One of the winning dancing troupes
One of the winning dancing troupes

By Nseobong Okon-Ekong

Residents of Onitsha are set for an exciting evening of beautiful traditional Igbo highlife music and cultural dance as HiLife Fest’s ‘The Complete Experience’ enters the semi-final stage on Sunday, May 27.

The festival celebrates the Igbo culture of progress borne out of sheer resilience and determination. Highlife music and cultural dance are often the hallmark of the festival celebrations, and at HiLife Fest, the future of this definitive part of our rich heritage is handed down to the young minds.

At the recently concluded quarter final, fans were treated to a thrilling and engaging delivery of top-notch highlife music in which five dance groups and 10 singers made it to the next level. The semi-final stage will feature Prince Destiny Oluchukwu and Dons Ifeanyi (Anambra state), Chinedu Obiajulu and Emeka Ngwu (Enugu State), Agbom Emmanuel (Delta State), Kalapi Ojuka and Kelvin Emmanuel (Rivers State) Ifeanyi Ogbu (Ebonyi State), Chuks Arthur and Obioha Ikechukwu (Abia State) in the singing category. For the dancers, Kanaowo Dance Group (Rivers State), Noel Africa Cultural Entertainment (Ebonyi State), Umuchiziri Egwu Cultural Dance Group (Enugu State), Asinnodricks Africa (Imo State) and Ofu-Obi (Anambra State) will slug it out for a spot in the grand finale.

Expressing joy on reaching the semi-finals, Emma Agbom gave kudos to the organisers for providing a rich platform for young people to showcase their talent to the world. He was particularly thankful for the grooming and mentoring sessions at HiLife Fest Academy. This, he said, impacted immensely on his performance in Aba.

With just one more hurdle between these contestants and the grand finale, the contestants will not afford to give anything other than their very best intent on impressing the intimidating line-up of Judges – veteran highlife maestro and creator of Zigima style, Chief Bright Chimezie; music producer and actor, David Jones David; studied instrumentalist, JJ Aguize; versatile dance instructor, Dr Nicholas Akas; and guest Judge Michael Ndubisi.
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