In an ever changing industry like that of the Nigerian music industry, not many can attain the status of a legend, let alone those who made waves in the extant time to be tenaciously remembered as such. But, our living legend and Idoma’s old songbird, Bongos Ikwue, is not only still being reverenced but his voice has also not lost its melody nor weathered.
When I was a kid, my parents used to regale me with tales of Bongos Ikwue’s live performances and concerts. Like most millennial, I didn’t have the opportunity of experiencing Bongos’ reigning years as a musician and performer. But I was privileged enough to listen to his evergreen awed inspiring and minds blowing records, through my father’s home theater sound system, while growing up.
I remember as a child, how I used to mumbled his songs: ”What’s Gonna Be’s Gonna Be,…”, ”Otachikpokpo”, “You Can’t Hurry the Sunrise”, ”Still Searching”, etc. So many years later, and the songs are still lips smacking.
Those who were fortunate enough to follow music in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s when Bongos Ikwue held sway, would attest to the authenticity and artistry of the Benue darling songbird. Even old school movie freaks would forever be grateful to Bongos for “Cock Crow At Dawn”; the eponymous soundtrack of the 80’s series. Oldies who found love in the late 70’s and 80’s, would remember with a nostalgia the smooth-sailing lyrics of Bongos Ikwue’s folkish love song, “Ihotu”.
The phenomenon known as Bongos Ikwue, like Idibia Ojabo aptly noted in his (Bongos’) biography “BONGOS IKWUE SONGS HE LIKES TO SING”, is “singularly significant and unprecedented as to virtually defy comparison. …
“The music he plays sound like Bongos Ikwue music only. There were/are no comparable musical entities. With the swinging sixties Bongos gifted with a voice of great flexibility, range and sweetness, tonal accuracy and precise diction skilfully sang broad range of material from Jazz, Rock, Funk, Soul and folklore with dreamy sound and poetic quality.”
On Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the heaven smiled on our generation. The living legend came out from retirement and delivered a one-in-a-generation kind of collaboration with another music legend and kinsman, Innocent Ujah Idibia, popularly called 2Baba (formerly known as 2Face).
The collabo dubbed “Searching” is a sublime rendition of Bongos’ popular classic song ‘Still Searching’. What is unique and outstanding about this one is the perfect blend of folk music with cotemporary music which produced an irresistible orgasmic sound with a touch of nostalgia. Bongos Ikwue’s voice stands out like the fine wine that keep getting better with time. And 2Baba’s voice is like the music of a pristine songbird sweetened in the honey of the morning dew.
Apart from the sweet melody of the song, the lyrics and production are topnotch.
The song tells the story of a wondrous optimistic lover who wonders from place to place, searching for true love.
Bongos opened the song: “Men I’ve been searching for… for true love, Gotta keep right on searching till I find. Nothing good comes easy, this I know. Gotta keep right on searching till I find.”
Still on the same theme of adventurous search for true love, 2Baba coos: “I’ve been searching for a woman wey go make all these nonsense start to make sense.
“I’ve been searching all kind of places, sample many ladies from different places.”
The song is also an embodiment of home pride; 2Baba gave shutouts to Idoma girls, and two popular Idoma towns in Benue, viz Utonkon and Igumale, all in Ado local government of Benue, where the video was partly shot.
Part of the song says; “Omo, I no fit halla, I no fit shout.
That Idoma girl she too get mouth.
All her girlfriends dem dey use her for clout.
Gentlemen she dey turn them to touts.”
The home pride in the song was also reflected in the visual of the song which was partly shot in the Idoma metropolitan capital city, Otukpo in Benue State. The vixens also donned the Idoma cultural atire.
In sum, the song is melodious, catchy, nostalgic and all embracing.
This is Bongos Ikwue’s latest effort since releasing his widely acclaimed 2013 album “WULU WULU”, which housed the standout track, “Inale”; the eponymous soundtrack of the 2010 Nollywood blockbuster musical.
He has about eleven bestselling albums and dozens of hit songs to his credit.
(Sunny Green Itodo can be reached on