Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Dutiful Wife, An Inconsiderate Husband

Despite his great popularity back in the day, information about the late, great Igbo bard Show Promoter (Nelson Ejinduaka) is as scarce as hens' teeth. All I've been able to unearth is that he was from the city of Orlu in Imo State, spent most of his career in Ikwerreland (near Port Harcourt) and apparently passed on some time in the late '80s. His album Azu Alala (Onyeoma CY Records CYLP 043, 1987) is such an outstanding example of traditional Igbo music that I had to share it!

The title track, "Azu Alala" ("Fish is Scarce & Highly Costly"), concerns an obedient wife and the husband who is oblivious to his family's hardship. A husband gave his wife ten naira to go to the market to buy food for the family. She asked him, "Will ten naira be enough?" but he told her, "Make do with what you have."

She went to the market and spent N5 on gari (cassava meal) and N5 on yam. The money was gone. There  was no money for fish, no money to buy oha leaf (greens) or meat.

The wife came home and didn't know what to do. Her children were crying in hunger, "Please give us food." She went to the kitchen to prepare the food. The children ate, and so did she.

In the meantime her husband was down at the restaurant, drinking and living the life of an onye oriri (man about town). He told his friends, "Come home with me. I gave my wife money to prepare food for us." When they arrived home he called out to her to bring out the food she had cooked. The wife began to cry and presented the pitiful repast she had prepared.The man opened the pot to see that there was no fish, no vegetables and no meat. He jumped up and slapped his wife. She cried, "Ego i nyerem ezughi. The money you gave me was not enough to make soup. I managed with what I had to feed our children. Please don't hit me."

The chorus, "Ogiri k'am, jiri shi ofe, azu alala," means "I made the soup with stock.There is no fish."

Show Promoter & his Group - Azu Alala

In "Onye Ma Ihe Echi Gabu (Tomorrow is Pregnant. Who Knows What it will Be?)" Show Promoter sings, "My brother, who knows what tomorrow will bring? My sister, who knows what tomorrow will bring? Everybody pray to God so it will be good for us." He then proceeds to call out various local notables:

Show Promoter & his Group - Onye Ma Ihe Echi Gabu

"Onwu Ashio (The Death of Ashio)" recounts the tragic fate of a man who died in a traffic accident: "Ka mpkuru obi ya nodi nma (May his heart rest in peace). Anyi sikwa ama nnachi, mu na gi bu kwu nwa nne - a go. (We came from one place, you and I, brothers or relatives).Onwu gburu Ashio (The death that killed Ashio). Ashio a hupu la m laa (Ashio left me behind)."

Show Promoter & his Group - Onwu Ashio

Many thanks to my wife Priscilla for translating the lyrics of Azu Alala. You may download it as a zipped file here.


Anonymous said...


it's good to get your ass kicked every once in a while. never came across Show Promoter before (great name), wonderful surprise. big thanks.

red cloud

Anonymous said...

Thanks John B for fulfilling this promise! It is a great treat for me to finally enjoy this fine work of the enigmatic phenomenon called Show Promoter. The translation of the words are perfect and exact. Well appreciated because his albums are nowhere to be found especially in this very good condition.

David said...

Thanks for this one - especially no.1 the 'fish song', which we all thoroughly enjoyed!! Great stuff.

wilson orozco said...

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I would like to contemplate the possibility of placing a link on your blog that redirects to this new blog (http://elbaulafricano.blogspot.com), also request authorization to perform the same work on my blog referencing its prestigious blog.
Grace in advance for your attention, I say goodbye to you

Wilson Orozco

John B. said...

Wilson, consider it done. Good luck with your new blog.


John B,
This is completely off-topic.

It is about a couple of comments you left over at Nothin' Sez Somethin' on posts for the country Chad from May 22, 2013 & for the country Somalia from June 6, 2013 stating that I "lifted" music from your blog without crediting yourself.

If you had looked at a post called "A Journey is Best Measured in Friends Rather than Miles" from May 17, 2013, you would see that I said in order to complete my 'Musick around the World' project I used music from other sources & specifically listed Likembe, ending with the statement: "Check'em out & tell'em Nathan sent ya." Sorry that wasn't good enough for your liking.

Very grateful said...

Thank you for the amazing blog John, I have yet to find a blog with such consistent quality. I only recently discovered it, but I am already nearing the end of 2009. I was sad to see the posts ended in 2013, and I was just wondering, will you begin making posts here again? If not, thanks for all the amazing music you introduced me too, but I hope you find the time to do more. Also if you are not, can you recommend any similar blogs that you have found to be worth looking at?
Thank You very much

Very grateful said...

Hello again
Forget that last part, I just saw the whole section titled listen to the left of the page.

John B. said...

Hi Grateful,

Glad you like the site. I stopped posting for a while because of various personal issues, but I'm hoping to get going again in a few months.


Music promote said...

Really love this Music blog. It was a great site and Just love this site a lot because of such beautiful music and soulful tunes. I have a similar site that represent various artist and their music. If you interested just let me know. Free Music Promotion

G_M_ said...

Hi, you have helped me locate a lot of music I thought I would never be able to find again.
Sorry you are not blogging here anymore, if you relocated your writings please let us know, sure I am not the only one missing them.

D. Jentle said...


Anonymous said...

hello John, are you still alive, living a responsible live with your wife (and perhaps children). I don"t know. I absolutely do not, an do not need to know.
I love your blog, though it has been quiet for a long time now (2013-2017) I just think you must still have some beautiful tales to tell. Is it possible to persuade you, and your family, to go forth with this blog, in a slow pace.
greetings Richard

John B. said...

Anon 5-15-17: Thanks for your comment. I hope to revive the blog soon.