Monday, 7 September 2009

It’s celebration of old and young at Nigerian music festival

THE Nigeria music scene is in upbeat fever. And in the middle of this is Ruyi Communications Ltd and MTN Nigeria. Next month, October 3 and 10, to be precise, Lagos and Owerri will shimmer to the beats that defined the country’s music from the 1960s to the millennium era. Tagged MTN Nigerian Music Festival, it will feature performances from both old and contemporary stars across diverse genres — R & B, Hip Hop, Rap, Fuji, Juju, Afro beat, Highlife, Ikwokirikwo and Reggae. At the unveiling ceremony held on August 26 at the Planet One Entertainment, Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of Ruyi Communications Ltd, Mr. Soni Irabor, who is the brain behind the festival, said, “MTN demanded for exclusivity and paid for it, which suggests the rich array of artistes that would be on show at the festival.” While giving kudos to the arrangement, the broadcaster noted that music is a language spoken by a talented few, “but understood and enjoyed by all.” He noted that the Nigerian music is rich in quality, hence, “we seek to celebrate this aspect of the country’s heritage for the enjoyment of the young and old.” Irabor said this is the first time the Nigerian music scene would be witnessing a blend of over 25 contemporary Nigerian artistes including old school acts. “The show is expected to be a massive, open air concert-like event. There is no doubt that MTN Nigeria, in its traditional way of promoting such initiatives, will leave no stone unturned in giving the audience a massive, glitzy and memorable musical festival,” Irabor said. According to the president of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Dele Abiodun, history is being made by the gesture. “It is going to be a greater success considering the participation of all stakeholders.” The PMAN president believes that by the time the second edition comes, it is going to be a worldwide event. An opinion also expressed by the veteran artiste, Fatai Rolling Dollar. The Won Kere Sinoba crooner, while commending the organisers, reeled out a fervent hope that more would be done next year to make the Nigerian music the sought after in the world. Dr. Victor Uwaifo added humour to the excitement in the air, when he noted, “I’ve not played obituary in my life or played outside.” To him, what MTN and Soni Irabor have done in the making of the festival is commendable. “It is a thing of joy to have all perform together,” he said. “I’m the guitar man and you should be ready to see the guitar that revolves.” Also speaking, Adesola Idowu, popularly known as Weird MC said it was a privilege to be part of the celebration that honours creativity. According to her, the festival is a platform for the old and new artistes to come together towards creating desired standard for the industry. In her words, “I’m really looking forward to it.” For Duncan Mighty, “this is the beginning of Nigerian entertainers coming together.” Also speaking on the festival, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade said, “his company strongly believes in enriching the lives of its subscribers by living their passion and bringing them activities that will continually put smiles on their faces.” For industry watchers, the music festival is an opportunity for the young artiste to learn from the older generation. Only in July, the Committee of Relevant Art had organised a Hip-Hop Conference in Lagos, which was the climax of the Great Music Debate that ran for about four weeks in The Guardian. In fact, many expected a kind of showdown! The event, which saw a large gathering of hip hop enthusiasts, was used to set agenda for the artistes and also to create a platform for dialogue for hip hop culture stakeholders — artists, producers and listeners Anchored by the youthful Tosyn Bucknor of Top Radio, Chris Ihidero of MADE and Steve ‘Yaw’ Onu of Wazobia FM. Music legends such as Sir Victor Uwaifo, Christy Essien-Igbokwe, Victor Olaiya, Shina Peters, K1, as well as Wande Coal, DJ Zeez, Tuface, Bracket, Faze, Nigga Raw, Muma Gee, Ara,Felix Udo, Mariyam, Duncan Mighty, Weird MC, Yemi Sax, Sound Sultan, Timaya, among others will add fun and glamour to the music festival.

Tuface leads Naija artistes to MAMA
MTV and Zain have released names of contenders for the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA). The nominees, from across the continent’s contemporary music spectrum, were revealed by Alex Okosi, MD, MTV Networks Africa and Mwambu Wanendeya, Zain’s Group Communications Director (Africa) at a star-studded bash at The Loft in Nairobi, Kenya.
Already, big names in African music are gearing up to the battle as South African, Nigerian and Kenyan artistes make a big impact on the list.
South Africa and Nigerian artistes got 15 nominations, while Kenya achieved 6 nominations; best tally yet for the East African nation and host country for the upcoming 2009 event.
Tuface got the highest nominations from the MAMA Academy including the Best Male, Artiste of the Year, Best Video and Best R&B.
Hot on his heels were South Africa’s HHP, Kenya’s Nameless and fellow Nigerian, D’Banj, who are each nominated in three categories.
South Africa Afro Soul goddess Lira, who is scheduled to perform at the awards, topped the list of female nominees, earning two nods for Best Female and Artist of the Year. Other contenders in a strong Best Female line-up include Kel (Nigeria), Amani (Kenya), Zamajobe (South Africa) and Lizha James (Mozambique).
Uganda and Tanzania made a strong showing, contributing 5 nominations between them including two accolades for Ugandan female trio Blu*3 (Best Performer, Best Group) and a Best Video nomination for XOD - I Want You Back. Tanzanian artists were recognised in two categories including Best New Act (Shaa) and Best Hip-Hop (A.Y.). Ghanaian star Samini is a hot contender in the Best Performer category after narrowly missing out to Jozi in the Best Live category in the 2008 Awards.
Up-and-coming artists commended by the Academy for the first time include Best New Act nominees M.I. (Nigeria), Shaa (Tanzania), STL (Kenya), Bigiano (Nigeria) and Rhythmic Elements (South Africa). Namibia, too, gets its first ever mention in the MAMA nominee list for Namibian R&B duo Gal Level who are pitted against Blu*3 (Uganda), Gang of Instrumentals (South Africa), P-Square (Nigeria) and Mo Hits All Stars (Nigeria) in the Best Group category.
South Africa dominated the Best Alternative category with nominations for Cassette, Zebra & Giraffe and Aking - going up against Green Day and Coldplay.
Kenyan husband and wife Nameless and Wahu made the MAMA 2009 a family affair - between them earning 4 awards nominations including a Best Male nomination for Nameless and a Best Video nomination for Wahu for her collaboration with Uganda’s Bobi Wine on Little Things You Do.
The enduring appeal of the US and British music, showed itself in the nomination of five US artists and one British band in the Awards. Kanye West, Akon, Beyonce, Green Day, Jay-Z and Coldplay all received one ‘nod’ each.
The winners of the MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain will be unveiled on 10 October 2009 at the Indoor Arena, Moi International Sports Centre, Nairobi, Kenya. The broadcast of the show, hosted by hip hop legend Wyclef Jean, and featuring performances by Wyclef Jean, Lira, M.I., Samini and Wahu, will air to a potential TV audience of 1 billion viewers around the world, via African pay-TV channel MTV base (DStv Channel 322), MTV partner networks around the world and African terrestrial channels including RTGA (Democratic Republic of the Congo), TV3 (Ghana), CTV (Kenya), AIT (Nigeria), STV (Nigeria), TBC 1 (Tanzania), ZNBC (Zambia) and WBS (Uganda), from October 17.

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