Kanye West Announces ‘Nebuchadnezzar’: An Opera Performance.
Kanye West is on a roll.
He tweeted on Sunday, announcing a performance of Nebuchadnezzar, “A Kanye West Opera” at the Hollywood Bowl on Nov. 24.
Little is known about the opera’s content other than its title, referring to the real life Biblical character who ruled over the Babylonian empire from c. 605 BC – c. 562 BC. West’s tweet gave a few more clues. The invitation artwork, etched with a golden image of the Babylonian king, states: “Music with Sunday Service, Peter Collins & Infinities Song.”
Classical music buffs will note that Nebuchadnezzar has received the operatic treatment before, most notably in Nabucco (an Italian version of the king’s name), an emotionally charged early work by Giuseppe Verdi from 1841. In Verdi’s portrayal, Nabucco is a complex man whose exile of Jews from their homeland, combined with political foibles, triggers a complete nervous breakdown.
A flawed leader with visions of grandeur who becomes mentally unstable is a plot line that West might relate to. Last year on Jimmy Kimmel Live, West spoke openly about being bi-polar saying, “I don’t know anyone, you know, that ****ed up as much as I have that’s still as successful.”
Regardless of the content of Nebuchadnezzar, and before opera purists start wringing their hands, West can call his creation an opera if he chooses. The 400-year-old art form has proven itself terrifically adaptable and resilient. From cast-of-hundreds standards like Verdi’s Aida (which in some productions has included elephants) to single character, avant-garde monodramas such as Morton Feldman’s Neither, opera comes in all shapes and sizes. As it should.
Burna Boy Makes Tiny Desk Debut.
Burna Boy made his Tiny Desk appearance this week in a black hoodie with his name emblazoned across the front . A feat no other Nigerian artiste regardless of their pedigree has been able to do.
Tiny Desk Concerts is a video series of live concerts hosted by NPR Music, hosted Bob Boilen in Washington, D.C.
“Burna has been working really hard, so please bear with us,” his mother and manager, Bose Ogulu was reported to have said.
“The band will arrive well before him. Let me know the latest time at which he can arrive.”
The Nigerian singer and songwriter is one of the biggest African artists in the world. He’s also a pioneer of Afro-fusion which incorporates sonics and influences from a myriad of genres, laid on an Afrobeat foundation. The sound has been inescapable this year. The man born Damini Ogulu has been touring the world for the majority of 2019 and has at least 10 songs in the current nightclub rotation. Beyoncé took notice and offered him a place on The Lion King soundtrack, The Lion King: The Gift.
Sandwiched between two sold-out concerts in Washington D.C., his Tiny Desk performance offers something relatively different from what we’re used to seeing at his rowdy stage shows. He’s more reflective here and restrained, allowing his songwriting to shine. In the spirit of one of his heroes, Fela Kuti, he weaves through highlights from his breakout album, African Giant, that are liable to move your body as much as your social consciousness.
MAKING A CASE FOR LEGACY; A STUDY OF THE LIJADU SISTERS
Our attitude to legacy is a direct reflection on what we are as an industry and a country. When we fail to honour those who created the legacy that we currently enjoy as an industry, we fail the culture.
Its not the exact same in other climes though.
The 2019 BET awards honoured living legend Mary J. Blige with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Legendary singer, Diana Ross was cajoled to the 2019 Grammy Stage for a memorable performance while Yolanda Adams, Fantasia and Andra Day teamed up to honor the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, with a stirring rendition at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
Yet, a shocking majority of Nigerian music stakeholders don’t have an inkling who the Lijadu sisters are.
Starting from a place of ignorance, it is apparent that making an effort to even honour music legends would be a hard thing to do.
I am not just making a case for the Lijadu sisters, even though their case comes readily to mind, with the loss of one half of the amazing musical duo who rocked ( their genre incorporated a rave sound called, disco) the 60s and 80s, creating monster hits that influenced the sound of that time and the culture.
Their legacy was legit, to say the least.
The Lijadu Sisters, Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu, identical twin sisters from Nigeria were a major feature in the Nigerian music scene from the mid-1960s to the 1980s.
They achieved success in Nigeria and had modest influence in the United States and Europe.
They were notable for being a West African version of the Pointer Sisters who mixed Afrobeat sounds with jazz and disco
They were cousins of popular Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.
On 9th November 2019, aged 71 years, Kehinde, one half of the musical duo passed on. Diagnosed a while back, she had struggled with cancer until her death.
A few publications, not overrun by ADD-plagued millennials, featured the news. It lacked any spark, but at least it ran before more pop-culture relevant news took over the day.
The news all sounded the same.
“The entire music Industry mourn the passage of Taiwo Lijadu for her contribution to the Nigerian musical space.”
Fast forward, a few days later and as is expected, a befitting memorial service is being planned. But what was unexpected was the fundraising format.
Taiwo, recently opened a Go-Fund me page to raise money for her sister’s upcoming Memorial Service.
Created about 7 days ago, the messaging on the Go-Fund Me page reads.
On the evening of Friday, November 8, 2019 Kehinde Lijadu sadly passed away in her home in New York City.
If you wish to support the memorial service for Kehinde, please donate to our fundraiser. Funeral arrangements are ongoing and will be updated to this page.
“Enia lashoomi” – “A person’s value is measured in the people around them”
At the time of this publication, the page which had surprisingly raised $3,251 was still far from its $50,000 target; with 42 donors, 129 shares and 42 followers.
The personal message by Taiwo Lijadu on the platform must have struck a nerve.
“A tree has fallen!!!! On Friday the 8th November, 2019, my beloved twin sister, Kehinde Lijadu transitioned at our home here in New York after a long battle with cancer.
She was 71. Kehinde was my light, my love, my soul mate… my everything. I am bereft and will miss her dearly.
Many years ago, Kehinde and I combined forces to form The Lijadu sisters in our home country, Nigeria. This came at a time when the music scene was exclusively male dominated. Our early efforts though daunting, were met with much love and success especially from our fans.
Kehinde was diagnosed a number of years ago and fought the illness gallantly until she took her last breath. Today I urgently need your kind support to honor her legacy and lay her body to rest.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported our efforts so far. I love you, and I know Kehinde loves you, too.”
Taiwo Lijadu, on behalf of The Lijadu Family
Messages and well-wishes quickly poured in as well as donations. Unsurprisingly, the Nigerian names on the list of donors is conspicuously few.
Like I said, I am not really making a case for the Lijadu Sisters, just our attitude to legacy.
By the way, the fundraising effort is still ongoing, so you can head over to the page and show your love to the course.
It’s the African thing to do.
It’s award seasons in a bit and I won’t be particularly surprised if special mentions to the legacy of the Lijadu sisters will not be part of the agenda.
Let’s just hope things get better with time and Burna Boy gets a special tribute 30 years from now.
Burna Boy, makes nominees list for 2020 Grammy Awards.
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in. While we’ll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on January 26, to find out who takes home what, we have an early start on our favourites.
In a recently released list on the Grammys.com website,
Burna’s ‘African Giant’ album has been nominated in the ‘Best World Music category.’
The nomination which is described as ‘for albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental World Music recordings.’ might not be clearly defined but nominees definitely are.
Nominated in the same category with Burna Boy are:
Altin Gün (GECE);
Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley (WHAT HEAT);
Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet (FANM D’AYITI)
and Angelique Kidjo (CELIA).
Nigerian artists immediately took to social media to Stan the African Giant with congratulatory messages.