Prince Nico Mbarga: The Man And His Music

Without a doubt, "Sweet Mother" gets everybody on their feet whenever it's played at any African gathering, the old school kind of way. The super funky ikwokirikwo sound recorded and released at the Onitsha based recording studio of Rogers All Stars has been noted to be "probably the biggest-selling record in African history."

Mbarga was born in Abakaliki to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father. Inspired by East African music and growing up in Cameroon, he returned to Nigeria after the civil war and formed what would be known as Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz. Recording Man Don Tire, a single with EMI Records which was poorly promoted, Mbarga and his group took three years to record another single I No Go Marry Papa, which also did not make it to the charts in African standard.

In 1975, Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz relocated and found a new record label, Rogers All Stars, remaking Man Don Tire with little impact in the music scene. In 1976, it was a major breakthrough. "Sweet Mother," recorded by Rogers All Stars, followed by Rounder Rcords in the United States; Decca in France; AIT Records in Nairobi; and Zebi Records in the United Kingdom became an anthem and a major hit all around the globe.

The Rocalfil Jazz had two female back-up singers called Tilda. One of the Tilda's remixed "Sweet Mother" as tribute to the Late Nico Mbarga who died in in a motorcycle accident on June 24, 1997.

For detailed analysis, see:

Discography of Prince Nico Mbarga

Wikipedia Entry on Mbarga

Daily Sun Article on Mbarga

Emmanuel Agu's Wrte-up