Sunday, 30 April 2017

86th birthday of Chukwuemeka Ike

(Born 28 April 1931, Ndikelionwu, Biafra)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Novelist, university registrar, academic, Africa west region principal pre-college qualifying examination board (WAEC) administrator, one of the leading intellectuals in defence of the people during the Igbo genocide, phases I-III, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, carried out by Britain and its Nigeria client state during which 3.1 million Igbo or 25 per cent of this nation’s population are murdered in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa; Anglo-Nigeria launches phase-IV of the genocide on 13 January 1970 and this has continued unabated with tens of thousands of additional Igbo murdered; Igbo genocide is the longest, most gruesome, and most ruthless genocide in contemporary history
(New York Art Quartet plays “Mohawk”, a composition by Charlie Parker [personnel:  John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Roswell Rudd, trombone; Reggie Workman, bass; Milford Graves, drums; recorded: Nippon Phonogram, New York, US, 16 July 1965]) 

81st birthday of John Tchicai

(Born 28 April 1936, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Ingenious alto (and tenor) saxophonist, composer, bandleader, one of the most outstandingly ethereal soloists in the repertoire
(The New York Contemporary Five plays Bill Dixon’s composition, “Trio” – [personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet;  Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums [recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963][note particularly Tchicai’s ethereal solo - first - at this session])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 29 April 2017

118th birthday of Duke Ellington

(Born 29 April 1899, Washington, DC, United States)
Pianist and bandleader and one of the preeminent composers of the 20th century
(1. Two masters at work: Duke Ellington & John Coltrane, “Take the Coltrane) [personnel: Ellington, piano; Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Stdudios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 26 September 1962)]) 
(2. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio“Fleurette Africaine” {“African flower”} [personnel: Ellington, piano; Charles Mingus, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Sound Makers Studios, (New York, US, 17 September 1962)])
(3. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio, “Warm valley” [personnel: Ellington, piano; Mingus, bass; Roach, drums; recording and other details as in“2”  above])
(4. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio, “Money jungle” [personnel: Ellington, piano; Mingus, bass; Roach, drums; recording and other details as in “2” above])
 Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally

(Nnamdi Kanu: ... leader of Indigenous People of Biafra and freedom broadcaster, Radio Biafra ... must be released unconditionally)
NEWS REPORTS from Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday 25 April 2017, and filed by Ikechukwu Nnochiri, state that Nnamdi Kanu has been  “granted bail” by a gulag court facility sitting in Abuja, genocidist Nigeria. Nnamdi Kanu and several other Biafrans of the resolute freedom movement have been detained illegally by the Muhammadu Buhari genocidist regime since October 2015 and must all be released unconditionally at once. They must all walk away free – free to Biafra.
(Sonny Rollins Trio, “The freedom suite” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 7 March 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

100th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald

(Born 25 April 1917, Newport News, Virginia, US)
Celebrated vocalist with a phenomenal vocal range and an illustrious recording career spanning six decades
(Ella Fitzgerald and the Tee Carson Trio, “Summertime” [personnel: Fitzgerald, vocals; Carson, piano; Ketter Betts, bass; Joe Harris, drums; recorded: live, Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany, 11 February 1968])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 24 April 2017

France: Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron advance to second and final round of presidential poll. There isn’t a more opportune time for African peoples to embark on an Africa “francophonie”-exit

 (Marine Le Pen, front national)
(Emmanuel Macron, en marche!)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe 

(Charles de Gaulle, [Brazzaville, 1944]: “Self-government [restoration-of-African-independence] must be rejected – even in the more distant future)

(François Mitterand [Paris, 1998]: “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century”)

(Jacques Chirac: [Paris, 2008] “[W]ithout Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third [world] power”)

(Jacques Godfrain, head of French foreign ministry: [Paris, 1998] “A little country, with a small amount of strength, we can move a planet because [of our] … relations with 15 or 20 African countries)

For the first time since the 1958 founding of the French 5th republic by Charles de Gaulle, two supposedly outside politicians not from the alternate “right” (spectrum of Gaullist republicans) and “left” (socialists) parties of the country’s political establishment have won the stipulated first round of the French presidential election. Marine Le Pen of the front national and Emmanuel Macron of the en marche! (not totally an “outsider”, having been economy minister in the outgoing, unpopular Hollande government, quitting in August 2016 to form his so-called centrist movement) will now go on to contest for the decisive second round in a fortnight.


