By Vivian Onyebukwa
With the COVID-19 pandemic, people world over, most especially, Nigerians have turned to music to help them through the crisis. From balcony sing-along to local, regional and global broadcasts, music has become embedded in people’s responses to disrupted lives.
With creators and lovers of music depending on digital mediation, a wide range of approaches to making, sharing and experience music has arisen.
One of the musical experiences worth mentioning is a nightly ritual that has taken hold of a small but growing corner of Africa Magic viewers and the digital space. With crossover live music, Seun Bankole aka SB Live recently honoured the invitation to perform at the Owambe Saturday on Africa Magic, setting precedence as the most engaging act with an overwhelming stage presence, having set on fire twitter, for three solid hours.
With ease, SB Live, the smooth and suave singer, an embodiment of musical dexterity and skill, raw energy and passion for music, alongside his seven-piece band, crisscrossed the gamut of Nigerian contemporary genres from hip-hop, Afrobeat to highlife and old skool, performing classics for the old and young. The live music gig turned-concert was an utterly engaging experience fans wished never stopped. The 3-hour long performance, which got millions of Nigerians talking, offered a special experience for viewers who watched from their television sets or online. As though a mind reader, he was able to teleport himself into the hearts and minds of the viewers. His audience psychology is legendary.
For ardent lovers of good, quality and timeless music, it wasn’t much of a surprise when the young, upwardly mobile, energetic and charismatic SB Live set the social media space – Twitter on fire for three hours non-stop. This is a precedence he set in the history of the show and live-digital music experience in Nigeria.
The multitude who fancy the live music experience, posted their thoughts with the hashtag ##owambesaturday. Over one million viewers joined in the social media conversation, added their insights and recollections. Through his performance, unique stage presence, carriage and craftsmanship, SB Live has shown that collective experience isn’t restricted to musicians, or to the latest online collaboration platforms. It spreads across more widely established social media platforms too.
Like old wine, he continually hones his craft and gets better at it daily. No wonder, the energy and versatility he displayed puts to rest any question that may have risen from quarters averse to his name, pedigree, experience and musicianship. Being on this year’s list of top 5 live band musicians in Nigeria should put to rest any bad blood.
Through his electrifying performance, audience analysis and engagement, SB Live became the toast of Twitter, an American micro-blogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Registered users posted, liked, and retweeted tweets on his interestingly engaging performance. It was indeed an engaging live concert experience.
The Lagos-based musician was supposed to be playing sold-out dates in America, Portugal, Spain and France at the start of his European tour when COVID-19 broke out and all the shows were cancelled. So, instead of taking to the stage in Madrid, Seun Bankole and his band sang their hearts out to millions of Nigerians, reaching out to the public, and even gaining newer audience.
When asked what defines him most, the musician said, “Music drives identity more than their hometown, politics, race or religion. The only things that are a bigger force than music are friends, family and pastimes.”