Alhaji Waziri Oshomah

World Spirituality Classics 3: The Muslim Highlife of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah

Luaka Bop • 2022

Celebrate in the name of virtue. Musician Alhaji Waziri Oshomah from southern Nigeria has been performing with this as his mission since the 1970s.  As a devout Muslim, he recites thoughtful and pious texts in which he warns, among other things, against the health disadvantages of jealousy. The highlife style contributed by his band knows how to husband its resources well, mixing the celebratory euphoria of its body-affirming polyrhythms with a deliberate tempo, so that there is still enough peace and attention left for Alhaji Waziri Oshomah’s message, which he proclaims to all appearances independently of the individual creed of his listeners.  Which sometimes takes up a bit of space to be able to properly unfold:  The somewhat amusingly titled song »Alhaji Yesufu Sado Managing Director« lasts just under 18 minutes.  He uses wind instruments discreetly; »Omhona«, for example, features a prominent saxophone solo.  More striking, however, are the organ sounds, sometimes shimmering psychedelically as they do on »Ovini Omoekeke Alhaji Inu Umoru« or »Okhume Ukhaduame«.  On the latter, incidentally, one of the lines is: »I wish nobody evil in my life«.  If only spirituality were always so openly addressed to everyone, there would probably be one less little  problem in the world.