example should serve to inspire some of the musicologists in our universities who are burying their talents in the debris of seeming academic pursuits. Until they come out like Martha and group, entertainment watchers would continue to see them as being limited in the musical horizon and lethargic in activity.
Their venturing out can only help to revive Nigeria’s sinking music industry.
- See more at: http://zumalist.com/everlasting-sound-of-martha-ulaeto_n6122.html#sthash.lFiIJZuY.dpuf

CONCERT musicians seldom compromise their music for other idioms – perhaps as a mark of professional pride. But on the Nigerian scene, some adventurously versatile classicists such as Prof. Akin Euba, Funmi Adams and Martha Ulaeto have been known to make successful incursions into the popular music realm with remarkable recorded works. Of this trio, Ulaeto recorded three albums in a progressively logical order, a fact that speaks volumes for her deep sense of commitment, and yet she is the least recognised.
As a testimony to her varied talent, she recorded her debut album in 1981. Titled Love me now, the bulk of the work was done in London – with Ghana’s George Lee making tremendous input in terms of production and instrumentalisation. George it was who helped to situate Ulaeto on the scene in terms of eliminating her vocal nuances and idosycracies, which were deeply soaked in the concert style.
The album had a few up tempos which tended to take her away from the romantic flourish of concert music, a technique which propelled her to swing the music. But George’s saxophone was there throughout the singing to boost her voice and lace it with the straight, pop sound of the saxophone, especially as George has a wonderful tone.
He was the leader of the Ghana Messengers, one of the early highlife bands to exhibit signs of progressiveness. Doubling on tenor and alto saxophones, George was one of the early soloists to introduce the jazz progression to highlife. And he had made some remarkable impact both on the Ghanaian and Nigerian scenes way back in 1959 before he travelled to England where, over the years, he was involved in numerous productions and mind-blowing saxophone sessions. George later moved to South Africa where he died a couple of years ago.
Inspired by the instant success of Love me now Martha came up with Everlasting in 1982 followed by Christmas Africana in 1985. Apart from Christmas Africana, which had a definite message of Christmas, Martha’s lyrical theme was essentially inspired by love – as evidenced by Love me now, the very first album and Everlasting.
The second album did not come on strong rhythmically like the first; it therefore lost something in terms of commercial appeal. But this, and the third, experienced progressive improvement in the area of singing. The concert element was gradually disappearing and gave place to the straight, conventional popular musical approach.
However, the albums all have their different qualities. While Love me now has better commercial appeal, with Christmas Africana crafted in the spirit of Christmas, Everlasting is a rich variety of music from various tribes of Nigeria including folklores from Akwa Ibom, a love theme in English. The album is entirely loaded with powerful lyrics.
“My everlasting love, that’s what you are that’s what you are,” says the opening lines of this title song, which portrays the writer and performer as a woman deeply in love at the time. Progressing further, the lyrical lines say, “the very first time I saw your face, I knew you were the one for me.”
The second tune, which is written in Igbo, is titled Ije Lovu, a song about a woman’s love for her man. She gives him so much but he takes it all for granted. Obuzikwo Lovu – can this be love? She asks.
The third item, another love song, begins like this. “Sometimes I reminisce and wonder why it’s so easy to forget to love.” Titled Love is best, the song appeals to people who do everything but love, to take a little time off those mighty schemes and projects, to give and share a little love.
Forcados you yemo is in Ijaw and it means, ‘Forcados I’m crying’. In this song, a young girl is in tears as she calls on the people of her native Forcados to come to her aid. She has been forced to abandon her young lover to marry an older, wealthy man, a sugar daddy, with whom she can find no happiness.
Side two opens with another of Martha Ulaeto composition also anchored on love. The song begins by saying, “Take my hand and let me be the one to show you just how great love can be.”
Adura mi meaning ‘my prayer’ was written jointly by Martha and Taiwo Ogunade, a renowned musician.
Ndito Isong emana nyi which means ‘children of our land’ is a folklore in Efik. Exhorting the children, the song says that they can “excel and shine like the sun to all parts of the world.” It goes further to appeal to all to love and live in peace so that we can build our homes for the children of our land.”
‘Abasi ulok ulok’, a folk song concludes the session with lyrics and music by singer, composer, song-writer Martha Ulaeto. According to her, the song is sung in her native dialect of Ibeno and the people fondly refer to it as Ibeno Anthem. Says she: “There is hardly a happy (or sad) gathering of Ibeno people without the rendering of this song. In it, they call on the god of their forefathers (Abes Ulok) to be with them, give them happiness and see to their every need.”
