If you grew up in the 70/80’s then the series “The New Masquerade TV series” should ring a bell. In the same vein, “Eddie Quansa‘s” song should equally bring back even more memories. We collected some comments online and decide to share some of these discoveries with you.
There are a number of stories behind the song “Eddie Quansa’s of the defunt TV show – “The Masquarade”. One thing you cannot deny is that the song, is as a matter of popular opinion, that it is indeed a masterpiece that has “This song tells in pure unadulterated Owerri Igbo, a little bit about how Owerri highlife / Tombo music started…with a certain Owerri wannabe musician-turned maestro who traveled to Ghana and took on the local name of Eddie Quansa.
It was said that Eddie Quansa learned high life music under the renowned musician E.T Mensa and stayed back in Ghana after that, sending instead for some of his relations from Owerri to join him. His relations left Eastern Nigeria and learned high life music under him but chose to return home after the Nigerian Civil War and practice their music after almost a decade in Ghana.
However, they wanted their mentor Eddie Quansa to return home with them and head their band. Eddie refused and chose to stay back in Ghana. The band that these boys formed was named PeaCock International Band. Other bands like “Olariche” were also derivatives.
Peacock composed chart-busting songs like “Nwakego“, “Alleluia Chim lee Jehova Chim Imela..” Onyeka Onwenu would replay “Alleluia” a decade later in the 80s, making it a national hit. Then they composed this song called Eddie Quansa in tribute to Eddie Quansa pleading with him to return home (Bia o Bia) and join them because “Izu Ka Mma Na Nne Ji” meaning that agreements are best entered into by children born from the same womb – i.e siblings. In this song which the Zebrudaya Show of the late 70s would make a national hit in Nigeria.
The song-writers acknowledged the many successful local businesses in Aba and Owerri that may have supported them as they worked their way to the top. Names like Bob Solo, Ajunwa Peugeot Cycle of Aba, Mike Merchandize, John Anyaehie, R. Amanze Njoku , OGB Bros, Eddy Bros, Chika Bros, Akajiaku, FT Anyanwu, Emma Nworji, Dr Ugorji, Ajaerobia Contractor etc.
It would be interesting to research how many of these businesses survive till date – 2014 at least. Peacock’s success would lead to the spin-off of new bands in Owerri like the Oriental Band..a band that would go on to create chart-busting hits in the 70s with Dansatch and Warrior, leaving Igbo vocabulary richer with words like “Apama” and songs like Iheoma, Nwanyi Di Ya Wu Eze, Nkwa Number 1 etc. It is amazing how part of a peoples’ collective history is captured in a simple song rendered in a provincial dialect.
Others have said that the afore-mentioned story is not exactly the true reflection of how this “supposed group came about. This time the story has to do with Israel Nwoba of the 40’s and the 50′, probably the 1st Igbo to be recorded. He was a contemporary of Okonkwo Adigwe. I can not say which of them was the 1st. Have you heard of Herbert Udemba, whose hit song of 1960: “Bottom Belle‘ was re-sang by one of the youngsters. Apparently, it was said that these were already national musical icons before Amarabem returned from Ghana. There were others too, who were not that popular but who started before Amarabem.
Whatever the actual case really is, we can’t say for sure, but one thing we do know is this, an evergreen song like this deserves a place in the historical archives of our cultural heritage. If you know more about this song/the group or would simply like to contribute to this research work, do send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org