The first edition of the Afropolitan Vibes music festival took place last weekend, 16th &17th December, 2016. The Music festival, replaced what would have been the 43th edition of the monthly music event that has held every third Friday Freedom Park, Lagos since 2013.
Abby Ogunsaya and Ade Bantu- the brains behind Afropolitan Vibes assembled some of the best alternative music talents in Nigeria for the first Afropolitan Vibes Music festival. The festival which had urban acoustic sessions during the day and live sessions also included games, and art exhibitions.
First day of the festival kicked off with the urban session at the Kongi Harvest Gallery at Freedom Park with all female singing sensation, Adunni and Nefretiti.
The group of five women have been singing together for a decade. Leader of the group said in an interview before their session kicked off “that the aim of the group is to show the other side of music, not just the popular hip-hop genre.” Adunni and Nefretiti niche is their perfect delivery of folk songs in different dialects across Nigeria. This they did to the delight of the audience. Dressed in blue and orange flowing gowns, accessorized by colourful neck beads and their trademark pointed head scarf, Adunni & Nefretiti sang in Yoruba, bini, kalabari and during the live sessions at night they added worship songs in Urhobo. The most peculiar thing is how the ladies sang fluidly from language to language without a pause, backed by the shekere and talking drums.
Next on stage was Ayo Awosika and Mary Akpa. Ayo Awosika and Mary Akpa, who are new comers to the music scene in Nigeria.
They talked briefly about their music. For Ayo Awosika, she is fine with not being popular in Nigeria, saying “I am not here to compete with all that noise. I am not here to be the next so and so, I just want to be me” Both ladies performed together and individually, delivering soulful tunes, backed by guitar and piano keys.
Aduke graced the stage next, with her band of 3 men- a violinist, a drummer who played the tambourine and a guitarist/backup singer.
Aduke played over 5 songs, pausing in between to engage the audience. The afro-pop act has been described as Fela in female form because of the powerful criticism of government policies in her songs, but when asked by Ade Bantu during the urban session, she chuckled and said, “no, I am not Fela, I sing about societal issues because they bother me.” She sang Man is man, a song she said was inspired by the killing of blacks in the US and Leke Leke, a prayer for Nigeria.
Next after Aduke was Falana. Falana gave an amazing performance, while playing the guitar, and drums.
To close the urban session for day 1 was gospel artist, Nosa. Nosa gave an energetic performance which he also repeated during the live sessions at night, riling the audience up till everyone was dancing and singing along with him.
The second day of the Afropolitan vibes music festival took the same shape as the first, urban sessions followed by stage performances. Jinmi Abdul kicked off festival day 2, quickly followed by Kelene. One of Nigeria’s music legends 71-year-old sir Shina Bakare. During the talk with Ade Bantu, sir Shina revealed that he recorded his first album in 1968 and has released 12 albums so far. Backed by a band playing the guitar, and talking drums, Sir Shina sang over 10 songs including his hit song, na poor I poor. Sir Shina’s set was followed by Tomi Thomas, a soul singer who’s LP and EP has just been released in Dubai. Tommy did a medley of songs changing his sound from soft R n B to reggae. Global sensation, Keziah Jones closed the urban sessions performing his special genre of music he called blu funk.
The live sessions on both days of the festival took the form of the usual monthly events where guest artists performed backed by Ade Bantu and his Agbero crew. The energetic performances of the artist got the crowd dancing to old school beats as legendary acts such as Shina Ayinde Bakare, Kollington Ayinla and new like Fuji star; Saheed Osupa, General Pype, Terry Apala, and BOJ, among others.
Abby Ogunsanya and Ade Bantu successfully brought together old legendary musicians with new main stream and alternative acts to the delight of their ever faithful audience, many of whom are already anticipating the next edition of the Afropolitan vibes music festival.
Image Credit:Afropolitan Vibes Facebook Page