Everlasting is essentially predicated on love, a virtue, which the world needs today to live at peace with one another. And because all the songs stand out as distinct melodies; it is also a demonstration of Martha’s inventiveness in terms of structuring melodies. And of course the entire session has marked her out as a prolific lyricist.
Everlasting was recorded in London at Pye and Gerrard studios and mastered at Gerrard studios – in 1982. It was produced jointly by Mike Abiola Philips and Martha Ulaeto herself – with several musicians of note as session men.
Martha’s musical inclination was stimulated by her step-mother who was an organist and pianist in those early days. And as a school girl, she was cast in leading solo parts at the Cornelia Connelly College, Uyo. She joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as an announcer in the early 70s, but her passion for the music profession did not allow her to pursue a career in broadcasting. Consequently, she found time to do solo parts in Dr. Sam Akpabio’s Operatta Cynthia’s Lament in 1971 and Adam Fiberessima’s Magnum Opus, Opu Jaja in 1973.
Working with these two famous Nigerian composers could not but attract public attention to her talents and so she proceeded to the National Conservatory in Athens under a Greek Government Scholarship for advanced musical studies. After her graduation there in 1977, she studied in London under two distinguished teachers, Constance Shacklock and Victoria Ellior. She has performed in many international concerts, prominent among them, the 1985 Africa Rise.
Martha has since stopped recording after her third album, Christmas Africana in 1985. But the three albums she has to her credit constitute enough legacy, especially in terms of contemporary African music. Essentially a concern-oriented musician with a smooth voice, her three albums in the other musical idioms constitute an eloquent testimony to her varied talent.
This adventurous spirit earned her a Solidra Award in Lagos in 1985. Her example should serve to inspire some of the musicologists in our universities who are burying their talents in the debris of seeming academic pursuits. Until they come out like Martha and group, entertainment watchers would continue to see them as being limited in the musical horizon and lethargic in activity.
Their venturing out can only help to revive Nigeria’s sinking music industry.
- See more at: http://zumalist.com/everlasting-sound-of-martha-ulaeto_n6122.html#sthash.lFiIJZuY.dpuf
CONCERT musicians seldom compromise their music for other idioms – perhaps as a mark of professional pride. But on the Nigerian scene, some adventurously versatile classicists such as Prof. Akin Euba, Funmi Adams and Martha Ulaeto have been known to make successful incursions into the popular music realm with remarkable recorded works. Of this trio, Ulaeto recorded three albums in a progressively logical order, a fact that speaks volumes for her deep sense of commitment, and yet she is the least recognised.
As a testimony to her varied talent, she recorded her debut album in 1981. Titled Love me now, the bulk of the work was done in London – with Ghana’s George Lee making tremendous input in terms of production and instrumentalisation. George it was who helped to situate Ulaeto on the scene in terms of eliminating her vocal nuances and idosycracies, which were deeply soaked in the concert style.
The album had a few up tempos which tended to take her away from the romantic flourish of concert music, a technique which propelled her to swing the music. But George’s saxophone was there throughout the singing to boost her voice and lace it with the straight, pop sound of the saxophone, especially as George has a wonderful tone.
He was the leader of the Ghana Messengers, one of the early highlife bands to exhibit signs of progressiveness. Doubling on tenor and alto saxophones, George was one of the early soloists to introduce the jazz progression to highlife. And he had made some remarkable impact both on the Ghanaian and Nigerian scenes way back in 1959 before he travelled to England where, over the years, he was involved in numerous productions and mind-blowing saxophone sessions. George later moved to South Africa where he died a couple of years ago.
Inspired by the instant success of Love me now Martha came up with Everlasting in 1982 followed by Christmas Africana in 1985. Apart from Christmas Africana, which had a definite message of Christmas, Martha’s lyrical theme was essentially inspired by love – as evidenced by Love me now, the very first album and Everlasting.
The second album did not come on strong rhythmically like the first; it therefore lost something in terms of commercial appeal. But this, and the third, experienced progressive improvement in the area of singing. The concert element was gradually disappearing and gave place to the straight, conventional popular musical approach.
However, the albums all have their different qualities. While Love me now has better commercial appeal, with Christmas Africana crafted in the spirit of Christmas, Everlasting is a rich variety of music from various tribes of Nigeria including folklores from Akwa Ibom, a love theme in English. The album is entirely loaded with powerful lyrics.
