Afrocentric Music Hits Bogobiri Rooftop

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Duro Ikujenyo in performance

The spirit of Fela and nightlife will be revived in Lagos this weekend as Fela’s former pianist, Duro Ikujenyo and other legends headline this inaugural all-night rooftop show at Bogobiri House, Ikoyi this weekend, says Yinka Olatunbosun

This year’s music package is loaded. It’s the inaugural performance to usher in the Afro Spot Music Nite Club on the Roof Top at the Bogobiri House, Falomo, Ikoyi Lagos. This show will take place every Friday and Saturday commencing from January 25.

The Afro Spot tradition was pioneered by a popular highlife night club, Kakadu at Alagomeji, Yaba with Fela Anikulapo Kuti as one of the prominent headliners of the period-the early 70s.

The likes of Sir Victor Uwaifo, Peter King and E.C. Arinze defined the cultural landscape of the period.

“This venue lost it vibrancy as a highlife centre during the Nigerian civil war between 1967 and 1969,” Duro Ikujenyo began as he travelled down memory lane to paint the mental picture of the nightlife in Lagos.

“Fela came back from his nine months performance tour in the United States of America when he discovered himself and became an emancipated pan African with messages of Black Power and the influence of Black conscious leaders like Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkurumah, and the Black Panther movement in the United States of America, where he met Sandra Izsadore, Female Afro American Black power activist,’’ he recalled.

Fast-forward to present day, the harsh economic terrain in Nigeria has taken its toll on nightlife. There are very few known places where rich African music is performed live in Lagos.

Chike Nwagbogu, the curator and the artist manager at Bogobiri thought of night performance at the Bogobiri and invited the highlife and jazz masters like Jimi Solanke, Prince Eji Oyewole, Duro lkujenyo and Femi Aribisala of the “Don’t drop the Mic music crew’’ to launch the Afro spot at Bogobiri towards promoting African music.

“This new hub intends to create an awareness of Nigerian, African and world music entertainment. It is relaxational, cutting across music genres be it Afrobeat, Highlife, Jazz, Rap, Hip-hop,’’ Ikujenyo said.

The helmsman at New Age Production had been on hiatus earlier last year but insisted that he had not completely abandoned nightlife in Bogobiri, having been a consistent headliner for 16 years.

“l didn’t stay off performance in Bogobiri completely. Being a venue that I like and have been for 16years, that was where I also developed my music and released four albums. There is no retirement for me as the younger generation get inspiration from my experience and are working with me as horn players.

“l will continue to play music until l can’t play anymore. l only had to rest from an accident l had in February last year. l performed twice at Freedom Park in 2018 and Felabration 2018 at the New African Shrine in Ikeja,’’ he said.

Ikujenyo, who is famed for piano accompaniment in “Fela’s Water No Get Enemy” amongst other hits, is working on his next album titled, “Made in Africa”.

For a city that hardly sleeps, Lagos deserves more afro-centric shows like this against all the economic odds.