We’ve got a brand new, funky fresh podcast made by Folded Wing , featuring interviews from Lemi, Tony Allen, Rich Medina, Dele Sosimi, Wunmi and Ammo Talwar on the spot at Rich Mix during the first days of the exhibition, so you can get a feel of what the people involved had to say about what was happening around the Art’s Own Kind project, Lemi’s art and the Afrobeat decades and music phenomenon as well.
Listen to the Art’s Own Kind podcast HERE !
Check out Lemi decorating a very cute vintage car.
Proper pimped, I should say.
Next day after the launch, a panel discussion having the Afrobeat phenomenon as its theme took place at Rich Mix. The very special guests were Lemi Ghariokwu (of course), Tony Allen, Dele Sosimi, Wunmi and Rich Medina – key figures for the birth and development of Afrobeat. Paul Bradshaw from Straight No Chaser was the moderator of the forum.
The talk revolved around the lack of promotion of Afrobeat in today’s musical culture. Each guest has expressed his concern about the representation of African identity worldwide and how Africans themselves are now influenced by hip-hop and overlook the richness of their own cultural heritage.
Delving into subcultures and youth culture has brought up the effect social change has had over the music industry and how the genre landscape has taken shape in different countries.
You can read a review of the discussion here
Only 4 days left until the launch of Art’s Own Kind exhibition and further exciting news: Lemi arrived in the UK today! He flew to London with his wife after having a few problems with his visa. But it has been sorted and we’re ready to kick off the exhibition!
Art – Bureaucracy: 1 – 0
I will be heading down to London tonight and beginning with tomorrow will blog from Rich Mix, jungle fever live ! Woop woop
Read Cynthia Torto’s (general manager of Punch Records) exclusive account of her trip to Nigeria in January 2008 to find out about how she got in contact with Lemi, her encounter with him and what he’s like. Enjoy!
I originally was put in contact with Bisi Silva, the director of the Centre of Contemporary Art in Lagos. She curated Lemi’s latest exhibition in Lagos. The Plan was that we would bring over that exhibition and show it here. Simple right? No! Third party negotiations are always long winded and unfortunately, we were unable to come to a suitable agreement. I’m a very impatient person when it comes to things like this, so I managed to find a by-pass and I emailed Lemi directly. Luckily, I was already due to go on holiday in Ghana around that time so we made arrangements for me to come across to Lagos and talk to Lemi in person.
I’ve been to Nigeria before but never as an adult so I was really excited. I was also very keen to meet Lemi. I’d obviously read up about him and people had told me lots but I’m always keen to discover people for myself especially when they’re artists. I like to see them outside of the shield of their art too. Before I’d even left the UK I was already developing a huge amount of respect for Lemi, just from the few telephone calls and emails we’d exchanged.
To cut a long story short (cos I’m getting tired of typing!). I spent two very intense days with him but it felt like 2 – 3 months. Not in the sense that it dragged out but because I felt I had learnt so much! Lemi is a very open person. Between him picking me up from the airport, or my hotel, or the time we spent talking and going through his archive in his studio, he was very generous with his knowledge, opinions, stories and spirit. I really got a true sense of him, his work and his time with Fela Kuti. Thus I was very determined that the work that we produced should and would be about Lemi – his story, his work and his art. Historical giants like Fela Kuti can sometimes cast shadows on the people around them and Lemi and his work positively counteracts this.
We spent much of the time just talking – about life, personal inspirations, modern music, west African attitudes to life, art and of course Fela. It’s very rare to meet people who are truly themselves 100% of the time. For Lemi and his family to allow me into their lives was a great honour.
I truly left Nigeria with a fascination and love not just for Lemi but for Nigeria and the art coming out of there at the moment. It’s such a shame that so few people get to experience this.
Afrobeat: A Culture – The Edge09 Forum featuring Lemi Ghariokwu & Tony Allen
Edge09 in conjuction with BASS festival presents AFROBEAT: A CULTURE – a forum for all Afrobeat headz with a stellar panel that includes Lemi Ghariokwu (The Man responsible for Fela’s artwork), Tony Allen (Afrobeat Master drummer), Rich Medina (Jump’n’Funk NYC), Wunmi (Afrobeat Queen), Dele Sosimi (Keys/Egypt80). The discussion will be hosted by Paul Bradshaw (Edge09/Straight No Chaser). Join us and a host of invited guests to assess the global impact of Afrobeat – a culture of creativity and resistance.
Forum – Weds 10th June @ 1pm-2.30pm
Exhibition Art’s Own Kind – 8 June – 6 July 2009
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA
Get an idea about who’s going to be there watching the following videos
Check out Wunmi’s performance at London Jazz Cafe:
And here’s some sounds from the master of drums himself, Tony Allen: