Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Panel of judges for the 2019 edition of Hi-life Music Fest competition has picked Cyprain Oluchi for the Highlife Category and Ofuobi Cultural Troupe of Obinagu Udi for the traditional dance category in the first round audition/elimination series held in Enugu weekend.
It was an evening of fun, rich music, dance and comedy at the Nigerian Breweries-sponsored annual music-dance talent hunt competition which held at New Berries Park, Abakaliki Road, Enugu.
A perfect blend of talented disc jockey, DJ Cookey, and fast-rising stand-up comedian, Twin Parrots, at the event, added extra flavour to the show, thereby making the already fun-filled outing a night to remember.
Themed “The Rhythm of Progress,” the 2019 edition is the third in the series, after the maiden edition in 2017.
The Enugu regional audition saw the emergence of promising artistes, Cyprian Oluchi and Okafor Chukwudi as first and second winners, respectively, for highlife category. For traditional dance category, Ofuobi Cultural Troupe of Obinagu, Udi, in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, defeated two other contenders to clinch the sole position.
All the contestants in both highlife and traditional dance categories, as was attested by the judges, put up electrifying displays on stage.
Among the judges was highlife maestro and renowned African Dance scholar/instructor, Bright Chimezie, who rated their performances as “professionally topnotch”.
The music legend commended the efforts of the competitors noting that their high-grade presentations made the elimination process very tasking for the judges. Other members of the team of judges were MC Lyrix of Dream FM, David Jones David and Dr Akaz.
Brand Manager of Life Continental Lager Beer, the brand that drives the project, Chidi Egwu, said the programme was initiated by the company to identify with the culture of South East, and promote such rich culture by showcasing it to the world.
He said that apart from preserving and propagating the people’s rich culture, that the initiative is aimed at finding promising talents to mentor and develop into cultural ambassadors.
“Our brand, Life Continental Lager Beer, is using this platform to identify with the culture of the South East part of Nigeria and as well showcase it to the world. We want to preserve this culture and we are doing it actively.
“We saw an array of very promising highlife talents and dancers here and their performances were thrilling.
“So, when we discover citizens with promising talents, we offer them a platform to showcase what they have, then help them to develop their talents; we guide them to blossom and get beamed to the world,” he explained.
On the processes involved in the exercise, Egwu further explained that apart from Enugu that there would be three other regional auditions namely Awka, in Anambra State, Asaba, in Delta State and Aba, in Abia State, in that order, where, he said, a total of eight highlife winners – two per state as well as four dancers (one per state) would emerge.
He further explained that, “after that we would subject the regional winners to special mentorship for a while to show them other parts of music, to prepare them for the quarter final edition that would take place in Port Harcourt. The semi-final edition would return to Enugu while the grand finale would be in Onitsha.”
Meanwhile, several cash consolation prizes, ranging from twenty thousand naira to fifty thousand naira, were awarded to all the contestants who were not selected, while the winners would meet other regional finalists at the quarter finals stage.
The star winner is expected to smile home with N5 million naira, N2 million higher that last year’s figure of N3 million.