The Taruwa Story
Every success story has a beginning. For many performing artists, their stories start with a stage: someone giving them a platform to express their creativity.
For nine years, Taruwa has provided such a stage, and it is a part of several success stories: Bez, MI, Jesse Jagz, Wana Udobang, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Femi Leye, Efe Paul Azino, Aramide, Isaac Geralds among others. Convened by Lydia Idakula Sobogun of Gbagyichild Entertainment, Taruwa started as a bi-weekly gathering and has evolved into a monthly performing arts event with a magazine, a yearly performing arts festival and over a hundred and twenty shows to its name.
It is usually a full house every last Tuesday of the month at Bogobiri House in Ikoyi, Lagos where a discerning and appreciative audience gathers in what is very much like a family gathering. A lot of the regulars have been attending Taruwa since it started, including the hostess Oluwabibs, a radio presenter and emcee.
Bogobiri House provides a beautiful setting and brings coziness to the entire proceedings that is rarely found at regular concerts.
Stepping into Taruwa- Hausa word for gathering – is like walking into a high voltage transformer, the energy is always palpable as the audience interacts with the performers, encouraging them. This visible support is invaluable to the upcoming artist and puts them at ease. Taruwa has been described as “the birthplace of expression of true art” and this is true not just for the artists but for the audience as well. It is a place to experience talent in its purest form. For example, musicians are encouraged to have an instrument accompaniment so you’re unlikely to have a ‘DJ track ten’ moment.
There is no ceremony with getting on the Taruwa stage. All the artist has to do is inform the organisers early and they’ll be allocated some time to perform; no need to ‘know someone’ or go through a long complicated process.
When Taruwa started, there weren’t a lot of places where upcoming artistes could find a platform, nine years later, the state of affairs is much the same, yet Taruwa is still going strong. At a time when the creative industry in Nigeria is beginning to thrive and draw a lot of interest and even parents are becoming more encouraging of their children seeking to pursue a career in the arts, the platform Taruwa provides has become even more important. With a tour in the works, it is hoped that more people will be reached and new success stories made.
Photo Credit: Eniola Abumere