Friday, 1 July 2011

R.I.P Christian Essien Igbokwe (Includes Biography)

Christy Uduak Essien-Igbokwe also know as Nigeria's Lady of Songs put Nigeria's name on the world music map with her evergreen "Se oun Rere" track. She was the first female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN). Born on the 18th November 1960, this singer and actress is the chairman and managing director of Soul Train entertainment limited.
Although she is not Yoruba, most of her hits were sung in the western Nigerian language, and drew heavily on the culture and tradition. Essien's fluency in Yoruba, English, Igbo and her native Ibibio earned her an appeal which cut across tribal lines.
Essien lost her mother at age 12 and her dad in 2005.Growing up she lived with her late mother's friend who encouraged her singing career and bought her a fairly used cassette player to record her songs.
She is best remembered as Apeno the wife of the cantankerous character Jegede Shokoya (played by Claude Eke who passed away in 2002) in the sensational situational comedy ‘The New Masquerade' .The role shot the young actress to stardom. She later featured in two Nollywood movies "Flesh and Blood" and "Sacred of Womanhood in the early days of Nollywood.
She began her music career in NTA Aba on a programme called ‘Now Sound'. During that time New Masquerade was also airing on NTA Aba .One of the recordings she noticed a cast member rehearsing his lines incorrectly so she volunteered to correct him thereafter she was landed a role in the series.
She began her musical career in Secondary School,singing at various clubs in Aba, Abia State such as Uka Onu's Club and Unikoko.
The Akwa-Ibom born performer also had the honour of composing and performing what would later be known as her state's anthem of sorts, "Akwa-Ibom Mmi (My Akwa-Ibom)" in 1987, its year of creation.
The singer, who has featured in many national and international shows, still operates a shop in Etinan, in her native Akwa-ibom State where she sells printing machines. She is currently working on released her eleventh album.
She died yesterday, June 30,2011. Close to the time of her death, she was involved in private business, running the non-governmental organisation Essential Child Care Foundation involved in child welfare needs and rights as well. Her recent public outings include the Inspire Africa Benefit Concert in January 2009, where she performed alongside her son Kaka and the MTN Musical Festival, a musical show of old and new-breed musicians in 2009.
Her second son, Kaka is also towing the music line. He is a hip hop artiste and producer. One of her earliest albums ‘Ever Liked my Person' sold above platinum till date. So popular was one of its hit track 'Omo mi Seun Rere', that a number of African countries have sang their own version. The singer intends to spend the day with the less-privileged children as she has always done over the years.
Her Honours include Nigerian lady of songs award, Africa music mother award 1984, international special achievement award Mexico 1983 world song festival award Los Angeles queen of music international award association of theatre arts practitioners Lagos 1996 outstanding achievement in female uplifting. She has also contributed enormously to nation building, peace and tolerance - which, alongside moral uprightness, remain constant themes of her songs.
She surely will be missed. Adieu Mama *sobs*

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