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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Remembering the late Sam Loco, his musical career

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Most people remember Samuel Arase Efeimwonkiyeke, better known as Loco Sam, as the legendary actor whose slapstick comedy talent graced Nigerian screens for decades.

However, there is a lesser-known facet of this beloved icon: beyond being an actor, he was also a singer.

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Thirteen years ago, Sam Loco passed away at the Rapour Hotel in Owerri, Imo State, at the age of 66.

Just before his death, he had finished filming a new film, “The Unknown Prophet,” and had moved to Owerri to begin editing.

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Sam Loco’s acting career began in 1960 with his lead role as ‘Akarogun’ in Wale Ogunyemi’s “Langbodo” at FESTAC ’77, which he described as his first well-paid job.

He recorded his first big break with the drama club of Government College, Afikpo, where he wrote, produced, directed and starred in his first play, “Vendetta”, which earned him a scholarship and set him on the path to stardom.

Beyond his celebrated acting career, Sam Loco was a man of many talents.

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After high school, he joined a traveling theater group and played soccer, earning the nickname “Locomotive,” which was later shortened to “Madman.”

He played for ECN Football Club and Leventis Football Club, founded the short-lived Sam Loco Production Company in 1979 and joined the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), where he became head of the drama department.

Although he gained admission to study Political Science at the University of Ibadan in 1971, he opted to pursue a career in sales before returning to theatre.

Sam Loco appeared in more than 500 films and stage productions, including “Things Fall Apart,” “Tom and Jerry,” “I’ll Take My Chances” and “Osuofia in London.”

But beyond all these feats, the late veteran actor also tried his hand at music.

Musical career

Not many would know about Sam Loco’s musical career.

The late veteran, famous for his comedic roles, briefly explored a musical career in 2005, adding another dimension to his legacy of laughter and entertainment.

Unlike the musical successes of his peers such as Nkem Owoh, Patience Ozokwor and Mr Ibu, Sam Loco’s album did not achieve widespread fame.

Sam Loco released his medley in 2005.

A medley is a piece of music that combines parts of different songs, usually three or more; It often has a symphony of sounds that follow one after another, sometimes overlapping.

Medleys were very common in the early 2000s.

Produced and marketed by Juliek Musik Nig. Ltd. and directed by Azubuike Ezenwa and Femi Abatan, the album included songs such as “Ego”, “Igwe”, “Eyimba”, “Sam Locomotion”, “Eyim”, “Anything”, “WASEC” and “If You See a my landlord.”

In an introductory video, Sam Loco noted: “Acting is quite different. This is pure music”, and it was indeed different.

His songs ranged from tributes to the Enyimba football club and expressions of faith to thanks to his teammates and satirical pieces.

READ ALSO: OBITUARY: Mr Ibu: Much loved Nollywood actor retires

Their songs, mostly sung in Igbo and Nigerian Pidgin, featured simple, catchy lyrics with danceable rhythms. These tracks, characterized by repeated verses, flowed seamlessly into each other,” a popular style at the time.

Beyond music and acting, Sam Loco contributed to the arts by helping to establish acting schools in Uganda and Gambia.

Before his unexpected death on August 8, 2011, he had planned to retire and start farming on a large scale in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

He was buried on October 21, 2011 in Benin City, Edo State, and is survived by six children.

Here are some of their songs

Sam Loco Efe – Ego (Official Video) (youtube.com)

Sam Loco Efe – Igwe (Official Video) (youtube.com)

Sam Loco Efe – Anything (Official Video) – YouTube

Sam Loco Efe – WAEC (Official Video) (youtube.com)

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