Today in #TheLagosReview

Rivers State has announced that it would host the 2020 edition of the All African Music Awards popularly called AFRIMA in Port Harcourt.

State Governor Nyesom Wike, who made the announcement said the state accepted to host the 7th edition of the event as part of efforts to restore the glorious days of the Garden City and recreate its vibrancy.

The AFRIMA which is one of the most glamorous and biggest musical awards in the African continent will further promote Governor Wike’s effort to showcase the peace and hospitality of Rivers State to the world, as well as provide a solid platform for her exuberant youths in the creative enterprise to showcase themselves.

The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, made this known, on behalf of the Governor when management board of AFRIMA visited him on a courtesy call on Wednesday.

Dr Danagogo added that AFRIMA held in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AU), will boost the state’s economic growth, strengthen and promote the cultural identity and integration of Africans to the world.

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“As host State vis-a-vis host nation, I believe our gains are immense. Apart from showcasing our peculiar culture in music and hospitality to the rest of Africa and the World, our young creative artists and stars stand to gain from those ahead of them with vast experiences in the music and creative industry”, he said.

He emphasized that the good people of Rivers State are open to receiving the surge of visitors and stakeholders that would troupe into the State during the AFRIMA event.

The President and Executive Producer of AFRIMA, Mr Mike Dada, said AFRIMA was established to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent.

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He noted that, apart from the main AFRIMA award ceremony, the host city stands to benefit from having the AFRIMA Music Village, AFRIMA Music Business Summit, a tour of the host city, amongst other events.

The meeting was also attended by the Permanent Secretary, Special Service Bureau Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Dr George C Nwaeke.

Source: Tribune online

Angelique Kidjo in last of Carnegie Hall concert series March 14th

“My nickname when I was a child was when, why, how,” states singer and activist superstar Angelique Kidjo. In her almost raspy voice inflected with an intriguing hybrid of French and West African accents, Kidjo continues talking about her youth in the small West African country of Benin. “I spent a lot of time asking elderly people questions.” It’s because of this that Kidjo believes she was destined to be a storyteller herself. Not as a traditional griot, but as a singer, who has performed for millions all over the globe for 40 years.

There are few who can match Kidjo’s vivacity, beauty, and spirit onstage and off. The Grammy-winning songstress continues to wow audiences with her bold and daring takes on music of all genres including Caribbean, jazz, and Latin. Her arrangements, though, are all unmistakably grounded in traditional African music and Afrobeats.

This March 14, Kidjo will celebrate both her 60th birthday and the 60th anniversary of the independence of her native Benin and other West African countries. Joining Kidjo will be Brittany Howard, vocalist from rock blues sensation Alabama Shakes, Senegalese singer and guitarist Baaba Maal, and Nigerian Afropop star Yemi Alade.

Called “Daughter of Independence,” this is the fourth and final concert in a series that Kidjo curated at the behest of Carnegie Hall, which began in the fall of 2019. What makes Kidjo, whose superlative dancing skills are also on display during her concerts, particularly keen about this outing, is the historical significance of 2020. “It’s 60 years of independence in Africa. I was born fifteen days before the independence of my country,” she laughs, “I was born French and I was French for two weeks!”

Africa’s independence was also a factor when she sat down to choose artists for the event. She explains, “I wanted to show artists from African countries that became independent in 1960. I also realized that movement for independence in Africa also impacted and influenced the Civil Rights Movement in America, so I brought those two stories of independence and freedom together.”

Those sentiments, attesting to the sanctimony of life and of liberty aren’t surprising. If you’ve ever heard Kidjo sing, and seen her perform, you know that it isn’t an overstatement that the force of life itself infuses her music. There is preternatural purpose behind every movement and note, to uplift, enlighten, and empower. It isn’t a surprise to hear some of the selections she’s planning to sing with Brittany Howard for her upcoming concert. “Brittany is going to sing a song of Nina Simone and we’re going to sing a Curtis Mayfield song together. All those messages of empowerment and of living together, that’s what’s been important to me my whole career, the importance of living together and accept that we can have different opinions yet we are not enemies.”

