A Prelude To An Engagement
Hometown is blessed with a hopscotch of minstrels: singers with voices as mellifluous as the Great River at dawn, dancers with legs that lope like rubber, instrumentalists who stretch the abilities of their crude tools ad infinitum; name them. But of the entire rabble the singers Tatuletu and Nnedi stood out like the proverbial poplar amidst shrubs. While Tatu, as all in the land had learnt to abbreviate his name, represented the quintessential male timbre, Nnedi’s was its female equivalent per excellence. So it was that their fame grew with each successive feasting season as they thrilled audiences to stupefaction which each successive performance.
And it came to pass that Okwuchukwu the hard of hearing oculist was arranging his son’s wedding feast at the time. He was busy harnessing all the resources he would need to make the event as grand as possible. Though he could hardly hear, it had no impediments on his abilities to make his people merry. Much less when he was finding a wife for his son and heir.
“Who will sing at the conclusion of your son’s marriage rites?” Chukwueke his good friend shouted into his left ear. By rote each time the two friends were together, he sat nearer to it to force the advantage. Like it was, they were at their usual evenings together.
“Who else but Tatu, the son of Ediamamba,” he replied in his usual raised voice. It is believed that he always talks loud so as to hear himself. “I hear he is the most wanted these days.”
“Him alone?” Chukwueke asked, the added frown on his wrinkled face giving him an appearance more grotesque than its original unprepossessing propensity.
“Are you engaging only him?” Chukwueke who had forgotten to raise his voice adequately enough repeated.
“Who should I call again?” Okwuchukwu wondered out loud. The truth was that his hearing deficiency had wilted down his love for aural entertainment and thus, he did not follow the current trends like he should.
“His singing will not be as spellbinding without a soft female one that’ll mesh it at its most jarring crescendos,” the friend expatiated.
“Do you have any performer in mind?” Okwuchukwu implored.
“Of course,” Chukwueke retorted as if by rote. “Nnedi, the daughter of Njanma the Kind. With the duo of them people will scarcely be spared time to ask for more helpings of food and drink.
“I thought she mostly sings at female occasions where men are few and in between? When has she graduated to singing where the men of the land abound?”
“Do you know anything?” Chukwueke teased his friend as he was wont. “You will ever turn your side to the softer side of life.”
“Please yourself. But how do I get to her?”
“That should not be a problem with me around. I will arrange her for you.”
The friends spent the rest of the evening like they always did - over a pot of wine each alternately provided at his domicile.