Despite the tenor of the epigraphs (above) that illustrate, definitively, the role of Africa in France and French life, Africa hardly features as a substantive subject in French elections, not least yesterday’s. Apart from the course and consequences of non-EU immigration in the country and tangentially islamist terrorism which is viewed more as one in a range of manifestations of the aftermath of its history with the Middle East/islamist world, French politicians, irrespective of ideological/political leanings do not find France’s relationship with Africa any contentious. Whatever may be differences in the “vision” of the future of France between Le Pen and Marcon, for instance, in the wake of the tumultuous “anti”-establishment aftermath of yesterday’s poll, both accept the salient formulations encapsulated in each of the epigraphs on Africa and France, beginning with the founder of their 5th republic, a right-wing politician, and including that of the respected socialist Mitterrand. 

Equally, the duo Nicholas Sarkozy (“right”) and François Hollande (“left”) illustrate this trend. Even though Sarkozy belongs to the so-called establishment right, his thinking on Africa (see, for instance, in the link below, his infamous Dakar, Sénégal, address to students, academics, state officials, and specially invited members of the public at the Cheikh Anta Diop University, 2007) is more gratuitously racist and dehumanising than anything Le Pen or indeed Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father, founder of front national, both members of the “non-establishment right”, have said or written on this very subject.

WHAT IS PRECISELY at stake here, for the French state, is that incorporated in the provisions of the 1958 5th republic conceptualisation, following the humiliating defeat and collapse of its “French Indo-China” in 1954, its agelong French-occupied African states and peoples, a total of 22 countries, become effectively la terres richessewealthlands, to serve France and the French in perpetuity.


This is why the French have such a supercilious antagonism to any conceivable notion of African restoration-of-independence and sovereignty (“Francophonie Africa works!”, This is the background to Gary Busch’s excellent study in which these countries which France still controls, occupies, calls “francophonie”,  “deposit the equivalent of 85% of their annual reserves in [dedicated Paris] accounts as a matter of post-[conquest] agreements and have never been given an accounting on how much the French are holding on their behalf, in what these funds been invested, and what profit or loss there have been” (see link above).

This is why the French military has invaded this African enclave 53 times since 1960 (see link above). Such invasions provide the French the opportunity to directly manipulate local political trends in line with their strategic objectives, install new client regimes, if need be, and expand the parameters of expropriation of critical resources even further as unabashedly vocalised by many a sitting president in Paris wishes. For the French president and policy to “francophonie” Africa, from de Gaulle in 1958 to Hollande in 2017, all members of the French establishment, the operationaling plaque for action in the Elysée palace has been: invade, intimidate, manipulate, install, antagonise, ingratiate, indemnify, expropriate, invade, intimidate...

THIS PLAQUE awaits either Le Pen or Macron, “non-members of the French establishment, to implement as usual as it has been in the past 59 years, irrespective of which of them wins the 7 May second election presidential poll. Except, of course, African peoples in the 22 states bring this staggering expropriation and indescribable servitude to a screeching halt.

“Francophonie”-exit: freedom

The first move of the Africa “francophonie”-exit from this debilitating conundrum couldn’t be more predictable: do not transfer your hard-earned revenues, the “85 per cent”, not one euro, to that dedicated Paris bank account. This transfer must stop at once, now. One mustn’t ever be a party to their own subjugation. The African publics in Bujumbura, Yamoussoukro, Dakar, Bamako, Ouagadougou, Ndjamena, Buea, Douala, Brazzaville, Kinshasa, St Louis, Bangui, Lome, Younde, Cotonou, Abidjan, Touba... should at once embark on consultations with their varying state officials to work out the parameters of implementing this great freedom movement and other interlocking features in each and every space of this occupied hemisphere. “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” must surely be for all…
(Andrew Hill Sextet, “Refuge” [personnel: Hill, piano; Kenny Dorham, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone; Richard Davis, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 21 March 1964])

80th birthday of Joe Henderson

(Born 24 April 1937, Lima, Ohio, US)
Prodigiously influential tenor saxophonist, one of the leading lights of the instrument in the jazz repertoire underscored so classically with his The State of the Tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard, Vols. I & II (1985)
(Joe Henderson Trio, “Beatrice” [personnel: Henderson, tenor saxophone; Ron Crter, bass; Al Foster, drums; recorded: live, Village Vanguard, New York, US, 14-16 November 1985])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

