I might be whistling today, but my children will blow the trumpets…
I have avoided long pieces for a few days, as my focus has been given to the completion of my books. The urgency to be done with that task, the increased illiteracy of the ones for whom we labor, and my despondency at the quality of debates in the coming elections, have all combined to curtail the need for more than the ajasas that I have been posting. But as I whistled a tune in praise of my God, I saw again the place of vision, in the affairs of men.
As I grew up in my grandparents’ home at Inalende, I was exposed to different types of music. There were several types of musical tastes represented by the diverse men and women that lived in the yard. I listened to all, and my young ears were influenced by the choice of the people inhabiting my world. Dauda Epo-Akara was a favorite of Baba Funlayo, Brother Imonu, Emmanuel to you, loved his Boney M. Brother Funsho was the reggae freak, and brother ‘Taye would play the slows. He was the Loverboy undergee.
I love music. I listen to every kind of music, as long as it is melodious. I enjoyed the exposure to Juju, Fuji, Yusuf Olatunji, and several more, but the closest I came to playing music, was an early stint in the children’s choir of the First Baptist Church, Idi-Ikan, something of an Olukole family tradition in my youth. Beyond that limited, but early exposure to formal musical training, I never had the opportunity to find, if I had any musical gift to speak of.
As I would travel public buses, Molues, and coaster buses in my days in Lasu, I would often unload on my fellow passengers. For backup chorus, I could count on Afolabi, and Dele was an occasional accomplice. Wasiu Ayinde songs were my frequent numbers, but I would tackle the occasional Baba Gani Agba. I believed that the usual applause wasn’t just to silence our nuisance. But we did have tons of fun.
As the children came, I took a decision to address a limitation that has caused me a few pangs of regret and pain. As I would whistle tunes that I have enjoyed, I would wish to God that I could play out the tune on a trumpet or piano, but there were no pianos at Inalende, and the only guitar I recall was for Broda Taye, my uncle the Loverboy.
I spoke with a musicologist, and was advised to buy a piano, that it is the base of every musical instrument, and I have ensured that my children learnt to play, even as they have chafed, just as I had ensured that they learnt to swim, as soon as they turned 18 months old. Too young to be yoked to the fear of water, that has defeated my own attempt at learning how to stay afloat in water, and quit trashing around in the pool, like a beached whale.
Children are as arrows in the quiver of the wise man, thus declare the book of God, and I have cured a defect in the model, by projecting into the future. As I whistled this morning, and wished I could belt the tune out of a trumpet instead, I smile in the knowledge that my children would not be sharing the frustrations of my limitations. Where I cannot swim in anything bigger than a wading pool, my children have swam in oceans to the awe of adults, and with my own heart in my mouth as I have beheld them.
I might be whistling today, but my children will blow trumpets. Endure my gentle whistling, and do so in the knowledge that I whistled even this piece, and you, the readers are also the children of my creativity. You will be the trumpeters of the truths I have been given to whistle. Discern the tunes and learn your pianos, weaponized ignorance must be vaporized.
First published 18 January, 2019.