Monday 28 November 2016


By Perekeme Odon

The 3rd edition of Africa Meets Reggae / World Music Festival; the annual celebration of reggae and black music has come and gone with its thrills, colours, discoveries, improvement and flaws still flaunting the city of Lagos.

Started in 2014 by Victor Tony Essiet of the ‘Mandators’, Africa Meets Reggae has become one of the biggest reggae festivals in Nigeria and Africa. It is identical with tremendous music, and usually attracts fans from all corners of the globe. This year’s event, which took place on the 26 November 2016, featured a large catalogue of performing reggae artistes, musicians and their counterparts’ world over to the amazement of the crowd at the Hockey Pitch, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Victor Tony Essiet  & The Mandators
Photo Credit: AMR
Eljai (BelizeUSA) Photo Credit: AMR
The stage was exquisitely designed and a sight to view with well lit lights for the finest of the evening to accomplish. More than 35 of the best musicians were on stage, including super stars like Victor Essiet & the Mandators, Eljai Royal (Belize/USA), Jethro Lion, Seyi Shay, Sweat, King Wadada, Emperor Zig-zag, REDfyah (Ghana), Captain Blazee, Oritsefemi, Malaika, Presh, Real Man, St. Peters, Rossie, Big Bob (Sierra Leone) Wazobia Band, Nkulee Dube, Faith Okosun, Vicky Vick, T-Banks, Connel McCoy, MC Sweet Batowei and a host of others.

The show opened with outstanding performance by Noni at the early hours of the evening and metamorphosed to showcase Real Man and Papa Latti. The event took a different dimension with the introduction of a potential tomorrow like Jethro Lion; a Garnet Silk look and sing alike who thrilled the crowd with his conscious lyrics in keeping with the preservation of Reggae music, added with his scintillating performance to the bewilderment of everyone. This young man has it all and was even voted the Man of the show by fans that commended his effort compared to last year when he first performed at the festival.
Jethro Lion--Photo Credit: David Whyte 
The festival widely touted as the most authentic reggae experience in Nigeria, even though it does not get as much promotion due to less commercialization. The venue, which had been used from the maiden edition in 2014 as well, blended perfectly with the intended theme and atmosphere. It was cool and ambient, allowing celebrators the freedom to move around and enjoy sweet live music.

Oritsefemi--Photo Credit; AMR
Oritsefemi will always be a crowd puller with his years of experience in the music industry. He was a favourite of the younger patrons.He gave a fiery energetic performance and took control of the stage to party with his fans devotedly to the delights of everyone. I have been to a few concerts where he was not in top form,but on this night he was in rare form. He sang audience favourites including ‘Double Wahala”.The splendid night was caught in the web when Malaika was introduced, and the entire equipment ceased to distribute sound. He stood on stage for some minutes, while the stunning engineers were running and struggling to fix the slip. Yes, the sound came back and Malaika upped his performance level, which triggered the peaking of the crowd. His fans were everywhere to support him, and he never disappointed.

Koffi Da Guru =Photo Credit: AMR
Comedian, musician-cum-actor, Koffi Da Guru will never cease to amuse his fans. His outing at the intermission point was a kind of nerves freshening to the crowd. He was uproarious all through his stay on stay serving out different rib tickling, but true to life jokes to the audience, and they loved it. It also afforded them the opportunity to see some parts of Koffi in its natural elements
Seyi Shay-- Photo Credit: AMR
Then came Seyi Shay, who many assumed could not hold her own on a live band but prove all critics wrong. She held sway to her own and reminded everyone that she was in control. Even when the equipment was mute for few seconds, she still tried to make a means out before sound was restored. A good one I will say for her.

Faith Okosun and Nkulee Dube, daughters of Late Sonny Okosun and Lucky Dube respectively were highly present at this year’s festival.They both rendered tunes of their late fathers’ songs with strong energetic presentation. The audience gave them a standing ovation. 
Nkulee Dube (Daughter of Lucky Dube)
Photo Credit: AMR
Victor Tony Essiet of the ‘Mandators’ is one of the greatest Nigerian Reggae singers out of Nigeria; he is a classic, a great vocalist.  I do not hear enough of him at live concerts apart from the yearly AMR. Most of the artistes gave great sets.  Music, on point, backing band on point, pitch, on point, engineer on point, and lighting on point.

