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Preparation heats up as Universal Music Group partners Runway Jazz 2018


Manager ULive West Africa, Universal Muisc, Bayo Fatoba (left); Convener, Runway Jazz, Afolabi Kehinde Oke; SPAN Artist, Sarah Boulos, MD Sub-Saharan, Universal Music Group, Sipho Dlamini and Ezegozie Eze, General Manager West Africa, Universal Music Group

Lagos will again come alive as fashion, jazz and culture take centre stage at the biggest fashion and Jazz event, Runway Jazz.

The music and fashion event is an expression of art and culture, created to bring together all lovers of the arts community to experience one exclusive night of memorable fashion, fine-dining and jazz music.

Schedule to hold April 28 and 29, the two-day event is a celebration of jazz, haute couture showcasing the rich culture of Lagos State, and a master class on music and business.


Speaking about the Runway Jazz, the founder, Afolabi Kehinde Oke, who also is the Group Leader of Sweet Sound Production explained that Runway Jazz, which started two years ago, is partnering with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which mandate is basically to promote global peace, unity and dialogue.

He said, “There is no doubt, jazz music genre has become a global culture and permanent fixture of the lifestyle and entertainment industry. The history and contemporary evolution of jazz worldwide is consequently evidenced by its universal adoption by people across all social strata.”

“And because jazz continues to break through these geographic and political boundaries, its unique role as a conduit for promoting global harmony through diplomacy and cultural exchange was recognized by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which designated April 30 every year as International Day of Jazz,” he added.

Oke further explained that the event, which is usually held as part of activities for the International Day of Jazz as declared by UNESCO, usually engages stakeholders from a broad spectrum of industries, as it is a fusion of world-class jazz performances and fashion.

“This is done concurrently in 196 countries, and South Africa is currently the biggest, as their jazz festival runs for one week. It has brought huge investment and created tourism opportunities to South Africa. We are hoping to get to that point, where we can do a jazz event over period of time.

“For us as a country, the governor Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has been extremely supportive. Last we enjoyed massive support from the government, and that edition was special one and it was dedicated to Lagos State because it coincided with the Lagos at 50 celebration,” he stated.

According to him, this year, the state government has reinstated its commitment to the event. He added that wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, will be grace the event alongside her Step-Up Initiative that encourages and supports young people to use the Nigeria prints to make bags and shoes.

Speaking on Universal Music Group partnership, Managing Director, Universal Music, South and Sub-Saharan African, Sipho Dlamini said it is a huge honour working with Runway Jazz, adding that the group is excited to be given the opportunity to partner with such a prestigious jazz event.

“We believe this will be the flagship event in Africa. This year will be very different. It is a two-day event; day one will be for the master class — fashion master class and a music master class, which will be hosted by Universal Music Group. This year we will be having jazz aficionado and Grammy award winner, Gerald Albright; Tiwa Salvage and Kayode Ajayi, both Berklee alumni taking sessions at the music master class,” he added.

Dlamini also stated that Universal Music as the number one entertainment company in the world, is partnering the event on the principle of the various activities the group oversee and implement in the areas and places they operate not just as a leading record label but as the number one entertainment company in the world.

“Universal Music Group is the number one entertainment company in the world, and as such, on the continent we pride ourselves for upholding that same title. One of the reasons we say we are the number one entertainment company and not number one record label in the world is because of the various activities we oversee and implementing in the areas and places that we work.”

“So in Nigeria, as we do in other African offices, we operate a record label, where we sign and develop local talents, and release and promote their materials. We also do live events, and Ezegozie Eze, General Manager, Universal Music West Africa and Bayo Fatoba, Manager, ULive, West Africa head it.

What we do is conceptualise, produce and partner with entities and companies such as Sweet Sound Production organizers of the Runway Jazz, to produce and present music concerts, festivals and conferences as well as music related experiences,” he stated.

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