89th birthday of Johnny Griffin

(Born 24 April 1928, Chicago, US)
Very distinguished tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader
(Thelonious Monk Quartet, “In walked Bud” [personnel: Monk, piano; Griffin, tenor saxophone; Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded: live, Five Spot Café, New York, US, 7 August 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 22 April 2017

95th birthday of Charles Mingus

(Born 22 April 1922, Nogales, Arizona, USoutstanding bassist, composer and bandleader whose music encapsulates all the critical junctures of jazz history and his Jazz Workshop a landmark conservatoire of an age)
IN SEPTEMBER 1996, I published an essay on the work of Charles Mingus in the African Peoples Review (Vol. V, No. 3, September-December 1996, p. 22) entitled “Wednesday night prayer meeting” under the signature of Nnamdi Nzegwu. The essay is reissued here (below), in the original, in commemoration of the iconic bassist/composer’s 95th birthday: 

*****It is no mean achievement that Charles Mingus’s music encapsulates all the critical junctures of jazz. His work with the pioneering geniuses of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton and Art Tatum in New York of the early 1950s gives Mingus the compositional and arranging insights that would soon be the bassist’s forte.

Few jazz scholars would now disagree that the success of that much discussed May 1953 concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall featuring the Parker Quintet (Parker, alto; Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet; Bud Powell, piano; Mingus, bass; Max Roach, drums) is not just a Parkerian triumph but equally that of the iconoclastic bassist from Los Angeles.

Beginning with Mingus, the bass ceases to be merely an “accompanying” time-keeping, harmonic instrument in jazz. It still has to contend with “time-keeping”, but it has entered into the interplay as a polyphonic participant. The work of subsequent bassists particularly Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Jimmy Garrison, Scott La Faro, Gary Peacock, Eddie Khan, Charles Haden and Dave Holland attest to this Mingusian redesignation

In 1954, Mingus launched his Jazz Workshop experimentation which was to emphasise more of “group” or “collective” improvisation in jazz, away from what was then increasingly becoming the tedious and formularised “theme-solo-theme” structures of the bebop revolution that had been launched in the 1940s by the Parker-Gillespie-Thelonious Monk troika. As a critic once observed, it was not that Mingus was “avoiding Bebop, he straddled it”. He still had to absorb the great jazz heritage to move the music forward to wrestle with the new possibilities.

Creativity and rehearsals and creativity

It is therefore the case of Mingus trying to return jazz to the “group feeling” of those years of its early development in the closing decades of the 1800s. The soloist still has a great deal of space in Mingus’s thinking but their musical concepts has to develop in anticipation and in response to the polyphony of collective interaction; there are now multisided and multiple centres of creativity soon after that infectious bass intro! The act of creativity is no longer dependent on some space and time limitation. The workshops could not distinguish between rehearsals, for instance, and real performances! Creativity during rehearsals becomes rehearsals of creativity occurring at bandstands with or without an audience (for the latter, listen to the ethereal 1962 album Mingus Presents Mingus, featuring multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy). The music is always in a state of flux: evolving, developing, maturing, breaking up, only to form the nucleus of another centre of activity, itself interacting with other centres of the medley.

WITH THE CLASSIC Pithecanthropus Erectus album (1956), Mingus gives notice to this sense of continuous creativity – after all, this composition is his portrait of the formulaic development of a cataclysmic human form and the (predictable?) resultant chaos that this produces in the world by the end of the 20th century. Using distinct but unusual forms of squeals, grunts, duets and harmony, the composition exacts a coherent understanding of this tragic travelogue that a 1996 earth inhabitant would perhaps be familiar with (exhaustion/appropriation/destruction of the world’s limited resources, rupture of the ozone layer) than their counterpart 40 years before. The impassioned crystalline-striking lyricism of altoist Jackie McLean, the Rollinsesque rebuttals of tenorist J R Monterose and the plodding, haunting echoes of pianist Mal Waldron strokes keep the narrative of the age on course and there is relief, at the final movement, when the pulverising destroyer falls, is destroyed.

In Blues and Roots album that follows suit, Mingus pays homage to the sacred music of his roots. The rhythmic tension at play by soloists McLean, Booker Ervin (tenor), John Handy (alto) and Jimmy Knepper (trombone) over such compositions as “Tensions”, “Moanin’”, “Cryin’ Blues” and “E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too” always calls for new insights, ever more challenging interpretations on replays. “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” is predictably such a joy and by the time this composition is confronted yet again by a new Mingus personnel line up live in Antibes, Juan-Les-Pins (France) in 1960, detailing Mingus (bass and piano), Ted Curson (trumpet), Dolphy (alto), Ervin (tenor) and Dannie Richmond (drums), it has become the launching pad for intuitive flights and virtuosity.


