After enduring months of mourning and sorrow, the melodies of the Niger Delta’s highlife music scene have been reborn with the triumphant return of a living legend, Barrister Soja Smooth. Known as the “Paddle of Niger Delta” and celebrated as the “King of Niger Delta highlife music,” his comeback to the stage on October 7, was an unforgettable occasion that left fans captivated.
Barrister Soja Smooth’s musical journey has been a wellspring of joy and inspiration for countless souls across the Niger Delta. His soul-stirring tunes have woven the very fabric of our musical heritage, and his presence on stage is nothing short of magical. Fans had eagerly awaited this day, recognizing it as an experience they would cherish for a lifetime.
In addition to his musical prowess, Barrister Soja Smooth has been a trailblazer in infusing Ijaw ladies into the music scene and elevating them to stardom. In an industry that was once predominantly male-dominated, he has broken barriers by nurturing female talents and providing them with the platform to shine. This visionary approach not only enriched the musical landscape but also empowered Ijaw women to claim their rightful place in the world of music. Barrister Soja Smooth’s influence transcends his captivating melodies; it extends to the empowerment and recognition of women in the highlife music arena.
However, beyond the triumphant return of this musical icon, there was even more to celebrate. The night’s brilliance extended beyond the spotlight on Barrister Soja Smooth to the unveiling of his state-of-the-art musical instrument. This remarkable innovation promises to enhance the highlife experience, merging tradition and technology seamlessly.
The joy of this triumphant return was, nonetheless, bittersweet. The road to this remarkable moment was marred by tragedy. Months earlier, Barrister Smooth Musical Organization band had faced a horrific accident on the Abuja-Lokoja Expressway, claiming the lives of five talented band members. Among them, Ikesima Brown, whose voice resonated with echoes of the late highlife maestro Rex Jim Lawson, now rests in silence, a poignant reminder of the fragile thread that binds life together.
The accident also claimed the lives of Chief Joseph Ekeremieye, Appah A. Appah, Tuku Eniekebi, and Mariam Amadi. These musicians were not just band members; they were the heartbeats behind the highlife melodies that had touched countless hearts.
Barrister Soja Smooth’s return to the stage carries a deep sense of resilience and courage in the face of this tragedy. It stands as a tribute to the enduring spirit of Niger Delta’s highlife music and the indomitable human spirit.
This moment is a testament to the power of music to heal, uplift, and unite. As Barrister Soja Smooth stands once more in the spotlight, he continues to be a symbol of hope and an eternal source of joy for the Niger Delta and beyond.
Barrister Soja Smooth’s expertise in Izon music has taken him far and wide. Born in Orule, Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State, to a military father and a petty trading mother in 1969, his life’s journey has been a tapestry of experiences.
The early years of Barrister Soja Smooth’s life were marked by his family’s military life, which took him to various places in Nigeria. As a young child, he was relocated to Ekpen in Lagos state due to his father’s military postings. In 1978, his family returned to what was then Bendel state, now Delta state, as his father retired from the military. This marked a significant period in his life, as he was only 8 years old at the time.
As he grew up, Barrister Soja Smooth made Warri Corner or Adu Island his home. His educational journey began at Mowoe Primary School when the family moved to Warri’s main town. Unfortunately, he couldn’t continue his education due to financial constraints. Yet, this didn’t deter him from pursuing his passion for music and making a mark in the world of highlife.
The night of his return was filled with anticipation and a profound sense of loss. The tragic accident that claimed his band members’ lives was a somber reminder of the fragility of life and the profound impact that music and musicians have on our lives.
In the face of this tragedy, Barrister Soja Smooth’s return to the stage was a message of resilience and hope. It was a tribute to the enduring spirit of Niger Delta’s highlife music and the indomitable human spirit. His music continues to be a wellspring of inspiration, and his return serves as a testament to the undying spirit of highlife music in the Niger Delta and beyond.
By Jacob Brakere Abai
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