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Ben Okafor – Child of Biafra

  • Release date: 2007-08-28
  • Label: Plankton
  • Catalog #: PCDN 163

Track Previews

  1. 1

    Oke Na Ngwele Click to preview

  2. 2

    Raise Your Conscience Click to preview

  3. 3

    Medley Of Igbo Choruses Click to preview

  4. 4

    Love Train Click to preview

Track Listing

1. Oke Na Ngwele
2. Victoria
3. Ol’ Back Yard
4. Nigeria We Hail Thee
5. Raise Your Conscience
6. You’ll Be Fine


7. Obin Di Alo
8. Land Of The Rising Sun
9. Hail Biafra!
10. Medley Of Igbo Choruses
11. Jehovah Bi’ N’ Igbe
12. Mgbe En’ Igwe N’ Uwa Nka G’ Agafe
13. Africa Will Be
14. Love Train

Album Description

Featuring songs from the stage production, ‘Child of Biafra’ is the stage dramatisation in words and music of Ben Okafor’s own childhood experiences of the Nigeria-Biafra War, during which he was a child soldier. These songs reflect the origins of Ben’s musical career, his early childhood and his early journey through the fields and fortunes of war, and the influences of these experiences on his artistic and spiritual vocation to date. The musical arrangements and performances are poignant, earthy and acoustic based and truly reflect the African heritage from which they draw. The CJAM Choir (conducted by Segun Gilbert) add a further dimension to the CD in both their wonderful augmentation of Ben’s songs and in their performances of traditional Igbo pieces.

Album Review

This is a moving commentary on the experiences, both physical and spiritual, of a nation at war and in particular the effects this most brutal of wars had on a child soldier caught up in the conflict. A subtle combination of songs composed by Okafor and traditional songs and anthems tells a story of pride, of anger, loss and fear, but also of hope. The original dramatisation of Ben’s story was created for BBC Radio 4 with great success and it premiered on stage in Manchester in 2007, 40 years on from the start of the war. Ben’s own songs have a real Marley-esque roots reggae vibe to them and he uses acoustic guitar and emotive vocal to moving effect. The CJAM choir enhances the sound of this album tenfold and provokes an equally moving response to the more traditional songs. The Biafran war tore Nigeria apart. Through Okafor’s music we might learn not to allow such a tragedy to happen again – Cross Rhythms