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The Ofege Phenomenon

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Cover of Flame of Love, A Musical Dance Drama by Oliver Mbamara written for Broadway and Major Theaters

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FLAME OF LOVE

A MUSICAL 

DANCE DRAMA

By Oliver Mbamara

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The Ofege Phenomenon
The 1970s school boy musical band from
St. Gregory's College, Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Nigeria's most outstanding school boy band of all time !

The Ofege music was largely influenced by the guitar solos of Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Robert Plant, Francis Rossi and the criss-cross rhythms of Osibisa. At home they were influenced by the music of ‘BLO’ (Berkley Jones, Laolu Akins and Mike Odumosu), ‘Monomono’ (led by Joni Haastrup), The funkees and Ofo the Black Company. Just before Ofege, there were a few boy bands in existence. ‘Grotto’ a senior Gregorian band featured Skid Ikemefuna on guitar alongside Martin Amenechi and Soga Benson.

At Igbobi College was ‘IC Rockets’ in which Cornelius Tay (CEO of CT & A) played bass guitar. Other popular Gregorians who were accomplished ‘session men’ and could back any fledging band at the time included Sultan Anibaba, a practising architect and project director with the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Koku Konu (also a UK trained architect, but is somewhere in Nigeria). ‘Sultie & Koku’ were like the legendary hard funk duo ‘George & Louis Johnson of Brothers Johnson’ – both graduates of Bill Preston’s School of Rhythm and Lead Guitar.

Other bands on the circuit were ‘Tirogo’ in which Funmi Onabolu (CEO Bates Cosse) played the keyboards and bass guitar. ‘BAC Foundation’ was a fusion of boys from Gregs, Igbobi College and Methodist Boys High School, Lagos. It had Wale Gomez (Gomie States) on drums, Laku Coker on keyboards, Tunde May on lead guitar and Debo Ajayi on rhythm guitar. Ofege was about Afro-funk. At their gigs...it was funk, funk and more funk! Read all about the oustanding group Ofege in the latest edition of Island News.

Culled from NIGERIA TODAY ONLINE MONDAY, MAY 23, 2004 Tel: 01 791 4196-7  E-mail: info@the-islandnews.com

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