I bought this 10″ by The Band of the Nigeria Police,  from my recent SA haul, just for the cover but boy, the music was a real eye-opener! I had expected some ordinary military march music but to my surprise the music is varied and above all, half of this collection is authentic Nigerian highlife. Imagine bagpipes and highlife from West Africa in one band! The first side offers music of a ceremonial and military character, and side two provides entertainment with a selection of highlife tunes, the favourite dance music of all West Africans.

One of the greatest  and most inspiring events in Africa’s history is undoubtedly the achievement of Nigeria’s Independence, Nigeria being the most heavily populated country in Africa with over 35 million people. The Band of the Nigeria Police pay their own tribute to this historic event with the proud presentation of their first long-playing record ‘Freedom Fanfare’. Formed in 1938, the band have gradually risen to their present strength of 72 Nigerian bandsmen of various ranks, i.e. military band, supplemented with drums, bugles, and even bagpipes. This record shows the musical skill and range of the Police Band in all aspects.

Freedom Fanfare -Highland Warpipes

a more African background is heard in tunes like ‘Uta’ and ‘Tso-o-boi’. The Nigeria Police have many marching songs, very old tunes loved and remembered by all West Africans, but the most popular is, without doubt, the spontaneous ‘Tso-o-boi’ (on the alert). Each man in turn, while marching along, attracts the attention of his company with the shout ‘Tso-o-boi’…which is answered in chorus with ‘Hoy!’. After this introduction follow extemporised lyrics, invariably of an insulting nature towards superiors…but all in good fun!

Freedom Fanfare -Uta

Freedom Fanfare -Tsoo Boi (on the alert)

excerpts from the original liner notes of ‘Freedom Fanfare’ 10″ by The Band of the Nigerian Police, Philips P 13402 R Made in Holland 1968

6 thoughts on “Freedom Fanfare -The Band of the Nigerian Police

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