Popular Africa/Nigeria highlife musician, late Prince Nico Mbarga’s foot print were at the weekend written in the sand of time as his children decided to remember his good works and organise a concert to immortalise him at the 20th anniversary in his home town, Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The concert tagged ‘Nico Mbarga 20th Anniversary’ was held at Jandged Resort in Ikom to mark the legend’s unfortunate demise.
Apart from the platform, the concert provided upcoming musicians to perform archival songs he recorded while on earth. It also attempted to reunite members of the Rocafil Jazz musical group, but only Francis Mbu, one of Mbarga’s lead backup vocalist among the five still living could make it to the concert.
Mbarga would be a fulfilled man if he were alive to see his kids performed on stage. His children who were happy that their father’s still remains an iconic and respected musician in Nigeria, believes the only way to keep his legacy alive is to do something like a musical jamboree, which stands to immortalise his good works.
Late Prince Nico Mbarga, leader of the Rocafil Jazz music group is an indigene of Ikom, a border town with the Cameroun and founder of the Panco system of music. He remains a celebrated African music icon known for his timeless popular ‘Sweet Mother’ song which sweep across the airwaves in Africa and beyond.
In the 70’s Mbarga’s popular hit track ‘Sweet Mother’ invaded bedrooms of almost everyone who owns a transistor radio. Mbarga’s hit track sweet mother was among the top twenty bestselling songs in history of the time and voted as Africa’s favourite song by BCC readers and listeners in 2004, years after the music legend’s death.
Prince Nico Mbarga born in January 1, 1950 got himself entangled with active music career from 1970 until untimely death caught him up in Calabar the state capital of Cross River State on June 24, 1997 while heading to catch up visa collection for a tour of 50 states in the U.S.
Mbarga’s statue is situated along border road of Ikom. Louisiana Tilda is said to have since moved to Paris while the location of the other three members of the popular Rocafil group is not clearly known.
Mbu performed alongside Nico Mbarga Jr, Slimphilz Barga and Estelle Mbarga who attempted to mimic the exact style and voice of the late legend.
However, the executive director for NMSMF Mbarga Jnr, in a release to the press disclosed that he and his siblings are planning a full rebirth of their late father’s Rocafil Band with particular interest in promoting the late icon’s ‘Panco’ genre of music.
The demise of Nico Mbarga in 1997 made life unbearable to his 10 surviving kids. Pauline, one of his children died in 2011 following a brief illness. Among the nine Mbarga’s surviving kids, four (Nico, Descrow, Estelle and Slimphilz) are actively involved in promoting their late father’s ‘panco’ style of music while the other five (Joan, Lillian, Lucy, Lionel, and Nicoline) are engaged in business and the Nigerian civil service.