Mingus’s vivid commentaries on contemporary American life and worldwide developments are prolific. These samples range from ballads (“Sue’s Changes”, “1 X-Love”, “Bemoanable Lady”, “Celia”) to the very humorous (“Eat that Chicken”, “Hog Callin Blues”, “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am”, “Old’ Blues for Walt’s Torin”, “My Jelly Roll Soul”), sentimental/sensuous (“Portrait of Jackie”, “Love Chant”, “Orange was the Color of her Dress, then Blue Silk”, “Peggy’s Blue Skylight”) to outright, politically serious (“Pithecanthropus Erectus”, “Ecclusiastics”, “Passions of a Man”, “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting”,“Letter to Duke”, “MDM – Monk, Duke, Mingus”, “Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me”, “Meditations on Integration”, “All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother”, “Fables of Faubus”, “Haitian Fight Song”, “Weird Nightmare”, “So Long Eric”) and dirge – “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, Mingus’s salute to tenorist Lester Young, and of course Epitaph, his 127-minute long composition which was performed posthumously by a 30-piece orchestra at the New York’s Lincoln Center in 1989.

NEARLY A DECADE before critics would use the term “free jazz” to describe the music of revolutionaries such as Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, etc., etc., the Mingus workshops were already redefining and laying the foundation of new points of departure for jazz. Names of workshops’ alumni read like the priority core zone of the restless and most adventurous innovators of the jazz directory of the era: drummers Willie Jones and Dannie Richmond; trumpeters Clarence Shaw, Richard Williams, Ted Curson and Johnny Coles; altoists Jackie McLean, Charlie Mariano, John Handy, Eric Dolphy (also flute and bass clarinet virtuoso), Charles McPherson; tenorists Teo Marcero, J R Monterose, Roland Kirk, Booker Ervin and Clifford Jordan; trombonist Jimmy Knepper; pianists Mal Waldron, Jaki Byard, Horace Parlan, Roland Hanna.
(Charles Mingus Sextet – with Eric Dolphy, Cornell University 1964, “Meditations” [personnel: Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Dolphy, flute, bass clarinet; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: live, Cornell University, 18 March 1964]) 

82nd birthday of Paul Chambers

(Born 22 May 1935, Pittsburgh, US)
VIRTUOSIC bassist, composer, member of Miles Davis First Great Quintet/Sextet (1955-1963) and subject of salutary, standard compositions by varying artistic colleagues: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, “Mr P.C.”; tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, “Paul’s Pal”; pianist Tommy Flanagan, “Big Paul”; pianist Red Garland, “Mr P. C. Blues”; drummer Max Roach, “Five for Paul”
(John Coltrane Quartet featuring Paul Chambers“Walkin’” and “The theme” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophone, Wynton Kelly, piano; Chambers, bass; Jimmy Cobb, drums; recorded: live, German television, Düsseldorf, Germany, 28 March 1960])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

April is genocide awareness and prevention month: The sardauna, Igbo genocide, Biafra freedom movement

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

IGBO TENACITY, resilience,  and relentless optimism to pursue and terminate the British conquest and occupation of their homeland and embark on a societal reconstruction and transformational aftermath are acutely an affront to both the sardauna of Sokoto (northwest Nigeria) and British occupation sensibilities in Nigeria. This is particularly evident during the 1930s-1960s epoch when Igbo people spearhead the termination of the British occupation of the states and peoples of southwestcentral Africa.

The sardauna interview (video below) must have been recorded in the late 1950s/early 1960s – definitely after both the 1945 and 1953 north Nigeria-organised pogroms against Igbo immigrant populations in Jos and Kano respectively. Hundreds of Igbo were murdered during the pogroms and tens of thousands of pounds sterling worth of their property were looted/destroyed at the time. Each pogrom was carried out because of the Igbo vanguard role in the restoration-of-independence movement to free Nigeria from the British conquest and occupation, begun in the mid-1930s. North Nigeria’s sociopolitical leaderships, effectively British regional clients, were opposed to the restoration of African freedom. No other leadership across the entire Southern World (Africa, Asia, the Caribbean/South America) has such an unenviable record during this unprecedented epoch of transglobal freedom charge. 

Invading Fulani and British armies and aftermaths

North Nigeria leaderships, indeed, were disposed to the continuing British occupation of Nigeria. These Fulani islamist-Arabo-“Africans”, originating from the Fouta Djallon highlands in northwestcentral Africa, had, at the turn of the 19th century, embarked on the grand-scale invasion of the stretches of states and peoples to the east of this Sahelian African region (largely contemporary north/northcentral Nigeria) with its conquering army ultimately “converging” with Britain’s own, separate invading force at the time (and France’s to the Fulani’s west and north/northeast operational flanks on the ground). It is the meeting of these two invading armies – the British, from Europe, and the Fulani, from northwestcentral Africa – and the rationalisation of their dual long-term strategic goals of the conquest and occupation of these prized African states and peoples (what emerged as conquered Nigeria) that is key, central, in our understanding of the inner workings of the British-Hausa Fulani islamist/Arabo north Nigeria relations today, 2017, 200 years after. 

SOME SCHOLARS in the past have tended to ignore the epochal catastrophic consequences of this Fulani invasion on Africa subsequently as if the cataclysmic outcome wrought by an invader “originating from Africa” rather than from outside the continent (Europe, Asia, the Americas...) is somehow “more tolerable”, less of historical ruinous significance. On the contrary. Following this Anglo-Fulani 19th century accord, the sardauna, Ahmadu Bello, himself the great grandson of Usman dan Fodio, the head of Fulani invasion force, is adamant, less than a forthnight after Britain’s presumed departure from Nigeria of precisely what “post”-(British)conquest Nigeria presents for the Fulani: Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North [region] as willing tools, and the South [region] as conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future” (The Parrot, 12 October 1960, quoted in Remi Oyeyemi“The Northern Agenda”, NigeriaWorld, 24 October 2002). This is the context, not unpredictable as the video below demonstrates, that the sardauna is again adamant that as leader of north Nigeria he would rather offer his British interviewer an appointment in his region (“an expatriate like yourself, as the sardauna puts it in the interview), than to an Igbo or any other (Nigerian) nationals from south Nigeria.

It is therefore not in the least surprising that, in year 2015, 55 years after the essentially bogus sovereignty that Nigeria exercises, this “country’s current head of regime, a genocidist and putschist operative, is imposed on the peoples, thanks to a raft of machinations in which Britain (this time under the premiership of David Cameron), in keeping with its Anglo-Fulani early 19th century accord/pact, plays a critical role.

Enslaved spaces and 20th/21st centuries replicas

Earlier, we must stress, it was as result of this Anglo/Fulani accord that the British occupation regime did not apprehend or prosecute anyone in north Nigeria for either the 1945 or 1953 north leadership-planned Igbo pogroms and the outrages became the “dress rehearsals” for the 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 Igbo genocide when the Nigeria state (as a wholeinvolving other constituent nations including the Yoruba, the Edo and Urhobo of the west region) with full Britain involvement, and others, murdered 3.1 million Igbo or 25 per cent of this nation’s population domiciled in Nigeria and in their Biafra homeland. Britain, nor in fact any of the other pan-European conquerors of Africa (France, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Germany), did not create a Nigeria, or whatever bogus names these “Berlin states” in Africa are called, as precursor for African emancipation. On the contrary, the Nigerias of Africa are more of replicas of the enslaved plantations of the Americas (in the previous epoch of nearly 400 years) to perpetuate European World control and exploitation of Africa and Africans in perpetuity.

The enslaved Igbo encountered this with unrelenting courage and defiance in the enslaved estates in the Americas (north, south and the Caribbean), as history shows, and wouldn’t have it either at home! Evidently, the sardauna interview should be part of History/Politics 101 course on Africa because it does tell one, in a nutshell, the “fate” of the Igbo in Nigeria that north Nigeria, with firm support of Britain, had, carefully, contrived right back in the 1950s. Except the Igbo people had signed up for a concerted suicide, they definitely coudn’t see their destiny emplaced in this space of certain death and immiseration.

