After three days of deliberations centered on Nigeria’s ailing economy, the Terra Kulture Troupe produced by Bolanle Austin Peters, treated participants at the 2016 Standard Bank West Africa Investors Conference, to the best of Nigerian music and dance. Entitled Call Back, the Broadway-style musical theatre production showcased the arts and culture to Nigeria’s to the investors, who converged from different part of the sub-region.
Having spent days discussing business opportunities in Nigeria under the theme Unlocking Nigeria’s potential…growth through diversification, the perfromance was just a perfect way to wrap up the sessions, as well as see the other side of Nigeria that has remained strong and viable, despite the current economic challenges.
As soon as the anchor ushered the troupe in, Ycee’s Jagaban rented the air, as the cast made their way dramatically unto the stage, while the live band provided backup. The piece was centered on audition, with renowned actor Bimbo Manuel as the director, whose job was to select the best from talents that made to the finale. However, it was all about music and dance.
From Lion King tunes to opera, Lagbaja’s Africalypso and some popular Nigerian hip-hop tracks, the cast dressed in colourful costumes, held the audience spellbound with their electrifying performances that earn them rounds of applause from guests, who were still decked in their conference outfits.
Though the eventual finalists in the audition supervised by Bimbo gave good accounts of themselves during the individual displays, it was the rejected 12 contestants led by a character known as Badoo that won the director’s heart, after they forced their way unto the stage.
All dressed in traditional Nigerian outfits, their final dance routines represented the three major tribes in Nigeria, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Indeed, it was an energetic dance that saw bata, atilogwu and some Hausa dance steps live on stage, with stunts at intervals.
Impressed by their overall display, Bimbo ended up selecting all the contestants for the big show. Obviously excited, the contestants danced to Tekno’s popular song, Wash, before taking a final bow. Written by Tunde Babalola, the piece was directed by Bolanle Austin Peters, who also produced the musical.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time Standard Bank (otherwise called Stanbic IBTC in Nigeria) will be identifying with Nigeria’s arts sector; it has become a sort of tradition in recent time to end their business session on a musical note.
Last year, the bank, which has greatly support the arts in South Africa, during it’s 2015 West Africa Investors’ Conference, hosted an event tagged Fine Arts and The Acts. Staged at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos, the show brought to the fore the belief that art – a true reflection of a people’s cultural heritage, not oil, gold or any other natural resource, is a nation’s most precious heritage.
At the event, guests from all walks of life were treated to the impressive works of two prominent Nigerians, Mr. Adedotun Suleiman and Mr. Fola Adeola, who highlighted the social value of arts, the cultural realisation it elicits and the historical recognition it bestows. In addition, the art works of two prominent Nigerian artists, Professor Bruce Onabrakpeya and Victor Ehikhamenor, were also showcased at the event. These helped to situate the context of ancient and contemporary arts, and a fusion of both.
In December 2015, when the bank staged a special dinner for it’s esteemed corporate and personal clientele at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel, the highpoint was a special dance drama entitled Go Slow, by the Terra Kulture Troupe produced by Bolanle Austin Peters. A Nigerian story with a South African twist, the performance could be tagged a celebration of Nigeria’s heritage, as it captured the history and culture of Nigeria as a nation, starting from independence till date.
For a foreigner, the drama was enough insight into the rich musical culture of Nigeria, as it featured songs from different times. It also featured some vintage South African melodies and eventually wrapped with Olamide’s Melo Melo.
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