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One of the greatest archives of contemporary music in Nigeria belongs to, and run by Femi Esho the chairman/CEO of Evergreen Musical Company in Lagos. This venture which has seen the reinvention and reproduction of great musical works of the yester years exhibits the hallmark of some of the legendary offerings of Nigeria’s, nay, Africa’s best artistes of the 50’s, 60’s up to the 80’s.
Himself a legend of sorts, Femi Esho who has over five decades been passionately engrossed in consumption and appreciation of music of the past, possesses a large repertoire of such works for which he has obtained right to reproduce, repackage, promote and sell.
The fair-complexioned and bearded Esho told beats-onit that all his life he had little time for whatever that could create distraction for him as far as music was concerned; not even women. According to him, “If I was not at any hour recording, I was listening to music of the day or mixing assorted sounds.”
At his office and studios in Surulere, Lagos, there is a huge display of album/CD sleeves of music of the old like E.T. Mensah, Zeal Onyia aka Obi of Trumpet, Haruna Isola, Ramblers Dance Band, Dele Ojo and Osita Osadebe.
Others are, Osibisa, Eddy Okonta, Roy Chicago, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Julius Arba, Adeolu Akinsanya, Victor Abimbola Olaiya, Ebenizer Obey among other great acts.
Esho has gone a notch higher by recreating the repackaging of the content carrier. There are shiney miniature Central Bank-like boxes containing CDs which are attractive to lovers of great music of the days gone by in the packaging. Asked what they are, Esho said, “I call them metal box and they are designed to endear the entire offering to the music lovers who would be proud to show them off.”
For Femi Esho, music does not grow old but is recorded and preserved for the future generation.