In addition to her performing, Kidjo is the very definition of the tireless crusader for numerous causes including Oxfam, LiveEarth, and the Enough Project. She has been a UNICEF ambassador for 18 years and co-founded the Batonga Foundation to give vulnerable young African women the support they need to reach their full potential. Kidjo is particularly passionate about young people. “It’s what we actively teach our girls and boys that creates a better society,” she emphasizes. “If you’re not taught empathy, love, compassion, tolerance your brain is not challenged to think when a problem comes before you. How will I solve this? Is there one way or are there many ways?”

Source: http://m.amsterdamnews.com/news/2020/mar/12/angelique-kidjo-last-carnegie-hall-concert-series-/

SA Music Carnival is back

The much-anticipated SA Music Carnival is back and it’s bigger than ever. In celebration of South African music and keeping it local, fans can expect a killer line-up with a variety of genres from hip-hop to amapiano.

Taking place on Friday the 13th at Taboo nightclub in Sandton, the theme of the carnival this year is a ‘Nightmare on Gwen Lane’.

“As the SA Music Carnival brand this will be its the seventh year running in Sandton. Everybody comes dressed with the feathers, the glitter and the masks. Because it’s Friday the 13th I will be coming as Freddy Krueger and that’s why this year’s theme is a Nightmare on Gwen Lane. So watch out Freddy is coming for you,” joked DJ Vetkuk.

Excited and ready the duo has been promoting it since the beginning of the year.

“We’re so excited, We prepare for this event as if it’s the first time we do it, preparations started already on 1 January. We put more effort into the production, sound and artists. This year the different element is that it falls on Friday the 13th. It’s about fusing different genres under one roof so that’s how the name SA Music Carnival came about,” said Vetkuk.

Mahoota added that at the moment they do feel a bit drained as well.

“I’m thrilled about Friday, I’m expecting a spectacle on Friday night!” said Mahoota.

The killer line-up consists of fan favourite DJ Fresh, hip-hop star A-Reece, house head DJ Maphorisa and of course it boasts a number of females to represent on the night and so many more!

Source: Sandton Chronicle

Global cultures come together at Umoja (Unity) Gala in Concord

United cultures from around the world, the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS) presents the second annual Umoja (Unity) Gala, with food, music and fashion, at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Ave., Concord.

There will be an array of cuisine from Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, including: Matbusha, a thick, flavorful dip served with flatbread; Malabar prawns; Egyptian Lahma Bil Basal, tender beef in a rich onion sauce; Channa Masala Chole, chickpea curry; Tharid, Emirati lamb stew; plantain cake; and mandazi, African donuts.

The musical lineup will feature Martin Toe, a local hip-hop artist originally from Liberia, and the Himalaya Heritage Performing Arts Group presenting classical kirtan and Nepali folk songs, plus the Jamhuri Band will return with Swahili music.

Emelyne Adios of Style by Emelyne will present a fashion show featuring clothing designs made of kitenge, a fabric with brightly colored designs from her native country of Burundi.

The first Umoja Gala took place in February 2019 as a fundraiser for New American Africans (NAA), a post-resettlement organization for African refugees in New Hampshire. Last year ORIS and NAA merged.

Source: Union leader

Hungary meets Ghana at Flushing Town Hall’s second Global Mashup series.

Audiences can look forward to highly energetic and danceable beats at Flushing Town Hall’s second Global Mashup series “Hungary Meets Ghana” featuring Hungarian folk band Életfa and Ghanaian Kotoko Brass on Saturday, March 14.

Beloved by world music fans, this is the seventh season for the popular series in which Flushing Town Hall mashes up two cultures on stage with an open dance floor. Each concert features a pre-show dance lesson. Audiences can then enjoy a separate set from two different musical ensembles who then collaborate in a grand finale jam session.

“Our vision for Global Mashups was inspired by this city,” said Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s executive and artistic director. “When you think about New York City, on an everyday basis you have people of all different cultural backgrounds who live together and work together. So we thought that it would be fun to bring artists of different backgrounds together in performance. And it really has been great fun. That’s why we bring the series back each year with a new lineup.”

Inspired by the traditional drum rhythms of Ghana, Kotoko Brass performs a joyful, improvisational style of West African dance music described by The Boston Globe as “propulsive, infectious party music.”

