Sound n’ Screen:Fuji T’o Bam… Preserving An Indigenous Sound


Actor/producer, Odunlade Adekola (left), Olaniyi Afonja, Brand Manager Goldberg Lager Beer, Mfon Bassey, Regional Business Manager, West Nigerian Breweries Plc, Joseph Bodunrin, winner of 2015 Goldberg Fuji T’o Bam, Akeem Okiki, Fuji Music Veteran, Alhaji Sikiru Agboola, Splash FM On Air personality, Bayo Faleke and King Wasiu Ayinde (K1) at the presentation of cheque to the winner of Goldberg Fuji T’o Bam in Ibadan.

The popularity of contemporary form Nigerian hip-hop music is not in doubt; the impact is felt all over the continent, especially among youths. Over the years, the Nigerian music industry has recorded tens of billions of naira in music CDs, VCDs sales and concerts ticket sales every year.

Thanks to the increasing consumption of Naija hip-hop. And with the level of support and promotion available to hip-hop music artistes in the country, it’s obvious this genre of music has come to stay with us.

Though this genre of music has become a major part of our culture in Nigeria, having created platforms for young talents to showcase their works and earn a living, there’s concern over lack of support, sponsorship and promotion for indigenous sounds.

Except for few radio and TV stations that still offer space for indigenous sounds, the airwave is largely dominated by hip-hop beats.

So, while hip-hop music booms, artistes playing indigenous sounds such as Afrobeat, fuji, highlife, ekpili music and others are still struggling to sustain their career.

In the past, the Committee For Relevant Art (CORA), in collaboration with Ojez Entertainment initiated the monthly Great Highlife Party, also known as Elder’s Forum.

With the likes of late Alaba Pedro, Maliki Showman, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Oji Oyewole, Tunde Osofisan and others regularly on parade, the highlife music revival project hosted distinguished Nigerians and also provided a platform for the younger generation to appreciate highlife.

Unfortunately, the initiative fizzled out some years back due to lack of support. So, three years ago when Nigerian Breweries Plc, through its Goldberg brand, launched Fuji T’o Bam, a platform for young fuji artistes to showcase their works and win cash prices, it was commended.

To many, the project will eventually set the tone for fuji music promotion within and outside the country. And three years down the line, the initiative has continued to grow from strength to strength, with notable fuji artistes now part and parcel of the project.

After two months of battling with fellow contestants in the 2015 edition of Fuji T’o Bam, of rigorous drills, tensions and excitements, Akeem Okiki from Osogbo, Osun State, emerged winner of the third edition of the show.

Held at the Trans Amusement park in Ibadan, Oyo State, the grand finale saw Okiki thrill guests and judges to earn highest point in the contest.

He now wears the crown The WURA 1 of Fuji T’o Bam, which comes with a cash reward of N750, 000. Saheed Ishola from Ota grabbed N350, 000 as the first runners up prize, Opeyemi Akanbi, while Arole Currency from Ibadan went home with N250, 000 as the second runner up after their battle of wits.

The grand finale, which featured Akeem Okiki, Ishola Saheed, Yusuf Kehinde ( Ejire Performer), Idris Aloma and Opeyemi Akanbi (Arole Currency), kicked-off with a rendition from the praise singer Ewi, who sang the praise of Goldberg brad.

Afterwards, the contestants took turns displaying their mastery of various Fuji theatrics to the admiration of the judges and the audience that thronged the venue.

But highpoint of the event was the impressive performance by the International Fuji icons, Alhaji King Wasiu Ayinde, K1 and Alhaji Abass Akande Obesere aka PK1. Both stars thrilled fans with their popular hits that got guests dancing.

Anchored by actor Odunlade Adekola, the event had in attendance notable Yoruba actors such as Sanyeri, Latin Bolaji Amusan, Kamilu Kompo and Adekola Tijani.

Antenna, winner of the first edition of Fuji T’o Bam and other Ibadan based Fuji stars also lent their full support to the event.   Speaking on the project, the Public Affairs Adviser Nigerian Breweries Plc, Kufre Ekanem expressed great satisfaction over the huge turnout of fuji lovers and artistes.

“Goldberg has delivered on its promises of staging the biggest Fuji Concerts you can ever think of.

It was a night of pure and nothing but Faaji Unlimited. This massive crowd confirms the relevance of the platform, and the need to continue to connect and share consumer’s interest in a more compelling way.”

Ekanem added that, “it’s our believe that as the music activation continues, Fuji T’o Bam will continue to discover more Fuji talents that will fit into the shoes of icons like KWAM1, Pasuma, Saheed Osupa and others.”

In his own comments, Brand Manager Goldberg, Bassey Mfon, stated that the brand believes that Nigeria has talents as shown in the performances of the contestants.

“We will continue to connect with our consumers, understand them and deliver to them undiluted brand experience. This project will continue to get bigger and reach out to more people in more cities in the next edition.”

The lucky winner Akeem Okiki, who was amazed by the accolades of the fans fair in celebrating his new found fame, expressed happiness for winning the coveted talent hunt crown. “I really feel very happy today; it has been God all along.

The competition was very challenging because there were many good Fuji talents who participated from the audition through to the final stage. I’m delighted to have emerged as The Wura 1 of Fuji T’o Bam 2015 and I will continue to represent Goldberg as an ambassador at every level.”

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