As a refreshing interlude to the serious intellectual conversations at the recently concluded 16th Lagos Book and Art Festival held at the cultural hotspot Freedom Park, a festival party was organized. The party was to celebrate several literary and cultural icons namely Wole Soyinka at 80, Ayo Banjo at 80, Adegboyega Arulogun at 80, El Anatsui at 70,Olatunji Dare at 70 and Ben Tomoloju at 60.
The event curated by Inspiro productions had 3 phenomenal NAIJAZZ musicians on parade whose performances excited the audience for about 3 hours with classical and contemporary Jazz, Highlife and Pop tunes. It started with guitar sensation Adeh who was making his second appearance at the festival and he didn’t disappoint with his contemporary remake of evergreen Juju, highlife and popular classics from living legends like Ebenezer Obey, Dr. Victor Olaiya and Sir. Victor Uwaifo. His fusion of this and Naija Hiphop sounds got the crowd on their feet dancing away.
The tempo changed as touring Holland based Nigerian International Acoustic Jazz guitarist Adedeji Adetayo who was in the country to launch his latest album made a cameo appearance and played two tracks ‘Binanjo’ and ‘Erin Lakatabu’ from the aforementioned album titled ‘Ajo’. Deji as he is fondly called added spice to the party with these deep spiritual Yoruba folklore songs that had a recognizable twist of Jazz, Folk, Funk and Highlife influences. The musician also showed strong vocal prowess as he sang in accompaniment to his acoustic guitar play.
Victor Ademofe the multi-instrumentalist and composer closed the show. He played tracks from his debut album ‘Jehovah’ and some of his yet to be released Jazz and highlife pieces . The ambidextrous musician was in his usual energetic element moving from his trumpet to percussions with ease and also conducting his 8 piece band which included a three piece pure brass section.
The Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) is on its 16th edition and is organized by the Committee For Relevant Art (CORA) with this year’s edition in honour of Africa first Nobel Laureate in Literature Professor Wole Soyinka.
Meanwhile, about a year after his stellar performances at the Bayelsa International Jazz festival and NAIJAZZ festivals, Holland based Nigerian International guitar sensation was back in Nigeria to launch and in his words bring closure to his album ‘Ajo’ which has had him tour all over Europe playing at various venues.
The event was held at the Ayo Bankole Centre for Arts in Surulere Lagos and the turn-out in terms of both fellow musicians and well wishers attested to his popularity as a Jazz musician and his versatility on his chosen instrument – the semi acoustic electric guitar.
Deji who is also a strong vocalist performed most of the songs on his 11 track album accompanied at various intervals with a star studded band of musicians of the Jazz and Highlife genres, these included in his five piece brass section – Segun Atoyebi, Dotun Bankole, Victor Ademofe, Taiwo Clegg and Femi Slide. Biodun kuti and his brother Kehinde kept vigil on the rhythm and bass guitars respectively while Mike Oloyede was present on drums with Samuel Obinna was on percussions/talking drums and Mark on Piano.
The team of Biodun Batik, Saxtee, Seun Owoaje and Ayo Bankole were at intervals called on to guest on several tracks where they were perceived to be masters. The 5-piece female Folk group Adunni Nerfetitti also lent their sonorous voices to support to several of the tunes.
The event was supported by The British Council, Inspiro productions, ArtsXII. Deji is currently in the studio working on his next album.