To take it statistically, one out of four Africans is Nigerian. Also, Nigeria is the 8th most populous country in the world. And when it comes to its inhabitants, it might be interesting to know that more than 20 % of the total Black population lives in Nigeria, which makes it one of the most representative countries for African culture.
Where there’s man (and there are 148 million souls in Nigeria! ), there’s a place to find art, as it is a marker of man’s presence. Thus, Nigeria, comprising almost 250 ethnical groups with their own languages and customs, of which the largest are Fulani/Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, offers us a space to explore artistic and cultural diversity in its utmost richness, exotism and irresistible attraction to ‘roots’ culture. By the predictions of the United Nations, Nigeria will be one of the countries that will account for most of the world’s population increase by 2050, so Nigeria 50 is a project which offers you the opportunity to delve into the creative spirit and mentality of a quickly expanding and developing nation. Nigeria 50 is a cultural event, bringing the best of Nigerian culture – passionate, political, shocking and sexy – to fresh and eager audiences worldwide.
For the very first time the fruits of five decades of music, art, fashion, writing and style from Africa’s most exciting nation will be on tour together with twenty venues are already confirmed, in cities all across the UK and also in international locations as diverse as New York, Tokyo, Paris, Cape Town and of course Lagos, where it all began. Nigeria 50 is modelled on Fela Kuti’s super groups, Africa 70 and Egypt 80, that gave birth to the Afrobeat phenomenon, featuring performances and tributes by many of the greatest international legends in Afrobeat history. These will include Dele Sosismi, Tony Allen and Wunmi. This unique tour of superstars will be accompanied the smash hit exhibition of Nigerian album images – “Art’s Own Kind” by Lemi Ghariokwu.
For more information check out the Punch website !
So here is the Art’s Own Kind footage from the Panel discussion entitled Afrobeat: A Culture , with Lemi Ghariokwu, Tony Allen, Dele Sosimi, Wunmi and Rich Medina, moderated by Paul Bradshaw at Rich Mix. Enjoy!
Click here for part 2/8 and then scroll down for the rest of the videos.
Here is the Wahala show edition which focuses on Afrobeat and the Art of Lemi Ghariokwu, filmed on location at Rich Mix during the first days of the Art’s Own Kind exhibition! Click HERE to watch the show.
WAHALA went down the RICH MIX in East London to investigate and capture the raw energy of this amaizing gathering of world-class AFRO talent in London: We meet and greet musicians Dele Sosimi, Philladelphia DJ Rich Medina, recording artist/singer/dancer Wunmi and legendary artist Ghariokwu Lemi and drummer extrordinaire Tony Allen. The event was organised by PUNCH RECORDS. A Birmingham based organisation pushing the boundaries of black culture in the UK.
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 !
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
Art’s Own Kind launch on Tuesday evening was a big success: many people came to see Lemi’s art, enjoyed themselves, danced like mad to the Afrobeat played by Rich Medina, Dele Sosimi and Tony Allen’s bands and also got the unique chance of watching Lemi (accompanied on stage by his beautiful ‘angel’ girls) deliver a speech about his art and then talk to him in person.
Check out Ammo’s original African outfit!
Dele Sosimi, former member of Fela’s band Egypt 80, and his band warmed up the atmosphere, bringing pure Afrobeat vibes.
Rich Medina, NY’s Jump and Funk host, added the bass to the madness back to back with his 16 months old son who already is an Afrobeat initiate, adding to Dele Sosimi’s performance by playing the drumsticks on the speakers right on the rythim!
By the time Tony Allen (former member of Fela’s Afrika 70) became king of the stage everyone was up and dancing, in front of the stage, and also upstairs, where Lemi originals brought from Nigeria were displayed and out for sale on the launch evening only.
It was a great (late) evening and if you were there and took some photos you’d like to share please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put them up.
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: