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African China AKA Chinagoro

Label: Blue Pie Productions

Artists Genre: Urban

The Evolution of African China

Far from being the obvious, since launching himself into the mainstream music world about two years ago, Chinagoro, a.k.a African China, may have stood out as a dependable, yet emerging social crusader of great reckoning. With his name almost becoming a house-hold name in many homes across Africa, African China parades a talent, very prodigious and could be described as “rare and different from what Ojo would refer to above as 'playing the music of destructive values.” While storming the music scene with an uncommon tempo, Chinagoro recreates with his craft, the images of reggae singers of yesteryears. With the unceremonious exit of the likes of Majek Fashek, Ras Kimono and The Mandators, all Nigeria’s past leading reggae singers, Chinagoro’s entrance into the music wavelength of Nigeria appear something like rekindling and re-modelling of the undying spirit of fighting for the oppressed masses through the art of music.

His emergence in the Nigerian music scene, no doubt, revolutionizes the myopic, almost streamlined music culture in the country. He came with a bang, and consequently took the stage with a thundering storm. Listening to his kind of music invokes feelings of redemption.One cannot but acknowledge African China’s redemptive philosophy which reunites his fans with the rhythms that defined the music of the departed reggae legend, Bob Marley. His high sense of creativity and accomplishment of high quality entertainment and philosophical undertone combined with liberating enlightenment, makes him the hope of tomorrow’s reggae icon in the world of the Black race.

More than ever before, Chinagoro’s kind of reggae possesses an unusual driving force which comforts, arrests and at the same time, refreshes the soul while it encourages and re-arms the people for the great task of making a better society. Like the thought-provoking messages of the departed reggae legend, Bob Marley, and of recent, the South African reggae maestro, Lucky Dube, Chinagoro demonstrates lots of promises for his generation.

Engaging him recently in a chat, aboard an ADC Airline en route to Abuja, was a delightful encounter. Indeed, inside the aircraft, this young artiste was passionately enthusiastic and his voice resonated with delight. “My name is Chinagoro alias African China. I am from Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State. I got into music at the age of seven, that was when I got involved in entertaining people. I was into dancing while my elder brother was one of the notable drummers as far back as in the 70s and early 80s. There, I learnt most of my dance steps, and later joined a miming club, where I started practising how to mime other notable reggae artistes such as Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, and the rest of them. While I was doing this, I saw the potentials in me. I then grew up with it. I wrote my first song titled Am in Luv with You when I got into the secondary school in 1990,” he narrated.

Chinagoro added that, with the passage of time, he realized that music was an integral part of his being, especially when he saw himself performing at birthday parties, night Clubs, Bachelors eves and other social engagements. I discovered I could write songs. I discovered that music was really in me, so that was how I got into music,” Chinagoro further narrated.

Even when his songs translate into something of a reflective mirror for society, the Imo State-born musician likened himself to a social crusader of sorts. “I don’t see myself attacking the government with my music. I am only but a social crusader. In that sense, my songs center on the happenings around me. All the musicians cannot just be singing about men and women, love, romance etc” he said, adding: “If you look at the history of music in Africa, for instance, you will discover that it was only South African singers that were able to hit the world music scene. Talk of people like Chaka-Chaka, Brenda, Lucky Dube and the rest of them. Nigerian artistes have not gotten that kind of exposure and that is why I felt I should do something different.”
Chinagoro, however, acknowledged the fact that his songs are fashioned after those of the great reggae singers of our time. As he pointed out, “the music of Majek Fashek, Lucky Dube, Ras Kimono and others, really made a lot of impact on my music." He also admitted that, apart from being influenced by the songs of these artistes, the redemptive music of Bob Marley remained a major source of inspiration to him.

A confirmation of this claim promptly lies in his performance. Beyond doubt, Chinagoro’s stage display bears the semblance of the great singers with arresting passion. So arresting that the effect of the witch-hunting and his suffering soul became reflected in the countenance of his audience. Unlike the corruptive music of his contemporaries, Chinagoro’s songs are natural, pure and plain. Aside the fact that his songs of oppression stemmed from a deeply humanistic foundation, he applied rich and sometimes imitable dexterity in commenting on the depleting values of the society.

But how did he come about the name, African China, you may want to ask?.“African China has something to do with my original name, Chinagoro,” he muted, adding, “from Chinagoro comes China. When I was in the secondary school, my friends used to pronounce my name, China-Goro. So, each time I entered the classroom, my classmates would start laughing at me and my class teacher then, would mute, O da-bi omo China (meaning, he looks like a Chinese boy).”

“From there onwards, I was nicknamed African-China. Though, while in secondary school, I used to get annoyed quickly and sometimes, react negatively but when I discovered that I could not help it, I became used to the name and consequently accepted it as a part of me.”
He also recalled that the need to identify with his root, especially when he wanted to go into music properly, altogether necessitated his deliberate desire to attach “African” to his name. He reminisced: “When I decided to go into music, I did not want to be identified with the name, China alone, because I did not come from any of the Asian countries, I rather had the desire to make my name sound more African than Asian, because of the fact that I am a black man. That was how the name, African China came about.”

Notwithstanding, positing that Chinagoro’s songs remain not only a product of the environment in which he grew up as a child, but also, that of his years of suffering as a son-of-a man-of- no-means and someone who never knew who his biological mother was, is not to imagine the absurd. Chinagoro, from childhood was a product of society and one who was equally meant to learn to survive in a hard way. At less than two months of birth, his mother died to usher him into the world without a guide, governed by misadventure, greed, wickedness, materialism and oppression of the have-nots by the haves.

Emotionally, he recalls, “my mother died when I was two months old. I did not enjoy the cares of my mother. When I eventually finished my secondary school in 1996, there was nobody to assist me in furthering my education. My father then was retired from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and his pension was not enough to cater for seven of us in our family. So, I found myself working at the Nigeria Ports Authority as a laborer, carrying bags of rice and ice fish after my SSCE examinations.”

“I also hawked on the streets, worked as a cleaner and had to quit my menial job just to build a solid foundation for my future. The government, I must say, has no vision for the youths of this country. That is why crime is still on the increase in the country today,” he asserted.

Chinagoro recalled how his experience after the release of his maiden album with track, “If I say O.P and you say C, na you sa bi..’ brought him in direct confrontation with the deadly group and the area boys known as Agberos, in Lagos who wanted him either dead or alive, helped to fire his imagination and his musical idiom.

African China is an MGN, Blue Pie + Perfect Pitch artist. African China is available digitally throughout the world on Blue Pie Productions and at all leading digital retailers on the planet.

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