Ugoma Adegoke: Grooming talents, calming souls with Woman Rising concert
Ugoma Adegoke’s passion for the arts is so intense. She has traversed many aspects of the artistic genres, ranging from fashion, films to music and art exhibitions. Today at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, she is hosting the Women Rising Concert to showcase different genres of music and to groom new talents. She spoke with OMIKO AWA on the imperative of the show
What is your driving force?
It is restlessness. I am a restless individual, who is very keen to see much more beauty and much more connectivity in the arts – between the artistes and the non-artistes. I see a better world, where people are engaged with the arts; a better world of happier people, people with less hypertension, low blood pressure and less depression. This is what my works do.
We have scientific evidence that shows that art is a therepy. We have scientific evidence that shows that music is a recovery tool. In a research carried out in the U.K., people who have had surgery were kept in two different rooms –– one with music and another without music. Those kept in a room with music recovered faster, and were discharged than those in a room without music. This is not my invention; there is a reason when one is not happy and you play a song and his/her mood changes for good. There is a reason that when you hear somebody’s voice or tune you would be calm or inflamed.
All these variations come under the umbrella of art as a tool. Art is my calling. I am to explore all these tools, enrich them and try to reach out to the world. To bring art into everyday life is nothing strange; it is something that we are, just as some of us are religious or cultural beings. I am passionate seeing us, especially Nigerians, as cultural beings. I want us to be more cultural beings that are stuck on art.
What is Woman Rising Concert all about?
Yes, I want to make it to become an institution. I started Women Rising, but I really believe that there are so many people that can buy into it now. I see a city where one day someone else would be pushing the concert. Woman Rising is awesome; it inspires people. People even wonder why I do it, but the testimonial of people who have attended the show in the past are too powerful and amazing to ignore. I get inspiration to do the concert each time people write to say how positively the show impacted them. Women Rising impacts on lives; we make people happier; we change people’s mood for good.
What should guests expect from the concert today?
You will see some of the most awesome musicians. I say awesome because I ascribe that tag to any musician who has a purpose and wants to invest his/her talent in doing what is right. You will see more original and artistic expressions. So, I use the platform to showcase female musicians who are dedicated to their acts and are good examples of musicianship. We will use them as examples to others coming behind. We will also use the opportunity to expose them to producers, who come to the show.
For example, for this year, we shall be featuring a big artiste. He is coming to the concert to get artistes that would perform with him. So, it’s going to be like a fashion parade or audition because he is actually going to be taking unknown faces and put them on the stage with known faces so that the unknown becomes known. So, it is about picking people up and making them better. It’s like those that have achieved greatness helping those at the low rung of the ladder to achieve greatness, too. If everyone of us can bring up at least five persons in every sphere of life, the society will be better for it.
I do not have much money to give out, but I can guarantee the artistes of performance space, where they would have the best sound, musical instruments, lighting, value; give them enabling environment to showcase their talents to the world.
It will also afford the upcoming artistes the opportunity to meet new audiences, who are also are keen on seeing live performances because Nigeria is a country, where people can earn a living through live music performances. The event is about making them know how to engage a niche audience which I have.
Any changes to the concert format this year?
We have a very diverse line up this year. We will take through all the genres of music from jazz extreme, Afrobeat, to acapella. We have a Botswana guest singer, a Chilean percussionist; we have a classical pianist, a wonderful R&B and soul singer, Abel; we have Debbie, who is going to do a bit of reggae; we have some spoken word artists and a lot of others. There will also be some very interesting interviews. You may or may not know that Women Rising Concept is a music and words show. In between this performance, we have interlude, where some select men in our community will read pieces of literature. So, between each performance, there will be a literary reading. It maybe a poem, prose or songs; it is performed and read out.
Seven years down the line, how is the audience like?
Our audience is fantastic. We attract a certain audience, which are very interested in music and the depth of it. Audience that is really interested in what it is we are offering. We have the best audiences; we have audiences who come on time. They are early because they know that Ugoma is going to start the show whether or not they are there. So, I have attentive and respectful audiences, people, who truly consider themselves lucky to be witnessing and receiving artistes, who truly care and accept the effort of the artistes. So invariably over the years, I have attracted as many people like me, who are in love with the arts.
How is the show impacting on Nigerian women?
The quality of artistic expression makes you feel better. It actually makes one’s life better because it’s a stress-reliever. The show is mind-focus; it helps to focus your mind. So, the power of good art transforms how you feel and how you think; you cannot even measure it. Every woman or man who experiences these things in the concert or wherever, would transfer that feeling in their work and lives and it multiplies, making us to be more effective in what we do. So, it impacts the mood and the attitude of the receiver. It also impacts on the artistes because there are some economic value attached to performance.