Musicians Honour Hugh Masekela at Lagos International Jazz Festival



By Nseobong Okon-Ekong

For a musical event organised on a Monday evening in the bustling Lagos metropolis, the turnout was very impressive. A few factors accounted for this. There had been massive hype for the event from several radio stations a few days before the event. The entry fee was very affordable. The occasion itself was tied to a global music fiesta and the following day was a public holiday. The 10th anniversary of The Lagos International Jazz Festival – Nigeria’s Premier Jazz Festival held on International Jazz Day Monday, April 30 and dedicated to the international Jazz icon, Hugh Masekela, was a resounding success and an event to be remembered for a long time.

Compared to previous years, this year’s edition, though the 10th anniversary was limited to one stage and one day. The performances were nonetheless qualitative. The A-list line-up which included Jazz vocalist Gloria Ibru; Afro-beat sensation Dede Mabiaku; the eclectic, Bright Gain, ‘King Of Sax’, Mike Aremu; Mystical Orliam; Zestful Damilare Sax; the versatile Sharp Band; sensational bassist, Wole Jesutomi; Jazz crooner, Seun Beckley; and a host of others at different times mounted the stage at arts and culture hotspot Freedom Park.

The audience lapped up every bit of the performance in the clement weather. Under this ambiance, special guests of honour and dignitaries like the South African Consul General to Nigeria, Darkey Africa, and his German counterpart, Ingo Herbert, sat together and danced when the occasion demanded. The SA consul general made a goodwill speech, while calling for observance of one-minute silence for Masekela. The performances and brief intermittent speeches were all well managed by the capable anchor man, Sam Uche Anyamele, working with the event stage managers to ensure that everything was well orchestrated to produce an outstanding event. The flawless sound was commended by many who attended the event.

The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in Lagos State, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, was in attendance with a delegation from his ministry which included the special adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Tourism, Mrs. Aramide Giwason, and several directors. Sovereign Trust Insurance (STI) Plc., who had been a committed supporter of the festival from inception, was also well represented by its head of brand communications, Mr. Segun Bankole, and his team. Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, a leading arts and culture advocate, was also there to lend his support to the festival as it marked its 10th anniversary.

Speaking to journalists at the event, LIJF Founder and Festival Director, Mr. Ayoola Sadare, said, “We thank God for this event and the opportunity to mark the 10th anniversary of the Lagos International Jazz Festival on International Jazz Day, though we had a few challenges in the years we couldn’t host it, we are back on track to ensure it’s a continuous yearly Arts and culture fiesta in Lagos. The opportunity to also honour Hugh Masekela is not lost on us. As the father of African Jazz he deserves all the accolades he got both alive and on his passing. We are also grateful for the support we have got over the years we got from various quarters – the media, musicians, producers and many more. Our commitment still remains to make Lagos one of the leading jazz destinations in the world,” he enthused.