By Benjamin Njoku
Since they went their separate ways in 2012, after bestriding the world of popular music like colossus, D’banj and Don Jazzy have not been the best of friends.
But despite their lingering differences, it’s the utmost desire of their fans to behold the former label mates and joint owners of one of Nigeria’s biggest record labels, Mo’Hit (now rested) come together someday to perform some of their old hit songs as well as record a duet that would rekindle their relationship that is now strained strained.
However, while everyone was looking forward to seeing that happen last Friday, at the 60th birthday party of Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, reverse was the case.
The birthday bash, which held at Eko hotel and Suites,Victoria Island, Lagos, had in attendance the ‘who is who’ in Nigeria political circle as well as the entertainment industry. D’banj and Don Jazzy were among top Nigerian music acts that graced the glamorous event.
After several electrifying performances by other notable artistes, it was the turn of the “Oliver Twist” crooner to thrill the large audience.
Dressed in black suite upon white shirt and bow-tie, D’banj had gone into the crowd to fish out Ben Bruce and dragged him to the stage.
And while on stage, Bruce specifically asked for a special present, as he started calling out Don Jazzy to join them on stage. This could not come true as Don Jazzy had left the venue before D’banj mounted the stage to perform. People did not know that he had left.
“I will like you and Don Jazzy to do a duet,” Ben Bruce said, calling out Don Jazzy to join them on stage. But the the Mavin Records boss was nowhere to be found.
At that point, D’banj opened up, “Uncle Ben, what you are asking me to do, I have done already. As I was mounting the stage, I saw Don Jazzy sitting over there and I told him I would call him on stage for a joint performance, but now he has run away. If he brings the beat today, the song will be ready tomorrow,” D’banj said, after efforts to get Don Jazzy to join them on stage failed.
Meanwhile, defending his action, which has since gone viral online, Don Jazzy refuted the allegation that his action was a deliberate attempt to avoid performing alongside his former label mate.
In a series of tweets during the week, the MAVIN boss maintained that he had left the venue before D’banj mounted the stage to perform. He claimed that he had performed alongside D’banj about three times in the last one year.
According to him, “I have performed alongside D’banj about three times in the last one year. Moreover, I had left the venue way before D’banj’s performance. I already announced that I am taking a break from being an artist. Hence, I didn’t perform “Surulere” with Dr Sid and “Concur” with Timaya.”
In as much as it would be difficult to exonerate Don Jazzy from blame, there were incidences in the recent past that pointed to the fact that the former label mates were not ready to give their fans a welcome surprise. It would be recalled that 2face among others once urged the former business partners to bury their hatchet and come together to do a duet to silence their critics.
Also, last year, D’banj hinted that he would be dropping a new song with Don Jazzy as their first collaboration since they rested Mo’Hits. But till date, that has not happened.
Beauty queens, Jeffrey Daniels, 2Baba, others pay tribute to Ben Bruce
It was also a pay back time for Ben Murray-Bruce as top Nigerian musicians took turns to celebrate the showbiz icon, who has done a lot for the entertainment industry at no cost.
On-Air Personality, IK Osakioduwa and comedian Bovi took the centre stage as comperes after the book presentation session which was anchored by former Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Odein Ajumogobia, who claimed that he had never anchored an event before then. The day was spiced with a medley of musical performances from artistes spanning different generations.
It was a blend of the old and young musicians who thronged the venue to celebrate the man who is known as the game changer in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
Opening the floor that night was Fuji king, Adewale Ayuba, followed by Alariwo of Africa. But it was Ras Kimono’s performance that got the audience singing along with him and dancing as he took them through the music of the ages. The Rub-a-dub master and reggae music legend rendered some of his evergreen numbers including,“Under Pressure”, “What’s Gwan?”, and the whole hall erupted with gyration.
Also, Ben Bruce’s friend of 35 years, Jeffrey Daniels of Shalamar fame relayed how Bruce was insistent on bringing top notch entertainment to Nigeria when he could have easily done his ‘thing’ in the US. He later took to the stage and gave an electrifying performance of songs of the RnB vocal group that was active in the 1970s and early 1980s, with singer Yinka Davies backing him up.
Displaying old school dance-steps, Jeffery Daniels thrilled, performing the songs that made the group famous in the 80s, “ Make That Move” and “Second Time Around.”
Other musicians that equally thrilled the audience were Ycee, 2Baba, Vector, Timaya, Olu Maintain, Ruby, Dr Sid, Sound Sultan, WizKid, MI, Jesse Jagz, Reekado Banks and Timi Dakolo. Others that turned up but didn’t perform included Teemac and Darey Art Alade and a lot of Nollywood big wigs. Reggae music legend, Majek Fashek was spotted at the event, but he did not make any stage appearance.
An excited Bruce joined Korode Bello, to dance on stage as he performed his wave making song, “God Win” which compere IK Osakioduwa revealed was specially requested by the celebrant.
The event also featured a colourful line-up of beauty queens from different countries, who presented special gifts to Bruce and wished him well in their different languages – English, French and Portuguese. SilverBird is noted for organising beauty pageants such as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN).