By Tosin Ajirire
There was a vivid display of glamour, panache and razzmatazz as the third edition of All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) held last Sunday November 6 in Lagos, with over 5,000 guests and 2,000 international delegates witnessing the show.
Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode graced the event as Special Guest of Honour. With him werre his wife, Abimbola, deputy governor, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule and government officials including commissioners. Also on the high table with the governor was the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed while Senator Babafemi Ojodu represented the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo.
Hosted by Ahmed Soultan of Morocco, Belgium-based Congolese, Ilka De Jung, and South African Bonang Matheba, other special guests at the award ceremony include African Union officials; music and movie superstars; AFRIMA past winners; nominees; corporate titans; members of the diplomatic corps, media executives and stakeholders in the creative/entertainment industry in Africa.
Sunny Ade, Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba honoured
Three of Africa’s music legends, Nigerian juju maestro, Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye popularly known as King Sunny Ade, Cameroonian singer and saxophonist, Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango aka Manu Dibango, and the late Congolese singer, Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba professionally known as Papa Wemba were honoured with Lifetime Achievement awards at the event.
King Sunny Ade, who turned 70 on September 22, 2016, has indeed seen and done it all. With huge fame and fortune, several albums, uncountable stage performances both home and abroad, numerous collaborations with local and international artistes like Stevie Wonder, Manu Dibango, Youssou N’Dour and Salif Keita, including some Hollywood appearances, no wonder Sunny Ade is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time.
Octogenarian musician and songwriter, Manu Dibango, has come a long way. Best known for his 1972 hit single, Soul Makossa, the artiste has collaborated with several musicians including Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bill Laswell, Sly and Robbie, Bernie Worell, Don Cherry, and Herbie Hancock among others.
Dibango’s Makossa, which means dance in his native language, has influenced many global musical hits most especially Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Starting Something. Also, his Reggae Makossa featured on the soundtrack of Scarface: The World Is Yours, a video game produced in 2006.
Only recently, Dibango was honoured with the title of Grand Témoin de la Francophonie aux Jeux Olympiques et Paralympiques de Rio 2016. (Special Representative of Francophonia to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games).
Papa Wemba was one of the greatest musical influences to come out of Africa. Having started out as a gospel artiste, he acquired international prominence when together with his band, Viva La Musica; he traveled to Paris, France in the early ‘80s. It was there that Wemba’s music changed to more of an ‘eclectic sound’, a mix of African, Cuban and Western pop/rock.
Over the years, Wemba crossed cultural boundaries, releasing hit after hit and attracting a wide range of audiences outside Africa. Sadly, the artiste died after collapsing on stage while performing at the FEMUA urban music festival in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday, April 24, 2016. He was 66.
The three music icons werre honounred amidst stellar performances by Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania); Brymo (Nigeria); Wax Dey (Cameroon); Seyi Shay (Nigeria); Aramide (Nigeria); Niniola (Nigeria); YCee (Nigeria); Stanley Enoh (Cameroon), T. Smallz (Cameroon), Patoranking (Nigeria), VVIP (Ghana), Darey (Nigeria) Soweto Gospel Choir (South Africa) and PSquare (Nigeria) etc.
Many artistes, both traditional and contemporary, carted away glittering gold plated AFRIMA trophies. They included Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania); Seyi Shay (Nigeria); Stanley Enoh (Cameroon), Flavor (Nigeria) and Wizkid (Nigeria) among several others.
Prior to the award ceremony proper, however, art-loving Ambode had the previous day, Saturday November 5, hosted award nominees, foreign delegates, diplomats and Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Zimbabwe, Mr. Anastarcia Ndulovu, to a dinner at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos.
While welcoming the guests to the Governor’s Lodge, Ambode reiterated the vision of making Lagos State an entertainment capital of Africa, as well as being the hub of creative expressions in the continent. According to him, this will open up the state to more foreign and local investors.
Africa Music Business Roundtable
A programme tagged: ‘Africa Music Business Roundtable’ had kicked off this year’s AFRIMA.
Held on Friday, November 4 at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, the inaugural brainstorming session had 17 stakeholders across the African music industry as participants.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed flagged off the historic event with a keynote address, while the African Union through its Head of Culture Division, Ms Angela Martin, delivered a goodwill message.
At the end of the session, the eggheads agreed that, first and foremost, the music sector needs a repositioning. They also said that music, being a veritable tool for forging African unity, must assume its role as a major revenue earner for the continent. They equally advised that music should be deployed for spreading African ideas and ideals.
To achieve these, the panelists concluded that Africa must put in place a very viable structure to ensure that musicians and other practitioners in the industry are well educated to their rights, and begin to see each other as partners and not rivals. While identifying capacity building as a major factor, the speakers recommended that education must be directed towards knowledge in contractual obligations, issues of piracy and protection of intellectual property. Also, they agreed that the adoption of modern technology for music making is inevitable.
AFRIMA Music Village
On Friday night, AFRIMA music fever took over the entire city of Lagos, with the Lagos Bar Beach playing host to over 40 local and foreign artistes who jammed and thrilled several thousands of fans that thronged the venue.
Headlined by Afrobeat icon, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, the AFRIMA Music Village was aimed at celebrating African music, honour musicians, as well as entertain the world with the best of African rhythms.
From Diamond Patinumz of Tanzania to Ahmed Sultan of Morocco, Sarkodie of Ghana to Nigeria’s Patorankin, people watched Africa as it thrilled the world with the best it could offer.
Femi Kuti didn’t disappoint. His energy sapping performance was breathtaking as he gave the world the best of Afrobeat. Fuji music dynamite, Atawewe, held the crowd spellbound with his music and dance steps. Europe-based Nigerian Afrorock diva, Nneka, became the surprise of the night. She was simply awesome!
Indeed, the huge stage, the music output from the hi-tech sound equipment, and the carnival-like atmosphere, all made this year’s AFRIMA Awards an unforgettable experience.