The band was founded by Massachusetts-based brothers Ben Paulding, a performer and scholar of Ghanaian drumming, and Brian Paulding, a longtime trombone player in Boston’s reggae scene. They joined forces with Kwame Ofori and Attah Poku, both master percussionists from Ghana, and rounded out their rhythm and horn sections with M’Talewa Thomas of Antigua on the bass, Yusaku Yoshimura of Japan on keyboard, and Andrew Fogliano of Connecticut on the saxophone.

“At its core, our music is a celebration of tradition, diversity and unity,” the band’s leaders said.

Joining them on stage will be Életfa, the beloved house band of the Hungarian community living in New York and New Jersey. Originally founded in 1987 by the children of Hungarian immigrants, it is now comprised of both Hungarian and first-generation Hungarian-American musicians dedicated to spreading the joy of authentic, Hungarian folk music, song and dance.

From Életfa audiences will experience the familiar sounds of the violin, bass and accordion, as well as discover the traditional folk music sounds of the kontra (a three-stringed Hungarian viola), the gardon (a Hungarian cello) and a woodwind instrument known as the tárogató.

Concert goers are invited to arrive early for a 7:15 p.m. dance lesson before each 8 p.m. concert to learn the traditional steps of the countries presenting music that evening.

“Hungary meets Ghana” concert goers are also invited to attend a 4 p.m. panel discussion led by Society for Ethical Culture leader and historian, Jone Johnson Lewis, that will explore the connections between the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and New York’s feminist Seneca Falls convention of that same year.

In 2020, Flushing Town Hall will continue to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Source: qns.com

Dialogue to publish The Sex Lives of African Women.

Dialogue Books is publishing The Sex Lives of African Women by feminist writer and blogger Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah.

Dialogue Books is publishing The Sex Lives of African Women by feminist writer and blogger Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah.

The deal was struck by the publisher of Dialogue Books, Sharmaine Lovegrove, who bought UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) in the book to be published in April 2021 from Robert Caskie of Caskie Mushens.

In The Sex Lives of African Women, individual women from across the African continent and its global diaspora speak to their diverse experiences of sex, sexualities and relationships, according to Dialogue Books, as well as revealing common threads.

“Positive experiences emerge of living life on one’s own terms, from finding queer community in Egypt to living a polyamorous life in Senegal,” reads the book’s synopsis. “Many of the women who tell their stories in this collection speak to the journeys they have travelled in order to own their own sexualities. They do this by grappling with experiences of child sexual abuse, resisting the religious edicts of their childhood, and by asserting their sexual power, whether that be by working as a dominatrix or choosing to leave relationships that no longer serve them. Women do all this in a quest to live free.”

The book’s author, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, spent six years speaking to women from all over the world for her research, including in Ghana and the UK, where she is best connected, as well as from countries including Sao Tome, Senegal, Italy, Brazil and the US.

“These stories have provided me with deep insights into women’s quest for freedom and the complex journeys that so many of us take to arrive at that ultimate destination,” said Sekyiamah. “I hope that the people who eventually get to read this book get to understand the complex tapestry of African women’s sexuality and find many inspirational models to live a truly liberated life.”

She added: “I am especially delighted to be represented by Robert Caskie who got the vision of this book from the very start and found the perfect home for it with Dialogue Books. It’s such a pleasure to be working with Sharmaine Lovegrove to bring a book into the world that I truly hope will inspire conversation about the complex lived experiences of African and black women.”

Lovegrove said: “Often black women, despite being sexualised from a young age, are invisible from narratives around sex, desire and choice. This book under the skilled and thoughtful pen of Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah illuminates and amplifies the voices of myriad black women on all elements of sexuality and the result is an incredible, revealing book that is complex, nuanced and freeing. I am so proud to publish this vital book and give space to further break taboos with Nana.”

Caskie said: “It’s always very exciting to come across a writer who has a distinctive and unique voice, especially when they use to explore a complex and fascinating topic. This is Nana. And of course, the perfect match for her is the equally unique and distinctive Sharmaine at Dialogue. What a joy for me to be able to work with both women at the same time on a book that will rightly demand everyone’s attention.”

