Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

To Scatter an Area

June 5th, 2012 · 5 Comments


I am no great authority on Igbo music, but I think it’s safe to say that Area Scatter was one of the genre’s very few transvestite thumb pianists. The gender-bending was integral to his rock-star mythology, as detailed in Beats of the Heart:

His home was filled with bones and skulls and paintings of the power of good and evil. A muscular, humorous man, he explained how, after living through the civil war, he had gone into the wilderness for seven months and seven days and had reappeared transformed into a woman. The day we visited him he headed off, dressed in white smock, polka-dot skirt and a shamanist bone necklace, to the residence of his Royal Highness Eonunnoke to play for the local king and queen.

The clip above seems to be the only surviving video of Area Scatter, but John Beadle’s post has links to several songs. It also has this explanation of the musician’s unusual moniker, as provided by a Nigerian reader:

Area Scatter, the name, denotes eccentricity. As I discussed in one of the Nigerian forums, in those days and even now, cross dressing was/is unimaginable in Igbo land. Not only did this man cross dress, he did it boldly and proudly. To scatter an area means to turn an area upside down. He must have considered himself a revolutionary and the best way to sum that up was by choosing Area Scatter for a name.

Consider “to scatter an area” added to the list of idioms I shall henceforth be employing on Microkhan. Only those fortunate enough to have read this post will have the vaguest notion of what I’m talking abut.

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