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Ben Okafor's "Thing With War"
Malvern musician, Ben Okafor, has released an anti-war song entitled 'Thing With War'. Ben was a child soldier in Africa so when talking about war he speaks with genuine experience.
Bob Marley once wrote "He who knows it feels it".
It's fitting, then, that the best person to talk about the futility of war is someone who has experienced it first-hand.
At the age of 13, Ben Okafor served as a boy soldier in the Biafra army during the Nigerian civil war, seeing his family displaced before the path of advancing forces, and much of what they had worked for disappearing before their eyes.
At a time when many are asking "Where are the protest songs?" Ben has written a song in the best tradition of reggae music to reflect on the current world situation.
"Reggae isn't so much a style", says Ben, "As a people, a culture, an attitude.
"With it's origins in slavery, oppression and injustice it's also a powerful vehicle for reflecting on the current world situation".
Released in the UK, Ben's single, 'Thing With War' calls us to remember our common humanity:
"..Thing with war
The music of Ben Okafor moves effortlessly between the best of African reggae with its rich lyrical heritage, classic folk protest songs in the vein of Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song' and driving reggae beats betraying the early influence of Peter Tosh, the Wailers, and Marley himself.
Ben explains his motivation for music making:
"I am excited by freedom to move reggae music into places where it really has no restrictions.
"I have been in love with it from my youth and want to make contribution that further opens it up to, maybe, more and more spheres.
"Bringing African folk music, reggae, ska and a little jazz is not only natural and inviting to me, it is also extremely cool.
"This is where I am taking my music and it fills me with excitement."
Ben's third album is called Coffee With Lazarus.
The album sees reggae music moving into places where there are no restrictions, with some African Folk, ska and a little jazz thrown into the equation.
Ben Okafor sings with passion on this deeply personal and conscious album, drawing on political issues to songs more closely to his heart.
Recorded in Woodstock, New York, and produced by Harvey Jones [whose recent work includes Donna Lewis] this represents some of Ben's strongest material to date and introduces a definite transatlantic feel into his strong base of African reggae.
A prolific live performer, Ben has toured in The States, Nigeria, Denmark, Sweden and South Africa.
You can listen to all the latest music from across the two counties on the Friday Session, every week from 7pm, on BBC Hereford & Worcester.
last updated: 16/01/2009 at 22:58
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