Adeyemi thrills us once more in her magical new Book

In this fast-paced, explosive tale with short chapters, Tomi Adeyemi weaves a rich tapestry of Orishan culture, fashion, magical symbols, landscapes and temples. Its multi-faceted citizens reflect Africa’s diverse human heritage. Social class, unjust hierarchy and fragile friendships play out strongly in the plot.
Nigerian-American writer Tomi Adeyemi has a new book titled Children of Virtue and Vengeance, which is a follow up of her successful debut novel Children of Blood and Bone.

Once again, Adeyemi takes us into the magical kingdom of Orisha. We begin in the aftermath of a bloody conflict that sees the emancipation of maji (people with magic) from the rule of a brutal, tyrannical king.

Zelie, the teenage warrior heroine, returns along with her older brother Tzain and Princess Amari. But people of Orisha are still suffering.

The palace maintains a tremulous hold on power, which is preventing true prosperity for all. Food is scarce, people are still grieving, and towns are trying to rise from the ashes.

Like the title description, hate and the quest for vengeance runs strong in Zelie. She has become the Soldier of Death, driven by grief over the death of her father and betrayal by her love interest. The liberation of magic has brought consequences she did not anticipate.

Queen Nehanda is the new antagonist and she wants to annihilate the maji that killed her husband. She wields her new supernatural abilities with devastating costs that confound even the most experienced magicians. Supporting her in this quest is General Okoye, the petite female leader of the royal armies who detests magic.

Zelie, Tzain, Amari and a band of fugitive magicians must find a way to overthrow Queen Nehanda, retake the throne and stop the nation from plunging into civil war. Their quest is complicated because the maji are not united. Royal siblings Inan and Amari are now on opposite sides. Magic has spread to the military and the nobility, the traditional oppressors of the people.

Like its predecessor, Children of Virtue and Vengeance is driven by adolescent characters but is still engaging for adult audiences. However, it can be both endearing and exasperating to watch the teen protagonists engage in impulsive behaviour or inadequate decision-making.

Keeping up with the broad list of characters is challenging. Personalities we thought died in the previous book reappear to play prominent roles.

Spells, incantations and surreal events fill the story and there are myriad types of magic, magical people and colours of magic which can be bewildering. But reference to real places and Nigerian folklore traditions gives the novel a sense of realism.

Following in the success of a first novel can be a tall order. I rue the diminished presence of Tzain, Zelie’s loyal and level-headed brother who tempers the angry emotions that dominate this narrative. Prince Inan, so promising before, is not rising up to the occasion quite as well this time round.

In this fast-paced, explosive tale with short chapters, Adeyemi weaves a rich tapestry of Orishan culture, fashion, magical symbols, landscapes and temples. Its multi-faceted citizens reflect Africa’s diverse human heritage. Social class, unjust hierarchy and fragile friendships play out strongly in the plot.

Born to Nigerian immigrants in the US, Adeyemi grew up in a small, mostly white town and in more recent years has been disturbed by police violence meted out on African Americans.

Once again she has boosted the genre of African teen fantasy books, which are far and few between. Though not as thrilling as the first instalment, it is still exciting to journey through a complex and cultured African realm albeit a fictional one. The story ends with strong anticipation for the follow-up book.

One can easily imagine Children of Virtue and Vengeance being translated into a film. Adeyemi’s first novel, Children of Blood and Bones released in 2018, will be made into a movie by a division of Walt Disney Studios.

Jessica B. Harris Receives James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award.

James Beard names its lifetime achievement award winner
The James Beard Foundation announced the recipient of one of its most prestigious titles this week, awarding the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award to Jessica B. Harris, who was born in Queens and taught at Queens/CUNY for close to 50 years. As a professor, an editor, a historian, and an author, Harris’s work centers on the foodways of the African diaspora. She’s just the second African-American woman to receive the honor, following in the footsteps of the late, legendary New Orleans chef Leah Chase, who received the award in 2016.

