#RoundAboutTown With Henri Yire
I am concerned.
The city is stirring rather slowly.
The weekend activities are unfurling but not quickly enough.
Night dwellers are thirsty for some good old action.
We demand it.
Show promoters are all saying the same thing.
“We are seriously prepping for some cool Valentine events.”
Well, while we wait for the biggest celebration of love the world over, we need some action, don’t we?
Don’t get me wrong there are some really cool events this weekend but we need some more diversity.
A little high-energy, calorie-burning event won’t be a bad idea at all.
My tip for this weekend would be to try a trio to the beach.
The quiet serenity that the beach-front ambience offers, would do you some good.
We also have a couple more interesting gigs that you can enjoy this weekend.
Here they are, in no particular order.
2Baba, Teni, Others To Feature In the Second Season of MTV Base Behind The Story
MTV Base Behind The Story is making a return with some of Nigeria’s biggest music stars set to feature in the second season. The show, which is hosted by MTV Base VJ, Sammy Walsh, will see leading talents in the entertainment industry take fans down memory lane, discussing topics around how their careers started, what stardom means to them and where they see themselves in the future.
Behind The Story which first premiered in Nigeria in 2019 with singer Dammy Krane, will return this season with Teni set to feature in the first episode. Subsequent episodes of the show will also feature some of the biggest names in the Nigerian music industry including the legendary 2baba, Zlatan and Sinzu as they sit to share the untold stories behind their biggest career moments as well as take their fans on an exclusive journey back to the places where their careers started.
Also, the new season will see Sammy Walsh interview Big Brother Naija winner, Mercy Eke as well as former BBN housemates Tacha and Khafi as they share some untold stories about themselves and how the BBN show has changed their lives.
According to Solafunmi Oyeneye, the Senior Channels Manager of ViacomCBS, the new season of Behind The Story is not just better than its debut season, but also thoroughly enlightening and filled with several inside stories. “As Nigeria’s number one music and lifestyle channel, MTV Base understands and appreciates the need to continually offer entertainment fans exciting and engaging content. Behind The Story has been curated specifically to provide fans with an opportunity to get to know their favourite stars even better. The show will shed light on the previously unknown backstories on the most newsworthy events that have rocked Nigeria’s entertainment scene.”
MTV Base Behind The Story season 2 premieres 8pm on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 on MTV Base channel 322 on DStv and channel 72 on GOtv. You can also follow @mtvbasewest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or join the conversations using the #MTVBasebehingthestory.
Netflix’s new African spy thriller hopes to take the world by storm
Queen Sono, an African original series commissioned by Netflix, is due out in February
Queen Sono, an African original series commissioned by Netflix, is due out in February
London (CNN)If you’re tired of the Bond formula, Queen Sono may be the spy you’ve been waiting to binge-watch. In this Netflix series, due for global release February 28, Pearl Thusi plays a dazzling secret agent trying to uncover the truth about her mother’s assassination while also protecting her country.
“Queen Sono” is the first original African series commissioned by Netflix (NFLX), part of an effort by the streaming service to increase its appeal to viewers there, analysts say. Netflix seeks to expand in Africa as it nears “a saturation point” for subscriptions in many developed markets, says Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, an associate director at market research firm IHS Markit.
‘Showcasing an African aesthetic’
“Queen Sono” is “a kaleidoscope of expression of African artistry” says Dorothy Ghettuba, head of International Originals for Africa at Netflix. “It showcases an African aesthetic onscreen that the rest of the world has never had a chance to see … exploring the origins of contemporary trends through African eyes and the breadth of ideas that this vast continent has to offer.”
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Chinonye Chukwu to Direct First-two Episodes of Americanah TV Series
Award-winning filmmaker, Chinonye Chukwu will direct the first two episodes of ‘Americanah’, a limited series based on Chimamanda Adiche’s seminal novel, starring Lupita Nyong’o.
The Nigerian-American is the director behind the critically-acclaimed film ‘Clemency’, which won her the 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, making her the first Black woman to win the award.
This development comes after it was announced that actor, Corey Hawkins, would be joining the star-studded cast as Blaine, Ifemelu’s (Nyong’o) present-day boyfriend who is a professor at Yale.
Actress Danai Gurira wrote the pilot and is the series’ show runner.
Chukwu is also slated to direct the upcoming film, ‘A Taste of Power’, based on the life of Black Panther leader, Elaine Brown.
Americanah will premiere on the upcoming streaming platform HBO Max, which is set to launch later this year.
“Bintu – The Musical” brings the crisis in Nigeria’s Northeast to stage
In 2014, Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Borno, and till date, more than 100 of those girls are still missing. Not only has this left numerous families inconsolable but it also gave rise to spread of the Bring Back Our Girls movement.
