Lagos glows with Night of Jazz tonight
Jazz music is not a very popular genre of music in Nigeria, probably because of the slowness of the delivery of its message. Unlike hip-hop and afrobeat that have many followers in Nigeria, a few are lovers of Jazz. These few are often referred to as cerebral and creative minds.
But for keeping the flame of jazz aglow despite its low patronage, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, will be hosting jazz lovers to an evening of Jazz at the government house to mark this year’s International Jazz Day tonight.
At a briefing held last Tuesday, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde said, since 2011, Nigeria has not been left out of the celebration of the entire month, saying April is the month of Jazz, and the culmination of that month long celebration is the international jazz day on every April 30.
He said the state government is happy that the commemoration this year falls on a Saturday and in celebrating the day, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who is aware that a number of individuals and organisations have been celebrating that day in Nigeria, wants to applaud their contributions.
The Commissioner listed the institutions and individuals to include promoters of the Lagos International Jazz Festival through the Inspiro production; MUSON centre through the yearly MUSON Jazz Festival; the Satchmos Group using the Satchmos Jazz and Cultural Festival, with the new Oni of Ife as patron and organisers of the Runway Jazz.
“The message from the governor is that we appreciate all what these people have been doing in making sure that the high art that jazz is finds a deep root in Nigeria and in particular Lagos state.
“For this year, you may want to ask why the governor is interested in celebrating the International Jazz Day. For those who know him quite well, even before he became the number one citizen of the state, you will know that this is a man who has very abiding interest in the promotion of music and entertainment.
“And as a matter of fact, a couple of popular artistes in Nigeria have benefitted from his abiding interest in promoting music. You will also know that during the campaign, music in particular, played a major role in the campaign that brought the governor into office. You will know that there were a number of artistes who were called the Ambode ambassadors, who supported his aspirations and dreams, who assisted him in giving the best communication campaign ever that would see a governor winning an election in Nigeria”
Ayorinde recalled that one of the things that the governor promised is to establish is abiding interest in matters of arts, entertainment and culture, which has to do with the slogan THESE, (Tourism, Hospitality Entertainment/ Arts, Sports for Excellence) to market Lagos as a destination and create jobs.
“So with this background in mind, you can deduce why the governor is interested in celebrating the International Jazz Day. One, because he believes that the youth will be gainfully employed, if we have a vibrant entertainment and music industry. Then, there is no city-state or a country that can claim to be a destination without a vibrant entertainment industry, which was why in the first instance and in the history of the state, he created a distinct ministry to run issues that pertain to matters of arts and culture.”
For the commissioner, the celebration of the International Jazz Day 2016 is in continuation of the success of One Lagos Fiesta. The choice of ‘Lagos in tune with the world’ as the theme of tonight’s show, according to Ayorinde is to establish the connection between the Lagos outing and the global trend.
“It has been mentioned that what he would be doing on Saturday is very much in line with what the President of the United State of America, Obama will be doing on the eve of the International Jazz Day. Obama would be hosting a similar gathering, the best of American Jazz Artistes on the night of the 29 running to the morning of 30th.”
“Ours will be on the day itself and it would be in the evening. Like Obama who is much interested in celebrating and applauding American Jazz Artistes, what the governor would be doing is to express his appreciation to those who have demonstrated commitment to jazz music particularly in Lagos State because if it is not happening in Lagos, it is really not happening anywhere else.
“So the event on Saturday would be largely in partnership with the organisers of the Lagos International Jazz festival who by the way are still having their own three-day event from Friday to Sunday in Lagos. But for Saturday, the main event would be the hosting of jazz community and artistes in Lagos State,” the Information commissioner said.
According to him, the first hour of the celebration, tonight, will see young vibrant jazz artistes performing; the following two hours would be by established Jazz artistes and the last hour for jazz session.
He maintained that the outing will not be a jazz evening without the very talent Nigerian artistes who will be performing, which is not to say that a few foreign faces and friends from abroad will not identify with the initiative of the governor, “but the emphasis is celebrating our own.”
He said that the night will be co-anchored by Gbenga Adeyinka, the first, and Dare Art Alade, who is a product of Jazz, and would be performing jazz too. “And for those who wish to attend if you are not a jazz lover; I’m sorry, because it will be an evening for jazz music.
“We would have Yinka Davies, who will be coming with her full band. Then Nigeria born but British artiste, Lekan Babalola; he would be performing with the Eko Brass Band; Herbert Kunle Ajayi; Bright Gain; Ubong Ntia; Sam and the Jazz Apostles; Victor Ademofe Band; Dapo Fasuyi and the constant band would be the Organic Jazz.”
Ayorinde said that though Jazz has its root in slavery, the whole idea is not to celebrate the slavery aspect, but the blackness. “Jazz is no longer mourning about the injustice of the past; it is genre that applies to gospel, a bit of afro-jazz, that can uplift your spirit, so we should run away from relegating jazz to the low aspect of our history.”
Ayorinde also stated that the celebration like others is about opening up the space for entertainment and tourism to thrive in the state.
Ayo Shadare of Lagos International Festival gave an insight to how the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is raking in millions of rands for the South African economy noting that celebrating the international Jazz Festival is not just an entertainment product but a tourism product if well harnessed. He maintained that in boosting the state economy through entertainment and tourism, the celebration of the International Jazz Day is the right step in the right direction.