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At 10, Lagos Int’l Jazz Festival remembers ‘uncle’ Hugh Masekela


Mike Aremu performing at the even

As part of activities to celebrate this year’s International Jazz Day, as well as mark the 10th year anniversary of Nigeria’s premiere jazz event, the Lagos International Jazz Festival (LIJF), Inspiro Productions this year’s event to the late jazz icon Hugh Masekela, who recently passed. Described as the father of South African jazz, the master trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer, died on January 23 in Johannesburg.

Though this year marked the 10th anniversary of the festival, unlike previous editions that had multiple stages, this year was limited to just one big stage.

The lineup included Jazz vocalist Gloria Ibru, Afrobeat Sensation Dede Mabiakwu, The eclectic and very spiritual Bright Gain, ‘King Of Sax’-Mike Aremu, Mystical Orliam, Zestful Damilare Sax, The versatile Sharp Band, Sensational bassist Wole Jesutomi, Jazz crooner Seun Beckley and others, who at the different times mounted the Freedom Park stage.


The audience lapped up every bit of the performances in the open-air ambiance blessed with clement weather and typical of similar jazz festivals held in various parts of the world.

It was also under this ambiance that special guests of honor and dignitaries such as the South African Consul General to Nigeria His Excellency Darkey Africa and his German counterpart His Excellency Ingo Herbert sat together and danced when the occasion demanded.

After all, it was a celebration of life and tribute to uncle Hugh Masekela and he deserved the dance. Meanwhile, a minute silence was observed for the late master instrumentalist.

As the performances flowed, so did the brief intermittent speeches in honour of the late musician. However, the anchorman Sam Uche Anyamele, who ensured everything was well orchestrated, coordinated the session.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Tourism Lagos State Steve Ayorinde attended the event, with a delegation from his Ministry, which included the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Tourism Mrs. Aramide Giwason and several directors.

Sovereign Trust Insurance (STI) plc, who had been a committed supporter of the festival from inception, was also well represented by their head of brand communications Mr. Segun Bankole and his team, while Jahman Anikulapo, a leading arts and culture advocate, also participated.

In a chat with the media, LIJF founder and festival Director Ayoola Sadare said, “We are thankful to God for this event and the opportunity to mark the 10th anniversary of the Lagos International Jazz Festival on International Jazz Day.

Though we had a few challenges in the years we couldn’t host it, we are back on track to ensure it’s a continuous yearly arts and culture fiesta in the city of Lagos.’

On the decision to dedicate this year’s gig to the late jazz patron, Sadare said, “As the father of African Jazz, he deserves all the accolades he got both alive and on his passing.

We are also grateful for the support we have got over the years we got from various quarters–the media, musicians, producers and many more. Our commitment still remains to make Lagos one of the leading Jazz destinations in the world,” he enthused.

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