Neither race nor geography is “primary”

This has been the cardinal lesson of the Igbo genocide. Thankfully, some Igbo who were still not sure of the long term implications of the continuing Nigerian occupation of their homeland (since 13 January 1970) have had a baptism of enlightenment since the video of the sardauna interview was released! Suddenly, historical records become opportunities for rare streams of conscientisation... Alas, neither the British nor the Fulani invasions should ever have been categorised tactically as  “primary” and the other  “secondary” by the Igbo resistance or any of the other African nations and states attacked during the course of this devastating history. Each invasion aftermath, Fulani, British,  has been equally gruesome and calamitous; surely, the aftermath of the invasion and occupation of a people is not necessarily dictated by the geographical nor racial origin of the invading agency...
(...passage of mass murder and tribulation foretold...)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 17 April 2017

96th birthday of Chike Obi

(Born 17 April 1921, Onicha, Biafra)
First mathematics doctorate in Biafra/southwestcentral Africa, rigorous academic and public intellectual, aptly described by theoretical physicist Alexander Obiefoka Animalu as the “foremost African mathematical genius of the 20th century”
(John Coltrane Quartet,  “Equinox” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophoneMcCoy Tyner, piano; Steve Davis, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Atlantic Studios, New York, US, 26 October 1960])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

88th birthday of Mariama Bâ

(Born 17 April 1929, Dakar, Sénégal)
Novelist and influential intellectual, author of the seminal So Long a Letter (1981)
(Alice Coltrane Trio, “I want to see you” [personnel: Coltrane, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Rashied Ali, drums; recorded: Coltrane home studio, Dix Hills, New York, US, 6 June 1968]) 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

87th birthday of Richard Davis

(Born 15 April 1930, Chicago, US)
Percipient bassist and academic, enjoys an expansive recording portfolio as leader and with other artists including, pointedly, collaborative work with multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy on the latter’s Out to Lunch (1964) and Iron Man (1963) and the duo’s classic interpretation of “Alone Together” (1963)
(Eric Dolphy Duo, “Alone together” [personnel: Dolphy, bass clarinet; Davis, double bass; recorded: Fuel Records, New York, US, {May?June?July?} 1963])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 14 April 2017

FWD: Amnesty International demands end to rights’ violation against pro-Biafra activists, The Guardian, Lagos, Friday 14 April 2017

(Biafra freedom movement: ... determination, resilience, restoration, transformation...)
Bertram Nwannekanma, The Guardian, Lagos, Friday 14 April 2017 [published unedited from original]

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL  (AI) has called for an immediate end to human rights’ violation against the pro-Biafra activists in Nigeria. The group made the call in a letter by Evelin de Leliwa from its Germany office to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. The Guardian obtained a copy of the letter dated March 20, 2017 yesterday.

It also called for an investigation into the alleged killings and disappearances of members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and their supporters in several incidents.

The letter urged the Federal Government to release all IPOB members and their supporters who are currently being detained in the country without trial. He also urged Dogara to announce an end to the deployment of the military in peaceful assemblies in the country.

The group called for the full payment of reparation to all those who have suffered human rights violation as a direct result of the security forces’ operations in the southeast and south south regions of the country.

The AI disclosed that at least, 150 pro-Biafra protesters were killed during the Biafra Remembrance Day in the southeast, during which the security forces, led by the military, embarked on a campaign of extrajudicial executions and violence.

According to the group, the analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eyewitness testimonies relating to the demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016, showed that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse the crowds.

The group further stated that it found evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by the security forces, including at least, 60 people who were shot dead within two days in connection with the remembrance.

It said: “Since August 2015, there had been a series of protests marches and gatherings by members and supporters of IPOB, who are seeking the creation of a Biafran state.

According to the group, the tensions increased when the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on October 14, 2015 and had since remained in detention. “The largest number of pro-Biafra activists were killed on May 30, 2016 when an estimated 1,000 IPOD members and supporters had gathered for a rally in Onitsha, Anambra State.

“The security forces raided some homes and a church where the IPOB members were sleeping in the night before the rally on May 2016 and also shot people in several locations.”

The group alleged that the inspector general of police had failed to act, despite sharing its key findings with the minister of justice and attorney general, chief of defence staff, chief of army staff, ministries of interior, foreign affairs and the department of state services.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 13 April 2017

95th birthday of Julius Nyerere

(Born 13 April 1922, Butiama, Tanzania)
Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe


Head of the Tanganyika African National Union, beginning 1954, which spearheads the restoration-of-independence movement in Tanzania that successfully frees the country in 1961 from 80 years of dual German and British conquests and occupations...

