Oriental Brothers Eriebuo Onye Ozo Part 4



The "Oriental Brothers" label actually describes five or six different groups. The original band, led by Godwin Kabaka Opara, was founded by the Opara brothers of Mbaise, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria - Ferdinand Dan Satch Emeka Opara, Christogonous Ezebuiro Obinna ("Warrior") and Kabaka, along with Nathaniel Ejiogu ("Mangala"), Hybrilious Alaraibe ("Akwilla"), and Prince Ichita. Mangala died shortly before the band became popular in the early seventies.

Then there are the "Oriental Brothers" group with Dan Satch and Warrior after Kabaka left; and the "Oriental Brothers" led by Dan Satch after the final split. With each defection the sound of the group has changed subtly. Until his death in June of 1999, however, Warrior continued to call his backup band the "Original Oriental Brothers" concurrently with the Dan Satch "Orientals." To keep things simple, this discography lists under "Oriental Brothers International Band" all of the various incarnations of the group that carries that name. Kabaka's group, Kabaka International Guitar Band, has its own listing, as do Warrior and his "Orientals."

To confuse matters more, on at least two occasions since the final split the Opara brothers reunited to record albums under the "Orientals" moniker. As if that weren't complicated enough, there has been at least one other "Orientals" group led by Prince Ichita (see below). In addition, there are the ORIGINAL Brothers, also from Owerri, led by Warrior sound-alike Sir Major, who may or may not be connected with the Orientals, but have a quite similar sound.

There are at least two other groups that originate in splits from one of the Orientals bands - the State Brothers International Band led by Aloy Anyanwu, and Chuks Nnadiekwe's Orlu Brothers International Band. Both groups' recordings are listed here.

For all this evident factionalism, there is no disputing the great influence of ALL the Oriental groups on contemporary Nigerian music. Their great contribution was fusing Congo-style guitar work with various traditional Igbo rhythms to create a fast-paced musical style that was beloved by Nigerians from all ethnic backgrounds and walks of life. Their sound emerged at a time of great crisis for the Igbo people in the wake of the Biafran war. As Maurice O. Ene, editor of "Kwenu" magazine, writes: "... the Orientals played a very important spiritual role in keeping many Ndiigbo sane. They were the pride of a people traumatized by a war so vicious."