Legendary Igbo traditionalist and high life music exponent, Ichie Mezuo Pericomo Okoye, Arusi Makaja 1, aka Perikoma has passed on. The great Iroko of Igbo land, as he is sometimes referred, was said to have died recently and will be buried on Thursday, 16th February. His death was announced on Facebook by Onyelike Achiever Darlington.
Perikoma, during his life time was prominent for upholding the Igbo culture and tradition through his music and various other activities which was promoted through the annual Ikeji cultural festival in Arondizuogu, where he exhibited various supernatural displays purportedly aided by spiritual powers and this had become a major tourist attraction for the Arondizuogu people, as people travel from far and near, annually to witness this exponential cultural event with Chie Perikoma Okoye as the major attraction.
One of Chief Perikoma’s most prominent display of supernatural powers, was during an incident that happened in Onitsha, during the days of local tax collectors, who had confronted him to produce his tax receipt, when he failed to produce same, they ordered him to follow them to their office, an instruction he refused to obey, this prompted the angry officials to carry him on their shoulders purportedly taking him to their office, but what followed after that was beyond the tax collector and passersby who had come to intervene, because the two men that lifted Chief Perikoma could not move an inch from the spot where they carried him, neither could they drop him down. This was said to have generated a lot of anxiety because every appeal to Chief Perikoma to let go of the men fell on deaf ears and people watched helplessly for several hours until the visibly angry Perikoma instructed them on the necessary sacrifices to do to appease his spirit before he came down and released the already petrified young men that were carrying him. This singular episode was said to have reduced the activities of overzealous tax collectors in Onitsha.
Pericoma is no doubt a walking library of Igbo history, ideas and culture. His music is best described as oral rendition of rarefied Igbo history. And as typical with the Igbo tradition of storytelling through songs; there is plenty for the curious to learn. Every sentence is layered with meanings that befuddles the ignorant, but intended as beacons for the intelligent.
Some of his prominent tracks are; High Tension, Ikeji Izuogu, Obodo Aghoka, Igatakwuteya aja, etc. His death is a very big loss to the Igbo cultural and traditional institution, may his soul rest in peace.