Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wonderful Figure 7: Tribute to Twins 77

(By Chief Muraina Oyelami)

Seven stars or Seven-Seven, seven seems to be magical. Even in Yoruba believe, seven is a special number. The grand-finale or shall I say the most important day of most of our traditional festivals has always being the seventh day.

My colleague, Oseni was firstly to be known as Seven-Stars. He was an entertainer right from his youthful days. I knew him as a dancer and acrobat helping an Osogbo local medicine vendors known as Ore-Meji (two friends that owned the business) in the late part of 1963. In 1964, a Briton scholar Mr Michael Crowder who was a close friend of Ulli Beier was leaving Nigeria for Fourabay College in Sierra Leone and a dinner party was arranged in his honour at Mbari-Mbayo Artists and Writers Club Osogbo. The time came when the guest was to take the floor and dance, suddenly, without knowing that Twins was among the on-lookers. Twins started to dance and every one was ‘captured’ by his show. A show that was so original in style and so captivating.

Ulli who was amazed seeing this enchanting performance by someone he’s never seen or met decided Twin must be encouraged to further develop his talent as a performing artist. I was in the Duro Ladipo as at the time and we were preparing a trip to Berlin to perform Oba Koso at the ‘Oktober Fest’ and Ulli was to lead us there. In order that Twins may not leave the Club’s premises before our return, Ulli bought him drums like Acuba, Bongos, Bells and an acoustic guitar (even when he hasn’t learned how to play). All these time he was known as Seven-Stars. The appliqu├ęd inscription was clearly visible on the back of his shirt. But during this period, there was a magician whose name was Seven-Seven, this could be coincidental or a ‘name-sake’ but it seemed more like the people could not distinguish between Seven Stars and Seven-Seven or the Seven –sets-of-twins who was to be known as Twins Seven-Seven.

No doubt, the entire black race will miss him, but his works live on. Sun ‘re O. Ibeji Meje-Meje

(Oyelami, a personal friend and colleague of the late Twins 77, is Founder/Director of Obatala Creative Centre, Iragbiji)


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