To celebrate Milele Safari’s stint as one of Rave Reviews Book Club Books of the Month for November 2015, I’m starting a new author feature for all writer-reviewers who’ve been kind enough to read my first novel from it’s publication at the end of 2013 to date. Today it’s my great delight and privilege to present one of RRBC’s most supportive people the wonderful globe-trotting Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, who’s worked in Africa, Europe and now lives in the United States.
Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko
About the Author
It was also during this period that she learnt batik business. By the end of 1972, when she was returning home, Joy Nroli Nwosu had earned several diplomas in music. Some of them include Voice Diploma: Conservatorio Di Musica, Santa Cecilia, Rome, Italy; Diploma, Summa Cum Lode in Mass Communication, Specialization in Cinematography; Universita Internazionale Per I Studi Sociali, Pro-Deo, Rome, Italy; Licentiate in Music Theory: Conservatorio Di Musica, Luigi Peruggini, Florence, Italy, Voice Diploma; Conservatorio Di Music, Gioacchino Rossini, Pesaro, Italy. If the Holy Rosary Sisters and the high brow music community in Enugu were expecting to have Joy back on her return to Nigeria, they were damn wrong. Before then, her fame had grown across nations.
She has been featuring in several international media as another wonder from the shores of Nigeria. So, the expectation was much and there was no other space that could take up this international performer other than the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) which served as home for talented musicians in those days. NBC had people like Fela Sowande, Ayo Bankole, Sam Akpabot and Christopher Oyesiku. Her first job in Nigeria was that of a producer of music programs at NBC.
Not only that, she became a regular face on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). For her regular shows on TV, she had the virtuoso, Art Alade, as producer while the legend, Ayo Bankole, was the accompanist. Nigeria as a nation never had it so good with that quintessential trio. Nroli scored first in so many instances, a pioneer member of Laz Ekwueme choir. She was also part of the first generation of music graduates that taught music on television. She was once the director, Our Light Catholic Choir on University of Lagos campus. She also had a band which was on stand at the inauguration and commissioning of the National Theater. Her show became the first ever at the monumental theater that epitomizes the good arts and distinguishable culture of the black race.
This research was the work of Professor Godwin Sadoh.
Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies
Excerpt from Part II
Somewhere Out There
Someone shouted. Gloria jumped out of the bed and dove beneath it, thinking that the people in the house had seen her. But the noise came from outside. She crept from her hiding place and looked through the window. A strange mix of surprise, joy and fear filled her being.
Her son, Osondu, walked backwards in the street, surrounded by a large crowd of boys and girls his age. Osondu was just fifteen years old, a second year student at the Okongwu grammar school. She last saw him in his knickers, with a bare torso, bare feet and a fishing line when he left to fish with his friends. In this new place, he looked just the same, only now his knickers stuck to his skin. An old man carrying a long, carved, ebony walking-stick topped with an ivory bird’s head walked in front of him, forcing him to walk backward. Every time Osondu tried to turn his back to the old man, the kids surrounding him shouted and groped for him.
Gloria watched in shocked silence, then decided to gamble her life for her son. She stepped outside and, knowing that no one would see her, pushed through the crowd. She suspected that if she walked backward among these people, as her son did, they would see her, so she moved forward in her normal way until she walked in front of her son. By making Osondu walk backward, he seemed like a reflection in a mirror, and these people saw him. Otherwise, they did not see him.
Osondu smiled, apparently happy that his mother had come to his rescue, but Gloria saw fear in his eyes. “Does this mean they can’t see you, Mom?”
She grabbed his hand. “We must leave here, now.” She dragged him away from the old man, spun him around and pushed him forward, hoping her son’s image would disappear from their sight, and it did.
The old man and the boys stopped walking and looked around with puzzled faces. They reached out and searched with their hands, trying to find him.
Gloria pulled her son through the crowd. He turned back for a moment to look at the old man, and someone shouted, “Ereht.”
The crowd surged towards them.
“Turn around,” Gloria hissed in a low voice, though the people couldn’t hear her. “You have to walk forward.”
Osondu turned, and she hurried him away. “But the old man and his charm …”
“Never mind the old man; never mind his charms, just follow my lead and walk normally. Okay?” She kept moving forward, but risked a quick glance back. The crowd had slowed, but still moved in their direction. “Run,” she whispered.
He raced after his mother. She led him into their old house and into Gloria’s old room.
“We can’t stay here, Mom; if my younger self sees me, he’ll freak out,” he said, his eyes glassy and wide.
Jan Hawke’s review of Legend of the Walking Dead
This is a high 4 star assessment from me, so lets cut to the chase on why this amazing and refreshingly original book didn’t quite get to 5 stars for me.
The sense of oral traditions are woven into this exploration of life beyond death from the viewpoint of an Igbo mother and son, so there’s a distinctive and wholly authentic African rhythm all the way. However, for a written story (as opposed to a sung, or chanted story) there are too many reiterations, or paraphrasing threaded through, that at times did detract from the story flow for me.
So, this is stylistic call on my part that caused the blip on an otherwise enthralling and unique insight into an edgy and evocative mythology, that blends the familiar christian and syncretic beliefs of Ms. Lo-Bamijoko’s native Nigeria, and delivers something truly special to the often hackneyed and derivative world of paranormal fantasy.
It’s a wonderful book and I heartily recommend it, blips and all.
Mirror of Our Lives
In Mirror of Our Lives, four Nigerian women share the compelling tales of their troubled lives and failed marriages, revealing how each managed to not only survive, but triumph under difficult and repressive circumstances.
Njide, Nneka, Miss Nelly, and Oby relive their stories of passion, deceit, heartache, and strength as they push through life—each on a unique journey to attain happiness, self-respect and inner peace. But none of the women’s journeys is without misjudgments and missteps. Njide falls in love at first sight, marries Tunji too quickly, and is dismayed when Tunji shows his true colors. Nneka once thought that she and Oji were the perfect couple—until Oji traveled to the United States. Miss Nelly is a kind and good-natured woman who allows everyone to take advantage of her—even her husband, whom she married only for his name. But everyone wonders why Oby and Mat even married at all, for their marriage was a battle from the very beginning.
The tales in Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women will inspire womenaround the world to never give up, to discover a sense of worth, and most of all, to learn to love themselves above everyone else.
(Taken from Amazon.com)
Robin Chambers Amazon review of Mirror of Our Lives
Some stories have a power that resides in the story itself, regardless of the artistry with which it happens to be told. This is one such: a story that opens our eyes and hearts and broadens our minds.
In an unsensational, matter-of-fact way, Dr Lo-Bamijoko describes the burdens carried by four different women born and raised according to Igbo tradition and culture to be subservient to and abused by men. In places their suffering is harrowing, and one is consumed by rage at the ignorance and arrogance of the men they have to deal with and at the terrible inequalities endemic in their society. At the same time one is inspired by their intelligence, resilience, capacity for endurance, patience, fortitude… Being so much brighter than the men they have been forced to deal helps a lot as well.
One can only hope that this book will be widely read in Nigeria as well as everywhere else, by men as well as women: that it might play its part in making man’s ‘inhumanity’ to woman a distant memory of our unenlightened past.
Buy the Kindle version at Amazon
Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies
Buy the e-Pub version at Barnes &Noble
Legend of the Walking Dead:Igbo Mythologies