“My everlasting love, that’s what you are that’s what you are,” says the opening lines of this title song, which portrays the writer and performer as a woman deeply in love at the time. Progressing further, the lyrical lines say, “the very first time I saw your face, I knew you were the one for me.”
The second tune, which is written in Igbo, is titled Ije Lovu, a song about a woman’s love for her man. She gives him so much but he takes it all for granted. Obuzikwo Lovu – can this be love? She asks.
The third item, another love song, begins like this. “Sometimes I reminisce and wonder why it’s so easy to forget to love.” Titled Love is best, the song appeals to people who do everything but love, to take a little time off those mighty schemes and projects, to give and share a little love.
Forcados you yemo is in Ijaw and it means, ‘Forcados I’m crying’. In this song, a young girl is in tears as she calls on the people of her native Forcados to come to her aid. She has been forced to abandon her young lover to marry an older, wealthy man, a sugar daddy, with whom she can find no happiness.
Side two opens with another of Martha Ulaeto composition also anchored on love. The song begins by saying, “Take my hand and let me be the one to show you just how great love can be.”
Adura mi meaning ‘my prayer’ was written jointly by Martha and Taiwo Ogunade, a renowned musician.
Ndito Isong emana nyi which means ‘children of our land’ is a folklore in Efik. Exhorting the children, the song says that they can “excel and shine like the sun to all parts of the world.” It goes further to appeal to all to love and live in peace so that we can build our homes for the children of our land.”
‘Abasi ulok ulok’, a folk song concludes the session with lyrics and music by singer, composer, song-writer Martha Ulaeto. According to her, the song is sung in her native dialect of Ibeno and the people fondly refer to it as Ibeno Anthem. Says she: “There is hardly a happy (or sad) gathering of Ibeno people without the rendering of this song. In it, they call on the god of their forefathers (Abes Ulok) to be with them, give them happiness and see to their every need.”
Everlasting is essentially predicated on love, a virtue, which the world needs today to live at peace with one another. And because all the songs stand out as distinct melodies; it is also a demonstration of Martha’s inventiveness in terms of structuring melodies. And of course the entire session has marked her out as a prolific lyricist.
Everlasting was recorded in London at Pye and Gerrard studios and mastered at Gerrard studios – in 1982. It was produced jointly by Mike Abiola Philips and Martha Ulaeto herself – with several musicians of note as session men.
Martha’s musical inclination was stimulated by her step-mother who was an organist and pianist in those early days. And as a school girl, she was cast in leading solo parts at the Cornelia Connelly College, Uyo. She joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as an announcer in the early 70s, but her passion for the music profession did not allow her to pursue a career in broadcasting. Consequently, she found time to do solo parts in Dr. Sam Akpabio’s Operatta Cynthia’s Lament in 1971 and Adam Fiberessima’s Magnum Opus, Opu Jaja in 1973.
Working with these two famous Nigerian composers could not but attract public attention to her talents and so she proceeded to the National Conservatory in Athens under a Greek Government Scholarship for advanced musical studies. After her graduation there in 1977, she studied in London under two distinguished teachers, Constance Shacklock and Victoria Ellior. She has performed in many international concerts, prominent among them, the 1985 Africa Rise.
Martha has since stopped recording after her third album, Christmas Africana in 1985. But the three albums she has to her credit constitute enough legacy, especially in terms of contemporary African music. Essentially a concern-oriented musician with a smooth voice, her three albums in the other musical idioms constitute an eloquent testimony to her varied talent.
This adventurous spirit earned her a Solidra Award in Lagos in 1985. Her example should serve to inspire some of the musicologists in our universities who are burying their talents in the debris of seeming academic pursuits. Until they come out like Martha and group, entertainment watchers would continue to see them as being limited in the musical horizon and lethargic in activity.
Their venturing out can only help to revive Nigeria’s sinking music industry.
- See more at: http://zumalist.com/everlasting-sound-of-martha-ulaeto_n6122.html#sthash.lFiIJZuY.dpuf
CONCERT musicians seldom compromise their music for other idioms – perhaps as a mark of professional pride. But on the Nigerian scene, some adventurously versatile classicists such as Prof. Akin Euba, Funmi Adams and Martha Ulaeto have been known to make successful incursions into the popular music realm with remarkable recorded works. Of this trio, Ulaeto recorded three albums in a progressively logical order, a fact that speaks volumes for her deep sense of commitment, and yet she is the least recognised.

