Bantu, Awadi, Smockey On A Mission With ‘Right Of Life’

Ade-Bantu-CopyAs part of its commitment to end the conflicts Africa, Artwatch Africa, an arm of the pan-continental body, Arterial Network, yesterday, formally presented Right to Life, a musical video, recorded by 11 artistes drawn from across eight countries within the continent, during the popular monthly Afropolitan Vibes concert, which held at the Freedom Park, Lagos.

The song which was recorded at Studio Sankara, owned by the Burkina Faso singer and political activist, Smockey, features both audio and video recordings under the collective name of Artwatch Africa Ambassadors for Creative Expressions, and has Didier Awadi (Sénégal), Soum Bill (Côte d’Ivoire), Josey (Côte d’Ivoire), Zeynab (Bénin), Master Soumy (Mali), Monza (Mauritanie), Smockey (Burkina Faso), Alif Naaba (Burkina Faso), Awa Sissao (Burkina Faso), Pheno Bi (Niger) and Ade Bantu (Nigeria)

Speaking about the concept of the project, founder of the Afro-German Collective musical, Adegoke Odukoya popularly known as Ade Bantu, said it is targeted at addressing the issue of extremism, a plague that has taken over the region.

He stressed that in Nigeria, there are about 3.5 million internally displaced people. “There is a war and our governments are in denial. It is the voiceless masses that are suffering. In our own way of expressing our displeasures, we took our voice and talent, put them together to come up with the song, Right To Life.”

He continued, “The video was shot in Suntown, South Africa. We need people to support the cause. It is sub-titled in English for people that don’t understand French, and it would help to gist of the lyrics and the song. As artistes, we are using our voices and talents to pass across the messages of millions of people, who one way or the other are affected by the plague of extremism.

“We want the world to know that there is war and let Africa governments admit that as a fact. I want the Nigerian government to stop talking about the issue as conflict, but admit that there is a war. When you have 3.5 million internally displaced people in the country as a result of extremism, it is enough to admit that there is a war.”

Bantu lamented that if it was the daughter of the President, Vice President, Senate President or the Speaker that was taken they would have been found, but 500 days after, no sight of the Chibok Girls.

For the project initiator, Senegalese revolutionary rapper and singer, Didier Awadi, the song and project is a conglomeration of brains in the Africa music industry, stressing that the artistes in the project belong to same network and share the same passion, love and feeling for the continent.
He said the project is an opportunity by the artistes from across the continent to unite their voices and record song on freedom of expression

Awadi said, “we belong to one big network and shares common feelings for the region and the African continent. I’m privilege to be the connecting pipe. We are musician and we use music as a weapon. For me, the most important thing is that we have to say something and said loud.

“We will not wait for the western world to come and teach us how to fight our own devils. As musicians, we have our works across the world and people listen to us. We have our voices the best way we can for our people. It is our struggle and we must combat, because nobody will come to save us.”

Earlier in the year, Artwatch Africa launched the Ambassadors for Creative Expressions project, which has the sole aim of canvassing for freedom of artistic rights and creative expressions during a two-day workshop that held in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso in the course of the 24th Pan-African Cinema and Television, FESPACO 2015.

During the workshop, which held from March 4 to 5, the artistes were taken through a workshop on various issues that involved freedom of creative expression. And many of them meeting for the first time at the workshop, collaborated to forge common strategies that could be adopted in championing freedom of artistic and creative expression on the continent.

With guidance from officials of the Artwatch Africa (Arterial Network), the artistes set up a focus group and tried to identify challenges to be overcome so that artistes would be accorded their due respect in all the countries of the continent.

The aim of the meeting, an official of the group, Jahman Anikulapo, said was to reinforce presence and involvement artistes in the struggle for freedom of creative and artistic expression on the continent and to also provide the artistes with tools that would assist in the defence of freedom of expression such as, interviews, concerts, their grassroots presence and field action.

Highlight of the workshop was the recording of joint single titled Right To Life. The two-day session climaxed with a concert put together by the Burkinabe top rapper, Serge Bambara well known as Smockey, with the launch of his latest album, leading other hip-hop stars and members of the ‘Balai Citoyen’ (Citizen Broom collective), on March 5 in the ruins of the old National Assembly of Ouagadougou.

Arterial Network is a dynamic, pan-African civil society network comprising artistes, activists, organisations and institutions engaged in the African creative sector. The Network is incubated in Nigeria by the leading culture advocacy group, the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), and it is known as CORA-Arterial Network with headquarters in Surulere, Lagos.

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