Think great contemporary highlife music, think the musical group named ‘The Cavemen’.
Taking the road less traveled is no easy journey especially when it comes to making music. In this day and age when Afropop is the main genre of music in the country, why would any artiste bother about trying out anything different ‘Abi e wan make music for only him and him family?’
Well, our artist of the week– ‘The cavemen’ haven’t only decided to try out a different genre called Highlife fusion, but have also succeeded in building a great fan base and making songs that have charted alongside Afropop songs on musical countdowns.
However, the genre– Highlife or Hi-life isn’t new to African music, as the likes of Oliver De Coque, Osadebe, Rex Lawson were major pionners in the late 60’s and 70’s. The cavemen have now taken the genre a bit further by fusing it with other genres to produce magic.
In all, be sure that listening to music from The cavemen will most definitely send you to a destination of palmwine, relaxation, and every other form of nostalgia.
Who Are The Cavemen?
The Cavemen is an‘Afrocentric influenced’ band founded by two brothers Kingsley Okorie and Benjamin James Okorie both under age 25. Together, they play their own genre called Highlife Fusion which combines afrobeats, highlife, jazz and soul music.
Kingsley and Benjamin grew up in a home where neither of their parents were singers nor did they listen to highlife. Their mum played a lot of gospel. While their dad was an avid listener of ABBA, Westlife and Michael Jackson. But luckily for them, their family driver was Oliver De Coque’s biggest fan. And the two brothers with their other siblings listened to him a lot.” This informed the music they presently make.
The Okorie brothers found joy in making music as young instrumentalists at church. While Benjamin stuck with the drums, Kingsley learnt other instruments like the keyboard and bass. Benjamin was lucky to later attend Peter Kings music college, Badagry. Kingsley, on the other hand, went off to study law in Kano State.
However, Kingsley going to law school did not deter the brothers from eventually becoming a band. The duo recount in an interview: “I guess we were a band even during our church days. I mean we did – and still do everything together,” he says fondly of their bond. “Making music with Benjamin is special. It’s surreal. We were teammates before we were bandmates. Our connection is so natural.”
When the brothers reunited after their studies, they formed The cavemen in March 2018 but first, they were ‘Knote and The Cavemen’ – Kingsley is Knote. Then, they became Cavemen Music. In the final quarter 2017, Kingsley had his call-to-bar ceremony in Abuja, and it coincided with The Cavemen’s first major performance at Tamari Festival.Since then, they have developed their craft by playing with established artists such as Asa, Bez, Onyeka Onwenu, and very recently with a favourite collaborator of theirs, alte singer Lady Donli. The brothers were producers on her 2019 debut album, ‘Enjoy Your Life’.
On August 21 2020, the Cavemen released their debut album titled R.O.O.T.S. A 16 track album preceded by the singles- ‘Akaraka’, ‘Osondu’, ‘Anita’, ‘Bolo Bolo’, and ‘Me you, I’. Co-executive produced by Lady Donli whom they helped out with her album earlier on. According to the duo, making ‘R.O.O.T.S’ was a two-year process that included other Okorie siblings Mercy and Emmanuel.
“When creating music, my brother and I try not to limit ourselves. I think you can tell from ‘Ifeoma Odoo’ – it is the one song on the album that I’d say is ingenious, not to be boastful!” This track is noteworthy for its imitation of the endearingly crackling sounds you hear when listening to vinyl records. “It was BigFootInYourFace that did the mixing. He saw the intention and just went for it. While recording, Benjamin, Emmanuel, and I had to circle the mic as we all sang to achieve the muffled sound.” Kingsley recounts in an interview.
One very weird thing about this band is the fact that they cannot really speak the Igbo language as much as they sing in it. And listerners like the writer of this article barley understand the igbo language but have listened to the album over a thousand times. Lol that’s the beauty of music.
As the Cavemen strive to carve a niche for themselves in the music industry with an unfamiliar genre, we can only hope that they stay winning.
Grab a glass of palmwine and let’s make a toast to good music.