As a testimony to her varied talent, she recorded her debut album in 1981. Titled Love me now, the bulk of the work was done in London – with Ghana’s George Lee making tremendous input in terms of production and instrumentalisation. George it was who helped to situate Ulaeto on the scene in terms of eliminating her vocal nuances and idosycracies, which were deeply soaked in the concert style.

The album had a few up tempos which tended to take her away from the romantic flourish of concert music, a technique which propelled her to swing the music. But George’s saxophone was there throughout the singing to boost her voice and lace it with the straight, pop sound of the saxophone, especially as George has a wonderful tone.

He was the leader of the Ghana Messengers, one of the early highlife bands to exhibit signs of progressiveness. Doubling on tenor and alto saxophones, George was one of the early soloists to introduce the jazz progression to highlife. And he had made some remarkable impact both on the Ghanaian and Nigerian scenes way back in 1959 before he travelled to England where, over the years, he was involved in numerous productions and mind-blowing saxophone sessions. George later moved to South Africa where he died a couple of years ago.

Inspired by the instant success of Love me now Martha came up with Everlasting in 1982 followed by Christmas Africana in 1985. Apart from Christmas Africana, which had a definite message of Christmas, Martha’s lyrical theme was essentially inspired by love – as evidenced by Love me now, the very first album and Everlasting.

The second album did not come on strong rhythmically like the first; it therefore lost something in terms of commercial appeal. But this, and the third, experienced progressive improvement in the area of singing. The concert element was gradually disappearing and gave place to the straight, conventional popular musical approach.

However, the albums all have their different qualities. While Love me now has better commercial appeal, with Christmas Africana crafted in the spirit of Christmas, Everlasting is a rich variety of music from various tribes of Nigeria including folklores from Akwa Ibom, a love theme in English. The album is entirely loaded with powerful lyrics.

“My everlasting love, that’s what you are that’s what you are,” says the opening lines of this title song, which portrays the writer and performer as a woman deeply in love at the time. Progressing further, the lyrical lines say, “the very first time I saw your face, I knew you were the one for me.”
The second tune, which is written in Igbo, is titled Ije Lovu, a song about a woman’s love for her man. She gives him so much but he takes it all for granted. Obuzikwo Lovu – can this be love? She asks.

The third item, another love song, begins like this. “Sometimes I reminisce and wonder why it’s so easy to forget to love.” Titled Love is best, the song appeals to people who do everything but love, to take a little time off those mighty schemes and projects, to give and share a little love.

Forcados you yemo is in Ijaw and it means, ‘Forcados I’m crying’. In this song, a young girl is in tears as she calls on the people of her native Forcados to come to her aid. She has been forced to abandon her young lover to marry an older, wealthy man, a sugar daddy, with whom she can find no happiness.

Side two opens with another of Martha Ulaeto composition also anchored on love. The song begins by saying, “Take my hand and let me be the one to show you just how great love can be.”
Adura mi meaning ‘my prayer’ was written jointly by Martha and Taiwo Ogunade, a renowned musician.

Ndito Isong emana nyi which means ‘children of our land’ is a folklore in Efik. Exhorting the children, the song says that they can “excel and shine like the sun to all parts of the world.” It goes further to appeal to all to love and live in peace so that we can build our homes for the children of our land.”

‘Abasi ulok ulok’, a folk song concludes the session with lyrics and music by singer, composer, song-writer Martha Ulaeto. According to her, the song is sung in her native dialect of Ibeno and the people fondly refer to it as Ibeno Anthem. Says she: “There is hardly a happy (or sad) gathering of Ibeno people without the rendering of this song. In it, they call on the god of their forefathers (Abes Ulok) to be with them, give them happiness and see to their every need.”


Everlasting is essentially predicated on love, a virtue, which the world needs today to live at peace with one another. And because all the songs stand out as distinct melodies; it is also a demonstration of Martha’s inventiveness in terms of structuring melodies. And of course the entire session has marked her out as a prolific lyricist.

Everlasting was recorded in London at Pye and Gerrard studios and mastered at Gerrard studios – in 1982. It was produced jointly by Mike Abiola Philips and Martha Ulaeto herself – with several musicians of note as session men.

Martha’s musical inclination was stimulated by her step-mother who was an organist and pianist in those early days. And as a school girl, she was cast in leading solo parts at the Cornelia Connelly College, Uyo. She joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as an announcer in the early 70s, but her passion for the music profession did not allow her to pursue a career in broadcasting. Consequently, she found time to do solo parts in Dr. Sam Akpabio’s Operatta Cynthia’s Lament in 1971 and Adam Fiberessima’s Magnum Opus, Opu Jaja in 1973.

Working with these two famous Nigerian composers could not but attract public attention to her talents and so she proceeded to the National Conservatory in Athens under a Greek Government Scholarship for advanced musical studies. After her graduation there in 1977, she studied in London under two distinguished teachers, Constance Shacklock and Victoria Ellior. She has performed in many international concerts, prominent among them, the 1985 Africa Rise.

Martha has since stopped recording after her third album, Christmas Africana in 1985. But the three albums she has to her credit constitute enough legacy, especially in terms of contemporary African music. Essentially a concern-oriented musician with a smooth voice, her three albums in the other musical idioms constitute an eloquent testimony to her varied talent.

This adventurous spirit earned her a Solidra Award in Lagos in 1985. Her example should serve to inspire some of the musicologists in our universities who are burying their talents in the debris of seeming academic pursuits. Until they come out like Martha and group, entertainment watchers would continue to see them as being limited in the musical horizon and lethargic in activity.
Their venturing out can only help to revive Nigeria’s sinking music industry.
 


 

Tracklist

A1 Africa Rise
A2 I Pledge To Nigeria
A3 Prayer Of Abuja
A4 War Against Starvation
B1 Absalom
B2 (Naomi) Time Will Conquer
B3 I Pledge To Nigeria (Instrumental)
B4 Africa Rise (Instrumental) 
 

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