Saturday, 18 June 2016

BEN SAR MAKING DISFFERENCE WITH MUSIC IN IDP CAMPS


TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST PROJECT WITH INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDP)?
My attention was drawn sharply to the plight of IDP in 2013, when farming communities in Benue State began to come under heavy attack from Fulani herdsmen in great numbers. The situation was unique in that unlike the IDP from the North-East of Nigeria, these people were so deprived that they could only run to relatives in other parts of the state.

In the course of raising awareness of that genocide, a number of likeminded citizens from all walks of life bonded together to tend to these unfortunate ones. You may learn more through the hashtag #MAFO. On a personal note, I am endeavouring to get musical instruments into the hands of the children among the IDP.

I got into music purely through interactions with instruments from an early age. I would like to share the benefit of the useful distraction of music with them. Maybe one day we could here some interesting narratives in their songs.

HOW DO YOU INTEND TO FUND IT?
At the moment, I am putting out a new record whose proceeds will go towards acquiring the instruments we need (you can also listen and buy online at cdbaby.com/bemsar12). Also, a number of my colleagues in the music industry are willing to back me up and give some lessons to these children. We hope to get support from the corporate world and larger public as well. It has been slow going due the economy but we are positive that things will pull through.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO MUSIC?
My father taught me the first few notes on the guitar and keyboard when I was 6 years old. It was just an old nursery rhyme. That was all the formal education I had and I picked up the rest of what I do from watching other performers and discovering my imagination. After my youth service duty was done in 2002, I got a job that went nowhere fast. I spent two months at it and I still have the cheque I was to cash for my pay. It never cleared. I walked away from that office saying to myself that if this is what paid employment was about, I'd have none of it. I chose to chase my passion and perish on my own terms. I went on to play in a band for my friend Age Beeka and lots of water has gone over the dam since.

HOW MANY ALBUMS DO YOU HAVE?
I have recorded two albums; For The Life Of Me (2005) and Raising Dust (2008). In 2014 Yet To Be Titled, an extended play (EP), was released as a download only record. Most of these can be found on the online store cdbaby.com/bemsar12. The DARK SAYINGS record has just been finished and we are looking forward to its release soon. It features songs from the Yet To Be Titled EP and 4 new tracks.

HOW WELL HAS YOUR MUSIC BEEN RECEIVED?
I would say my music has been very well received through the years. It has generally been classified as too foreign for Nigeria's commercial music scene but there has always been the understated allusion to its quality and poetry. For that reason, I have had the honor of performing before 40 African Presidents at Nigeria's 50th Independence anniversary. I try to improve on my work constantly.

WHAT DREAM DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR MUSIC?
Every artiste dreams of his/her music going worldwide. I can say that it appeals to me too, but lately I am more concerned about the significance of my work in the life of every individual who comes across it. Will it be a reliable rock or a passing wind in that moment? There are 7 billion people in the world and every song is a 5 minute chance to address the world. It is too great an opportunity to waste. I teach this to those who seek career advice

WHICH SCHOOLS DID YOU ATTEND A PEEP TO YOUR FAMILY HISTORY?
I can't recall the names of the pre-primary schools I attended growing up in Zaria, Kaduna State. At the age of 5, I moved to Otukpo with my father and went to the Prison's primary school and subsequently transferred to Ekele nursery and primary school, then to the Army primary school. Those were miserable times trying to adjust. We moved to Makurdi, Benue where I completed my primary education at the University of Agriculture primary school. My secondary schooling was at Mount Saint Gabriel's Boys Secondary School, a shared period with Tuface and Black Face. In 2001, I graduated from the Benue State University with a B.Sc in Business Management.

I am the first of five siblings. My parents are both first-born in their respective families. That makes me a first of every mentionable relationship in a family now, son, uncle, nephew etc. The family runs a fishery and piggery.


Thanks for this interview. It means a lot

You are welcome.

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