Over the years, world leaders, concerned individuals and organizations have continued to lend their voices to this cause with the hope that the right actions are taken to ensure that the girls are reunited with their loved ones.
In light of this, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday, December 19 premiered Bintu – The Musical in Nigeria. Staged at the MUSON Centre in Lagos, the theatre production is a bold and thoughtful dramatization of the humanitarian impact of the decade-long crisis that has plagued Nigeria’s north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
Bintu – The Musical is based on the real-life experiences of people caught in the conflict which has driven an estimated two million people from their homes.
The play follows a young girl called Bintu, whose dream of going to university is dramatically cut short when insurgents strike. Bintu and her friends find refuge in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), where they receive humanitarian assistance. While in the camp, Bintu slowly begins to rebuild her life.
The protracted conflict in north-eastern Nigeria, triggered by a regionalized armed conflict, continues to devastate the lives of civilians, leading to widespread forced displacement as well as violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Since its onset in 2009, over 27,000 people have been killed and thousands of women and girls abducted, majority of whom are subjected to sexual violence, exposed to trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence.
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Filmmaker Biyi Bandele on Nollywood, Poverty Porn and the Miracle of Nigeria
One of Nigeria’s great exports is its artists. Biyi Bandele is an award-
winning Nigerian writer and filmmaker. Among his works are the novel The King’s Rifle and the films Half of a Yellow Sun and Fifty. He is currently working on a feature documentary film on Fela Kuti for the BBC and is a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Newsweek’s Sam Hill talked with Bandele from his home in New York City about being a part of the nation’s artistic diaspora and his country’s future. Edited excerpts:
Why does Nigeria have what seems like an inexhaustible supply of great writers and artists?
Because over the last forty years to survive we’ve had to rely on ourselves. Nollywood came into being because in the late 1980’s, state TV simply stopped. Our creativity comes from necessity. We have a healthy skepticism of depending on anyone but ourselves. The result is an artist community that is incredibly resilient and inventive. Nigerians take international influences like reggae and hip-hop and combine it with homegrown musical styles and create something new and great like Afro-beats.
Some critics have said that what the west knows as “Nigerian” literature is really literature written by Nigerians for non-Nigerian audiences. Writer Helon Habila famously called it “poverty porn.”
Helon’s right. To a point. There’s a bit of give-the-editors-what-they-want and it’s true that literary prizes in the West favor victimhood. Several years ago I judged a literary competition. We got a short story by a then unknown writer, a young woman named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Well, I tried to get the story onto the shortlist and I failed. I couldn’t convince my fellow judges. Some felt it wasn’t African enough, presumably because it didn’t deal with HIV or prostitution. (Laugh) Of course, by the time the awards were announced, Chimamanda was a mega-star.
I can’t help noticing that many of the greatest Nigerian artists live outside Nigeria. Do you see a day when that will change?
Nigeria is very important to all of us in the diaspora. We all have dreams of contributing from within and we’d love to go home. But Nigeria is a very, very tricky place. It’s dog-eat-dog. Some returnees have thrived, some haven’t stayed. I try to contribute by taking back film projects, like Half of a Yellow Sun.
Is it hard to make a film in Nigeria?
The hardest part is trying to get the insurance bonds and all that stuff in place. We shot Yellow Sun in the delta. Well, the delta’s a big place and the part we shot in was perfectly safe. In six months we had not a single security incident. But everyone’s seen the photos and heard the stories, so people are afraid to invest.
What do you see in the future for Nigeria?
Nigeria is a miracle. Nigeria was cobbled together in 1914 by the British. It shouldn’t exist, but it does and it’s thriving. As long as we have democracy, no matter how flawed, we will continue to thrive. The beauty of democracy is that it always reinvents itself. OK, maybe it’s two steps forward and one step back, but it’s progress.
Don Jazzy, Jidenna, Wizkid, Davido in Forbes’ list of 10 richest African musicians
The current list of top 10 Richest Musicians in Africa this 2020 and net worth according to Forbes has been released. These popular artistes span from various countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and other countries whose music industries are booming today. The list used factors such as endorsement value, popularity, show rates, sales, awards, YouTube views, appearance in newspapers, investment, social media presence, influence and others. Nigerian artistes, Don Jazzy, Wizkid and Davido, are among the top 10 richest African musicians. According to Forbes, below are the top 10 list of Richest Musicians in Africa 2020 currently and net worth
Akon has over 35 million albums sold worldwide. He is a popular musician in Africa and also in the world. He has won numerous awards including five Grammy Award nominations and has 45 Billboard Hot 100 songs under his belt. He tops the list according to Forbes Africa. Akon net worth is estimated at $80 million at the moment.