Southern Africa/Biafra freedom

President of the freed Tanzania republic, October 1964-November 1985, provides rearguard bases for education, medical care  and military training (in Tanzania) for numerous southern African restoration-of-independence movements especially from Mozambique,  Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa (1960s-1990s) – focussing on the latter, South Africa, students and scholars of this conjunctural epoch of African history, 30-40 years ago, watch, presently, usually incredulously as one can imagine, as hundreds of African émigrés in South Africa from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and elsewhere from Africa are murdered in premeditated campaigns clearly organised by groupings in the country with tacit and at times active support from personnages within the South Africa state and émigrés’ residents and businesses destroyed and thousands of survivors sent into horrid South Africa refugee camps or forced to return to their various countries; one of the very few leaders in Africa who unequivocally condemns the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, during which Britain and client state Nigeria murder 3.1 million Igbo people, 25 per cent of this nation’s population, in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, supports the Biafra freedom movement.

East Africa

Finally, Mwalimu plays a key role in the 1978 termination of the Idi Amin Dada (who had earlier on in the 1950s/60s served the British military across the border in Kenya in savage expansive operations to suppress the Mau Mau freedom movement) murderous islamist military junta in neighbouring Uganda which the British government in January 1971, under Prime Minister Edward Heath, participated centrally in installing to power principally over Uganda’s democratically elected government Milton Obote’s principled opposition to the Heath administration’s impending arms sales to the European-minority occupation regime in South Africa, expressly contrary to the existing UN comprehensive arms embargo on the regime to which British is a signatory – another consequence on rest of Africa of these “close encounters” with this country South Africa manifesting so dramatically (and brutally) yet again...
(George Russell Sextet, “Honesty” [personnel: Russell, piano; Don Ellis, trumpet; Dave Baker, trombone; Eric Dolphy, alto saxophone; Steve Swallow, bass; Joe Hunt, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 8 May 1961])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

77th birthday of Herbie Hancock

(Born 12 April 1940, Chicago, US)
CHILD PRODIGY, very distinguished pianist, composer and bandleader, member of the Miles Davis Second Great Quintet of the 1960s (full personnel: Davis, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums), academic (Thelonious Monk Institute/Herb Alpert School of Music, University of California Los Angeles)
(Herbie Hancock Quintet, “The eye of the hurricane” [personnel: Hancock, piano; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; George Coleman, tenor saxophone; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewoods Cliffs, NJ, US, 17 March 1965])
(Miles Davis Quintet, “All blues” [personnel: Davis, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Hancock, piano;  Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: live, Teatro dell’Arte, Milan, Italy, 11 October 1964])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Biafra – finalising the orchestration of the victory symphony

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

FEW NOW FAIL to observe the unassailable ascent of the Biafra freedom movement. The convulsive desperation being exhibited by the British chief representative to genocidist Nigeria presently in speech after speech in this “country” of Britain’s denouncing Igbo/other African peoples’ rights to self-determination speaks volumes of British acknowledgement, however belated, 51 years later, that neither it nor its client co-genocidist state Nigeria can stop the triumph of Biafra freedom. No one else can. The Igbo are gone! Gone! Free!

Some would probably argue that the chief representative’s rantings, condemning African peoples’ inalienable rights to freedom whilst on the ground in the “foreign land” of their posting as a “diplomat”, is “not diplomatic”. This representative would retort, and correctly so, that their position in Nigeria is far beyond that of the “conventional diplomat” but that of a proconsul – from suzerain state Britain.

“Driving seats” of freedom

Two major unfolding events in Britain itself and the perceived, related consequences that these could have on the politics of the ongoing Igbo genocide waged by both Britain and Nigeria account for this proconsul’s unrestrained utterances on African freedom and feeling of bitterness: (1) Scotland’s (nation and state positioned at north region of Britain) quest for restoration-of-independence from Britain after 310 years of union and (2) British departure from the European Union after 44 years of union. Both “unions”, it must be stressed, were consummated because of the voluntary wish or disposition of each of the constituent members/parties. As I have shown elsewhere (
scots-rights-for-igbo.html), Scotland is a very unlikely candidate to wish to leave the British Union given the exponential benefits that it has derived from the association for three centuries but the Scots insist that they want to exercise their inalienable right to freedom, a right recognised by the United Nations as a right for all peoples. Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister couldn’t be clearer on this goal of the Scottish mission: “Our dream is for Scotland to become independent … To be in the driving seat of our own destiny, to shape our own future”. In her own 29 May 2017 letter to EU President Donald Tusk formally triggering British exit from the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May unequivocally strikes the chord of freedom: “[we are leaving the EU] to restore our self-determination”.

