Mbarga was born on January 1, 1950 and died June 24, 1997 in a motorcycle accident. His mother was Nigerian and his father was from Cameroon.
Sweet Mother, which was sung in Pidgin English was recorded in 1974 with Mbarga and his band Rocafil Jazz. According to the website NigeriaExchange, EMI turned down the demo-tape of Sweet Mother in 1974 because it was too childish. However, when it was released two years later it became, and remains, a big hit.
It became one of the top sellers in Nigeria’s history of music. He even named one of the hotel he owned at the time, Sweet Mother Hotel after his song. Sweet Mother celebrates motherhood, and it goes beyond the lyrics of the song to the musicianship. There’s just something about that guitar!
On December 31, 2004, Sweet Mother was named “African’s Anthem” by BBC News. Till today, it’s still recognized as African’s Anthem. Enjoy listening to this classic!