- BLACK COFFEE
The multi-award-winning artiste’s real name is Nkosinathi Maphumulo. He was born in South Africa’s house music province, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and raised in the Eastern Cape province, where Nelson Mandela hailed from, before moving back to KZN to study music. He is second richest artiste in Africa but first in South-Africa with a current net worth of $60 million this 2020.
- HUGH MASEKELA
Hugh was born in Witbank, east of Johannesburg. He has released more than 43 albums and performed with Marvin Gaye, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Fela Kuti, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba. He is also one of the richest African musicians today.
- DON JAZZY
Don Jazzy is ranked fourth richest musician in Africa and also first in Nigeria. Like many artistes known with their pseudonyms, his real name is Michael Collins Ajereh, and he started playing music as a child in church before moving to the UK to pursue his career. Don Jazzy net worth currently is $30 million.
Tinashe was a child model by the age of three. The twenty-four-year-old sang before she could talk and made her first appearance in 2000 in the film Cora Unashamed. Her voice also starred in the cartoon feature film: The Polar Express alongside Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks. She is the fourth on Forbes list on richest African musicians.
- JIDENNA, NIGERIAN-AMERICAN
By the age of 10, Jidenna Theodore Mobisson knew he wanted to do music but was afraid to tell his father who wanted him to be an engineer. He is ranked sixth according to Forbes Africa.
Wizkid is arguably currently the uncrowned king of African music. Grammy Award-winning artiste, Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz, danced to his songs Ojuelegba and Caro, with Keys posting a video on her Instagram account with the caption, “This song makes me happy”. Kylie Jenner also posted a video of herself dancing to Wizkid’s music on Snapchat. He is seventh richest musician on the African continent according to Forbes List, with a net worth of $20 milion.
Davido is a popular Nigerian artiste and who achieved celebrity status in just five years. He said it was musicians like P-Square and D’Banj who made him believe this was possible. He became famous for his widely acclaimed 2012 debut album “Omo Baba Olowo”. His net worth currently is $16 million.
Michael Owusu Addo started out as an underground rapper and through the help of Duncan Williams, his former manager, his career was launched. Staying true to his identity, he is a big advocate of Azonto, a Ghanaian genre, that is said to have been born out of Kpanlogo, a traditional dance.
His first single off his fourth album, Mewu, sold almost 4,000 copies on the first day of its release in Ghana. He was also the first Ghanaian to win a BET award.
- OLIVER MTUKUDZI
Oliver Tuku Mtukudzi has 65 albums under his belt, more than the legendary Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. It’s a remarkable career stretching back 41 years with songs that have enlivened parties all over the world.
African American Network presents a tribute to Civil Rights music
THE MAGNIFICENT MEMBERS of the Chicago West Community Music Center. Their performances are jewels to behold. (Photo courtesy CSO)
By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, MSJ
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra African American Network presents a tribute to the role of music in the battle for Civil Rights, along with the members of the Chicago West Community Music Center (CWCMC).
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Chicago West Community Music Center, an after-school program serving more than 250 students from diverse neighborhoods, Darlene and Howard Sandifer have built a program that spans the decades of American-and European-centered music from gospel to jazz to Motown as well as classical and opera. With their frequent travels to music capitals in France, Brazil and China, the Sandifers have become international music ambassadors.
This highly anticipated concert titled “James Reese Europe, The Life, The Music, The Legacy,” and featuring the works of the pioneering African-American composer-bandleader (1880-1919) Reese Europe, will be held on Friday, January 24, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. at Buntrock Hall at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. Reese Europe, regarded as a pivotal figure in the development of ragtime and jazz, represents the current reclamation project of Howard Sandifer, CWCMC’s director.
The pieces that the students will perform are an important part of American music history, though often overlooked now. Reese Europe brought a hand-picked regimental band to Paris after the United States entered World War I. The group earned wide acclaim by playing his own music, a predecessor of 1920s jazz, and his example “opened the door to a lot of performers” such as Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker.
Sandifer, and some former students of his who are now composers and arrangers, have reconstructed Reese Europe’s music for performance from recordings that he [Reese Europe] made after the WWI. “He helped create the foxtrot, the Charleston — he was on the edge of full-fledged jazz style,” Sandifer said.
In October, the Sandifers and 15 students traveled to Paris for a symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of the Pan-African Congress, which involved Black music as well as politics. “It was a tremendous experience” for the students who went, Sandifer said. “They got to perform, to visit schools, to have jam sessions with Parisian students.”
Reese Europe’s music “was a genre that I hadn’t heard about,” said Doriyon Ward, 17, a trumpet player with the CWCMC Orchestra, “and I could tell from the faces in the audience that they hadn’t, either. But it definitely affected the styles we hear today.”
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