My parents are Nigerian and have a great love of the music by King Sunny Ade and Chief Ebenezer Obey. Many of my happiest moments as a child were on car journeys listening to this music that my father had recorded from vinyl to tape. At home this was music was played at birthdays and Christmas time – all happy times when we were growing up. The best times when this music was played – were the unexpected times. We would wake up on Saturday mornings – the music wafting upstairs. When we crept down the stairs we would find my father cleaning the living room, breakfast made for us on the dining table and smiling. My father had a beautiful smile. The windows would be open and the house would smell, fresh, clean, new. I really cherish those memories.
It did not matter too much that at the time we did not understand much if any Yoruba. The melodies, the soothing guitar rifts and vocal were enough to bring joy and peace to the household.
My father also like other music. He loved ABBA. He owned the whole collection in 4 boxes ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘B’,’A’ from the reader digest.
They were stored in a reddish box for keeping vinyls. Because we were not allowed to touch it – it was the box that we (I) would immediately head for when my parents went out. I spent many summer holidays listening to ABBA, writing my little ‘books’ when my father was at work and I was actually meant to be doing the homework that he had set me. However my father did often play the albums on sunny Sunday afternoons and we bopped around the house as happy as Larry. We did not watch much TV then so I never saw any ABBA video until a few years ago.
I would not say that any of this has influenced my current tastes in music. I listen to a broad range of genres – it just depends on my mood.
However when I want to drift into the past an remember a sweet and innocent childhood – I put on my ABBA Gold greatest hits CD and settle down into the past.