WorldMusicDay… Make music festival shuts down Lagos
M.I, Brymo, Johnny Drille, Others On Parade
It was an unforgettable evening, last Saturday, as music heavyweights such as M.I. Abaga, Brymo, Johnny Drille, Cill Soul, and others stormed the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, for the Make Music Lagos concert. The concert, which adhered strictly to COVID-19 guidelines, was the perfect cherry on the cake for the week-long festival dubbed, Make Music Lagos, which began June 21 on the occasion of this year’s World Music Day.
For music lovers in the country’s vibrant entertainment capital, the free concert was a melting pot of intrigues from all the musicians who attended. Firstly, all attendees were feted to good music, without the usual hassle of standing amid a crowd, as all guests were seated in the indoor hall that was filled to less than 70 per cent capacity, giving it a cozy, intimate feel.
Then, after the show kicked off at 7 p.m., it was a dish of repeated energetic performances. From RnB powerhouse, David B, who served his infamous but classic tunes to Afrobeat whiz, Etuk Ubong, who charged the energy with some Fela-esque vibes, the show started off on a high note.
Midway into the groove, the facemasks could no longer hide the excitement on the faces of the audience, as Alternative RnB singer, Cill Soul, dished out her hits such as Tatarata, among others. Femi Leye followed suit, turning the strings on the audience, spelling them into a chilling euphoria as he rendered his classics. Dotti, the MTN Y’ello Star winner, stunned the audience with his debut live performance since he won the show. He performed his dirge dubbed Wura, which he created as a tribute to his late grandmother.
Like Dotti, most of the performers who opened the show are largely unpopular names, but also some of the finest crop of musicians the Naija music industry is fertile with. They all performed like veterans, with maturity and poise – a classic example of when practice meets opportunity.
Slight drama followed the appearance of Afro-fusion singer, Brymo; a power outage occurred, Brymo stormed off the stage, throwing his microphones on the floor. However, as soon as normalcy was restored, he returned full of energy, with the crowd singing along to his classics such as Good Morning, Alago Somolu, among others. Like the words he kept chanting, the audience’s mood was uniform at this moment, “More music please.”
A brief mini praise and worship section took over, as Laolu brought the church to the audience, with his band members and backup singers, feting everyone with Yoruba-laden and English Christian gospel songs. It felt so interesting that someone literally said, “There is no need to attend church tomorrow.”
However, the show went on with M.I. Abaga, who reminded the audience that he is very much a loverboy and a single one at that; he performed only love songs from his discography. The 39-year-old singer ushered in a romantic atmosphere that kept cheeks blushing red. And then the ultimate ‘Romeo’ of all Nigerian ‘Juliets,’ Johnny Drille, came on stage to close the concert with emotionally charged performances of his timeless classics, such as Romeo and Juliet, Wait for me, among others.
His love-struck female fans could not withhold their excitement as one of them actually climbed on stage, to his approval, to perform a duet with him. And the concert closed its curtains with memories that were belly-filled with excitement, leaving the Make Music Lagos 2021 edition as one of the most successful since its inception in 2016.
Recall that the festival was unable to hold last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which snoozed all live concerts across the world. However, this year, from the day 1 to the Shutdown Concert, the city of Lagos shook with a vibrant energy as live music concerts held simultaneously across the state. Several educative and entertaining virtual live concerts, workshops, music cover challenges, and music business conference, also held.
Since Monday, talented artistes such as David Operah, Banke, KhemmieSings, Daniella Orji, Peaches, Femi Leye, to mention a few, have held the city spellbound with interesting Live from Home concerts, which was streamed across Instagram and Youtube. Another interesting highlight was the My Song is Your Song events, which showcased artistes from different parts of the world performing each other’s songs. It was a most joyous sight seeing Americans and Europeans sing songs made my emerging Nigerian artistes and vice versa.
Also, the Music Business Conference, which held, Thursday, at the MUSON Centre, added more colours to the beautiful festival as it sensitively touched on the vital area of driving women’s inclusion in music business.
Speakers such as Rima Tahini of Mavins records, Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, Banke, among others ironed the topic inside out, focusing on issues with being a woman in the industry, as well as how to drive mentorship within the space.
Tahini said the most prevalent discouraging factor for women in the industry is the “disrespect from other male folk. She said, “First, from your naturally light or soft spoken voice, you are disrespected (as a woman) by your colleagues. Also, women are taught to not be too flashy and hence it means that we are not probably used to selling ourselves, whereas you have to make some noise for yourself in this industry.”
Tahini highlighted that access to mentorship is a key panacea to the low women ratio in the Naija music industry.
“I do not currently have many women that are in similar positions with me that I can just call up. It is not that they do not actually exist; but it is just the lack of branding. Most women do not showcase that they actually are in this field.”
Banke corroborates further, adding, “girls should actually walk up to other women more and build a relationship that would breed mentorship. Mentorship is not something that is fixed; you just earn it. Ladies need to have that safe space to go where they can get advice.”
Tahini listed some organisations such as Audio Girls Africa, among others, which she currently uses to mentor young girls emerging in the Nigerian creative space.
At the conference, Chioma Onuchukwu of Tune Core East/West Africa also enlightened the participants on the various strategies for generating revenue from their music, including licensing to games, TV shows and other content forms.
She noted also that the problem of piracy is one that is likely to remain in Nigeria for a long time as “there are a lot of artistes still patronizing these websites to put their music out for free.”
The Make Music Lagos event is a festival of music celebrated yearly in Lagos, which is the entertainment capital of the country, since 2016, as the Nigerian planning team became a member of the Make Music Alliance – a US-based global body celebrating the World Music Day, which hold every June 21. The World Music Day started, in France, as at 1982, where a weeklong festival of music dubbed, Fete De La Musique (Festival of Music), beginning at every June 21.