(Someone requested The Doves' The Lord is My Shepherd in the comments, but it might be a while before I can rip that... So I hope this does the trick for now.)
Like The Apostles, The Doves (or The Doves of Calabar) were frequently invoked sans the The in their name, bestowing them with a certain ethereal aura (and potentially engendering latter-day confusion with a really deck English rock band).
Also like The Apostles, I thought they were a gospel group for a while--but I think I can get a pass on that account because most of their songs did feature a strong spiritual redolence in both music and lyrics. Harmonically and melodically, they were driven by a slightly melancholic undertow, and the vocals had a certain shrillness to them that was characteristic of the Nigerian Christian music of the time.
This is some Sunday afternoon music. Like when you'd come home from Sunday school and gobble down your lunch and run over to your best friend's house and push the doorbell, but nobody would answer. So you'd push it again and still nobody would answer. You'd know someone was home, though, because you could hear muffled voices and wah wah wah sounds coming from within.
So you'd take a deep breath and ring the bell a third time. The door would swing open and you'd instantly regret it; there's your friend's mother, still dressed in her church clothes but her eyes flaring with distinctly unChristian contempt.
Da, my friend, why are you ringing my bell anyhow! she'd spit.
You'd probably been hoping your best friend's brother, or at least the housegirl would answer the door, but his mother? Negotiating a conversation with other people's parents can be like trying to defuse a ticking bomb; trip the wrong circuit and you're blown to smithereens.
Sorry, ma! you'd quickly gulp.
Good afternoon, ma! you'd nervously add after a moment, making sure to sound off the salutation loud and clear because you remembered that the first time you met your friend's mother--when you came over to collaborate on a Geography homework project--she'd hadn't heard you greet her good afternoon and your friend later told you that his mother didn't like you because she'd felt you lacked home training.
What are you looking for! she'd bark.
You'd ask her if it was okay for your friend to come out and play, adopting that supplicating manner that parents seemed to find so satisfying. Behind her, you can see a few grownups in the parlour, drinking Champion ("The beer for winners! Have a Champ, BE a Champ!") out of dimpled-glass steins, and chortling in Annang. You notice that the wah wah wah you heard earlier comes from the TV: the day's transmission hasn't yet started and the screen beams out the vivid color bars of a test pattern, overlaid with keening, plaintive music.
He is eating! your best friend's mother snaps. Wait here on the verandah! We have guests!
So you'd sit on the verandah and wait.
After a while, your friend would come out, his hand crusted with eba and afang soup, saying Hold on let me wash my hand and come!
While you wait for him to return, it might occur to you guys have been best friends for a long time--almost two years--and he practically lives at your house. He's cool with your parents, he eats lunch at your house on schooldays, he watches CHiPs with you on Saturday afternoon, running around the living room pretending to be Ponch & Jon and jumping all up on your mom's good furniture. And yet, in all that time, you've never actually set foot in his house. (Not counting the two or three times you were allowed to sneak into the kitchen through the back door to drink a glass of ice water between backyard sessions of "Police & Thief.") You're always waiting on the verandah.
The door opens and you hear your best friend talking to his mother in Annang. Years later, when you remember this scene, you might recall that as your best friend closed the door behind him, his mother muttered something about unege--the word by which they disparagingly refer to the Igbos, a tribe that many Nigerians view as the repository of most of the world's venality and duplicity. A tribe that, coincidentally, you happen to belong to.
But this probably won't resonate with you for a few more years. At the moment, you're just hoping that your best friend has at least tried to explain to his mother that you actually did say good afternoon to her that day of the Geography assignment but she didn't hear you because she was busy yelling at the driver for leaving the gate open.
You'd feel your best friend's damp hand smack you on the back as he shouted Okay, let's play CI5! And then he'd run down the steps trumpeting the theme from The Professionals.
You'd watch him racing down the street, steering an imaginary Ford Capri. After a moment, you'd run after him.
In the scenario outlined above, the music playing over the test pattern on the TV in the parlour would have probably been from The Doves' I Seek To Know This World.
The Doves - "Strange Land"
The Doves - "I Shall Be Free"
The Doves - "Lawrence Rest In Peace"