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Valedictory dance for The Handsome Mbalagh

Activities marking the relocation of the 85-year old great Tiv entertainment legend, Neeryum Kaor, better known as Udoo Mbalagh, reached a climax last Thursday with a valedictory dance in his honor.

The Benue State Council for Arts and Culture staged the Ngighngigh Dance which the artiste invented decades ago while performing in Kaduna.

The event took place at the Aminu Isah Kontagora Arts Theater Complex in Makurdi.

The handsome Mbalagh whose nick name has eclipsed his real name stepped into the circle of dancers and attempted to dance as in yesterday years.

But he did that for only a few minutes and complained of waist pain certainly on account of both lack of rehearsal and old age.

After performing in Gboko, Lagos and Kaduna for decades he was recruited into the services of the council where he served for about 20 years and retired in 2017.

His demobilization process included spiritual counselling by Evangelist Obadiah Orkor, his contemporary, who gave his life to Jesus Christ in 1997 and has since become full time Christian worker and composer of sacred songs.

Evangelist Orkor urged his old time associate to dedicate the rest of his life to God and serve him for the remaining period.

Neeryum Kaor has decided to relocate from Makurdi to Jingir, his village in Tombo community of Buruku local government area.

He is now one of the oldest men in the entire Mbalagh.

He stated that he was born on Sunday, second February, 1936 and was sure of the date because his father who was a World World 1 veteran recorded the birth of his children.

The handsome Mbalagh said he was the eighth, and only survivor, of nine children of his mother, Mbazan Ijov, from Ipav in Gboko local government area.

He said when the last of his siblings who was the ninth child died, his maternal grand father, Ijov Anom, moved him and his mother back to his place in Ipav.

The artiste said it was one of his maternal relatives that initiated him into singing so that he could mourn the death of his siblings in the company of people so that he would not feel lonely.

He said he formally rejoined his kith and kin in Mbalagh in 1981 after the death of his father and when he became the head of the family.

Neeryum Kaor stated that the demands on him to arbitrate in matters as one of the eldest in the district and the pressure from his wife who is in the village made his relocation imperative.

But he declined the offer of the Arts Council to escort him with fanfare and preferred a visit and celebration after he settled down.

For Neeryum Kaor, alias Udoo Mbalagh, today, Saturday, 20th March, 2021 is relocation day.

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