Both Sturgeon and May declarations on freedom are at the core of the historic Igbo freedom resolve made on 29 May 1966, 51 years ago, to exit from the British-created Nigeria conquest-“federation” in response to the Anglo-Nigeria launch of the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European conquest) Africa. Both genocidist states’ collaborators murdered 3.1 million Igbo people, 25 per cent of this nation’s population, during phases I-III of the genocide (29 May 1966-12 January 1970) and have subsequently murdered tens of thousands of additional Igbo during phase-IV of the crime which continues to this day.

In the wake of Brexit and the Scots’ restoration-of-independence drive, such high-profile and most unprecedented manifestations of freedom for the peoples not seen recently within Britain, the British government has no confidence at all that its clients in Nigeria can adequately articulate the seeming complexity of explaining to African peoples in Nigeria why their “country” should be waging a 50-year-old genocide against Igbo people, an African people, for demanding to be free to be in the “driving seat of [their] destiny, to shape [their] own future”, “to restore [their] self-determination”, just as the Scots and the other constituent peoples in contemporary Britain so wish. That task of explaining has been assigned to its chief representative in Nigeria and the outcome is the staggering racist vituperation covered in the media in Nigeria. Reading through the vitriol, it appears that the proconsul is not only actively waging this phase of the Igbo genocide but is also confronting the Igbo all over again in the enslaved estates of Virginia, the Carolinas and elsewhere in southern United States and in Jamaica and Saint Domingue of the Caribbean after not too many centuries since... The hostility to African freedom can indeed be devastating to the psyche of its assailant(s)…

British chief representatives in genocidist Nigeria as proconsul did not, of course, emerge with the recent dramatic developments of Scottish freedom and Brexit. Nigeria, it cannot be exaggerated, belongs to Britain; Nigeria is Britain’s (for a more expansive range of discourse on this theme, see Herbert Ekwe-
Ekwe“Igbo genocide, Britain and the United States”, http://re- from the outset, beginning of the Igbo genocide in May 1966, the resident British chief representative, Francis Cumming-Bruce, was proconsul liaising unabashedly with Yakubu Gowon and other Nigerian military and civilian genocidist operatives who were on their premeditated goal raging and murdering any and all Igbo in their sights. During phase-III of the genocide (6 July 1967-12 January 1970), some ex-British conquest administrators/officials who had worked in Nigeria and were back home were often tagged as more “coherent spokespersons” who “rationalised” the genocide than the official Nigerian genocidist spokespersons especially Tony Enaharo, Alison Ayida, Murtala MohammedObafemi Awolowo. The British Broadcasting Corporation, particularly its World Service channel, was nothing short of being the external radio station for the prosecuting Nigeria genocidist junta in Lagos. This service was much more robust in its “rationalisation” of the genocide (“one Nigeria”, “territorial integrity”, “inviolability of colonial-set frontiers”, “indissolubility of colonial-set borders”, “rebels”, “unacceptable precedence for rest of Africa”, “secessionist!”, “secessionist!”, “secessionist!”…) than the rambling, ramshackle Voice of Nigeria. We should note that neither the BBC nor any major broadcaster, news agency, webcaster and the like in the European World/West would dare use any or a variation of the epithets in the parenthesis above employed to demonise Igbo freedom in commentaries/discussion on the Scottish freedom movement or those of the English, Welsh or Irish peoples of the British Isles currently on course.

Biafra mission

Biafrans have an opportunity to begin to build a new civilisation where human life, fundamentally, is sacrosanct. This salient feature cannot be overstressed. Nigeria has been, for the Igbo, a haematophagous quagmire throughout its history. Those writing the scores of the Biafra freedom symphony are aware of this. The Biafran freedom mission is therefore not to begin to construct a state that is merely post-genocide or post post-conquest/post post-“colonial” state of Africa – in other words, cancelling out here and there, in some mechanical venture, that which was Nigeria, arguably “Berlin-state” Africa’s most notorious state.  Instead, Biafra is a realisation, a profound reclamation of that which makes us all human and part of humanity. Biafra is a beacon of the tenacity of the spirit of human overcoming of the most desperate, unimaginable brutish forces. Biafra is a haven of creativity, humanism, and progress, in the wake of the gruesome Igbo genocide.
(Alice Coltrane Quartet, “Lord, help me to be” [personnel: Coltrane, piano; Pharoah Sanders, tenor saxophone;  Jimmy Garrison, bass; Ben Riley, drums; recorded: Coltrane home studio, Dix Hills, New York, US, 29 January 1968])