Enyi Biafra: Regimental Drill, Duty Songs, and Cadences from Biafra

This is an unusual songbook in many respects. In the sense that it presents the voice of the Other Ranks from Biafra, the songbook is unusual. Unlike most war and liberation songbooks the book contains musical notation and transcripts of the sung texts as well as the meanings and relevance of the songs. The writer, who rose from private to the rank of a Sergeant in the Biafran Army, weaves ethnographic and personal experience narratives around popular regimental drill and duty songs from Biafra. It is not often that one gets the chance to hear the members of the Other Ranks tell their own part of the stories of the wars they fought. That is another why in which this songbook is unique. It is also different in yet another way: The target audience is the Biafran recruits, privates, and corporals who fought the war together with the greater Igbo speaking peoples of Nigeria who experienced the events that led to Biafra, suffered in Biafra, and still faces, as a people, constant threats and absence of justice in contemporary Nigeria. Even though it is short, it captures the Biafran saga—good, bad, and ugly. 


Of all that I have read on the Biafran War – and I have read many of them –  none made me laugh, bit my fist on my chest, think, sob and cry, all at the same time as much as Dr. Kalu’s Enyi Biarfa”

—Dr Chukwuemeka Uche.

about the author

J. Akuma-Kalu Njoku (Biafra Army #7667) has a BA in music from the University of Nigeria, MA in Historical Musicology from Michigan State University, and two PhDs in Ethnomusicology and Folklore from Indiana University with PhD minors in Anthropology and African Studies. Since 1992 Njoku has been teaching courses in World Music, Folklore, Ethnomusicology, and Peoples and Cultures of Africa at Western Kentucky University.

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