Among her many contributions to the food industry, Harris has written extensively about the ways in which the African diaspora has influenced cooking in the United States, with books like Sky Juice and Flying Fish: Traditional Caribbean Cooking, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from African to America, and Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking. More recently, her work has touched the Museum of Food and Drink’s New York exhibition, called African/American: Making the Nation’s Table, which highlights the black farmers, chefs, and restaurants who have shaped America’s national culinary identity.

“I am mindful that while my name is on [this award], it is also meant for those African Americans in the hospitality world in the past who labored unheralded, un-thanked, and for too many centuries unpaid or underpaid,” Harris shared in a statement through the foundation. “I hope that this extraordinary honor heralds the beginning of a new era when all Americans can sit down and fully participate at the nation’s table and none of us are strangers at the feast.”

Source: Eater NY

Remembering Pius Adesanmi.

A year ago, on March 10, 2019, the Carleton University community suffered the loss of Pius Adesanmi, a well-loved and respected professor in the Institute of African Studies, a mentor to his students, a friend to his colleagues, a pillar of Ottawa’s African community and a loving father and husband.

Adesanmi was on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed minutes after takeoff in Addis Ababa.

In the weeks that followed this tragic news, a celebration of life was held at the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, providing the Carleton community with the opportunity to honour Adesanmi’s life. His family, students, colleagues and members of Ottawa’s African diplomatic community paid their respects through tributes, poetry, drumming and singing.

Born in Nigeria in 1972, Adesanmi completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Ilorin, and his master’s at the University of Ibadan, both in Nigeria. He came to Canada for his PhD in French Studies, graduating from the University of British Columbia in 2002.

Source: Carleton Newsroom

Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon amplifies literary culture.

If there is a singular, historical link between Africa and America, it is the literary bond developed in 1927 between Zora Neale Hurston and Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of Black bodies transported from Africa to the Americas from 1619 to 1865, Cudjo is the only man left and Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” is his story.

Barracoon was released May 8, 2019 and Women’s History Month is an apt opportunity to reprise Zora Neale Hurston’s posthumous, nonfiction work. In Barracoon, the renowned novelist and cultural anthropologist captures the humanity and abject exploitation of Cudjo’s story. It is fact-based, rooted in oral history and verified by Hurston’s extensive, ethnographic research.

Born in 1841 in what is now Benin, Cudjo is the last surviving African brought to America in what is believed the last known slave ship – the Clotilda. He was captured at the age of 19 and forced into slavery. The 86 year old opened up to Hurston during her 1927 travels to Plateau, AL which resulted in a literary account of the degradation and trauma of slavery.

Lewis is perpetually homesick and rightfully so. He never forgot his birth name Oluale Kossola, his Takkoi tribe, nor de Affica soil. Sixty seven years later, Oluale Kossola never fully settled into becoming Cudjo Lewis. Instead, he saw himself as being of two different worlds, yet he belonged to neither one. Nothing was of permanence. Not even the town he helped found in Alabama – Africatown – which was renamed Plateau.

An orator of the first order, Cudjo relayed the wisdom of his motherland through stories and parables. He is a man who lost his family in Africa. His identity was snatched from him, replaced by a slave name. Hurston respectfully retained Lewis’ vernacular – jagged and passionate – to give voice to the man deemed America’s last Black Cargo. The following is a poignant excerpt.

“We very sorry to be parted from one ‘nother,” Lewis told Hurston. “We seventy days cross de water from de Affica soil, and now dey part us from one ‘nother. Derefore we cry. Our grief so heavy look lak we cain stand it. I think maybe I die in my sleep when I dream about my mama.”

Hurston’s literary approach didn’t tell his story; Cudjo divulged his truth and owned the pace. Hurston didn’t shape his literary voice; his vernacular was left intact.

Barracoon is decidedly different from other books that illuminate the African Slave Trade in America. A master storyteller and unlikely griot did more than just cross paths; they combined like DNA to produce a book of historical magnitude. Instead of making a slave the discussion’s topic, one of the last known survivors of the Middle Passage plaintively speaks.

Zora Neale Hurston should henceforth be deemed the foremost genealogist of the Black American story for fulfilling a literary neglect. In the tradition of her celebrated folklore, Hurston summates, “All these words from the seller, but not one word from the sold.”

Source: The Miami Times

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