Enhancing the Economy of Entertainment with Ariya Repete

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Captured with two Yoruba words which is loosely interpreted as ‘total enjoyment’, the entertainment industry, especially in South West Nigeria is about to experience an exciting a music talent hunt which encompasses Fuji and Juju music. The competition is an initiative of the lager beer brand, Goldberg, also known as ‘Your Excellency’ from the stables of Nigerian Breweries Plc.

The talent hunt is aimed at discovering and promoting young and indigenous music talents in Yorubaland, South West of Nigeria, and to empower them to be part of the existing pool of Fuji and Juju artistes that would engender growth of the entertainment culture in the region.

Audition and selection for this contest is expected to commence this month in major cities in the South West. The organizers say the competition would provide an unparalleled experience as young artistes would compete in their various capacities go up against one another in a bid to win fabulous prizes and recording deals.

Goldberg which has gained much popularity and appeal in its Fuji music talent hunt, ‘Fuji t’o Bam’ introduced in 2012, has decided to include Juju music in this year’s musical concerts in order to capture what was left untouched in the indigenous entertainment culture of  the South West.

Also, the importance attached to both music genres has prompted Goldberg to encompass them under the ‘Ariya Repete’ musical platform.

The inclusion of Juju music called ‘Juju to Gbayi’ under Ariya Repete, came from feedback gotten from lovers of Juju music who felt marginalised and even tried to pass off as Fuji musicians so as to get a chance to contest.

Both Fuji and Juju music are indigenous to the Yorubas, and they are not just means of entertainment, but also a means of moral, religious and cultural education.  Although, they have incorporated western instruments, they remain rooted in the traditions, culture and language of the Yoruba people.

For them, music occupies a central place in celebrations of life and death, religious ceremonies and recreation in general. This has earned them the appellation of “Owambe”, a reference to their love for parties and ceremonies.

Yoruba popular music largely rely on indigenous musical instruments like the ‘dundun’ and ‘bata’ drums and traditional oral poetry like ‘oriki’ and ‘iwure’.

Both genres of music provide avenues for relaxation and social interaction during performances before large audiences that cut across age grades, religions or social status.  They remind society about positive cultural values and deprecate societal ills.

Also, one important aspect of these music genres is the opportunity it creates for employment as each of the band employs an average of six to 10 individuals or more as drummers, vocalists, guitarists, percussionists, engineers, etc.  This helps in alleviating a major social problem of unemployment in the society.

Those wedding, naming and funeral ceremonies where they perform nearly every weekend create avenues for big businesses and petty-traders to do business.  Breweries sell their products while the average woman who sells wares also makes profit from sales.

More importantly, these musical forms contribute to the promotion of Yoruba language and to a great extent the strengthening of traditional institutions through their emphasis on respect for elders, and the affirmation of the authority of traditional rulers.

Meanwhile, at outdoor celebrations where these musicians perform, the wealthy exhibit their wealth while the urban poor get the opportunity to enjoy free food, drink and entertainment.  Not only do such performances provide relief for many groaning under severe economic strains, it also saves society from major social upheavals as people often take solace in the lyrics of the songs to console themselves and build hope for tomorrow.

According to Professor Akin Babawale, former Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) and Professor of Political Science, University of Lagos; both music genres under Ariya Repete would provide opportunities for families and friends to gather together, interact and build new friendships and social networks.

Meanwhile, the 2016 Fuji t’o Bam competition which produced Tope Ajani the overall winner, has paved way for him to launch his second album. The album which is a collection of Fuji music would promote the relevance of the music genre that depicts the culture of the people of the South West, whose interest in it cannot be quantified.