Faith Okosun (Daughter of Sonny Okosun
Photo Credit: AMR
Another artiste that performed to the admiration of the crowd is Emperor Zigzag of the ‘Kpokomkpakamkpokom’ fame. His all white outfit with a Mobutu-like cap to match gave him an outstanding presence. I have not seen Zigzag perform in while, after I watched him perform at the Lagos Reggae Festival on 29 May 2016.  Zigzag could do no wrong. He thrilled the audience with his reflect performances at all time.  He was very bold and confident as an old warlord of the dancehall business right from the early 90s. He also doubled as Victor Essiet of the Mandators’ sidekick by helping him (Victor) stay afloat while performing.
Malaika-- Photo Credit: AMR
One act that stood out in my mind apart from Akintunde Jimi aka Captain Blazee, Emperor Zigzag, King Wadada, REDfyah from Ghana, Jethro Lion is Eljai Royal; a famous TUFF GONG reggae and R n B vintage singer from Belize/USA. In my notes Eljai has 5 stars*****. Decked in an all white outfit, with a red ‘papa’s cap to match. He tore the Nigerian sky down.  He sang his reggae classics, and then sang the R n B version of the Reggae versions that he covered. The Nigerian crowd was not really familiar with him even though that was his second time performing at the festival, but they loved his style.
Captain Blazee
Photo Credit: TOJ Concept
One good thing about Africa Meets Reggae festival is that lesser-known singers are given a lot of time, and same respect accorded to their senior colleagues. No segregation whatsoever. However, in the wee hour of the morning when the show was running late, some artistes were upset when their set was cut short even though they did not voice their displeasure.
For all lovers of great action, not just reggae, this is one festival you must attend. It promises a singular experience, both with regard to the music and for anyone who appreciates travelling and being in contact with new cultures. Victor Essiet and company is to be commended for bringing out young, fresh, new up and coming artistes and giving them a showcase for their talent.  One of the most talented singers was Jethro Lion; he had a great rootsy voice with a lover’s rock side.  So impressed am I with him, I have mentioned him thrice. That is what the preservation of reggae music is all about, showcasing the new but not forgetting and in fact honouring the old.

Saint Peters-- Photo Credit: AMR
Presh- Photo Credit: AMR
Another peculiar favorite acts of mine on Saturday night and early hours included the King Wadada’s and REDfyah (Ghana) spiritual performances as always. They were never first timers on AMR.  King Wadada ran the stage in a 360 pattern, while Red Fyah, in a full-decked white Bobo Rasta costume, adorned with different peeps and ranks really captivated the yearning of the exhilarating fans. Then came the former Jamaica based Rastafarian, Akintunde Jimi aka Captain Blazee in the morning. Blazee performed as if the clock stood still for him. His lively and metrical performance reminded everyone of Joseph Hill of the Culture fame. I was so glad that he did not go bare chested on the show which used to be his trade mark. Nice one Captain Blazee.

King Wadada- Photo Credit: AMR
The festival had a section called the VVIP, described by the organizers as the “venue within the venue for all performing artistes”. It was a dedicated sector for relaxation and also marking one’s time to be on stage. The audience sitting arrangement was splendid as all the seats were encircled with the red, yellow and green Africa colours to the enchantment of everyone present.

However, the crowd was not too disappointed with the non-appearance of some advertised acts like Tuface Idibia, Illness Nana (Ghana), Imeh Bishop, Small Doctor, Patorankings and Pasuma Wonder, since they were cheerfully entertained to the maximum of the total event.
Noni (Show Opener) Photo Credit: AMR
Africa Meets Reggae has been an annual event in Los Angeles, USA, under Echodelic Music and Dub Club Production. The Festival has permanently had in presence world-renowned reggae artistes yearly. The African version (authorization) dock on the platform of Mystic Records USA/Nigeria, a recording and production company being anchored by Victor Essiet of the Mandators which brought the maiden edition to Nigeria in 2014 at Hockey Pitch, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos and also second edition in 2015 at Ember Creek Water Front, Ikoyi and Hockey Pitch, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos with a message for all and Sundry. The theme for 2015 was “Voice of the Voiceless”, while the theme for this year (2016) is “One People” with world and internationally recognized and locals in attendance.

Wazobia Band-- Photo Credit: AMR
The festival is also to celebrate reggae, its legacy, achievements, and roles in the shaping of the human perspective to each other. It is meant to provide a platform for budding and established artistes to perform with live band to a large live audience and many more. The Africa Meets Reggae is a platform that preaches peace, love and unity through music; to empower the youths/elderly and be the voice for justice for all citizens of mankind and create an atmosphere of togetherness amongst the Nigerian entity, Africa and the world at large.  See you next year…

REDfyah of Ghana on Stage-- Photo Credit: BSA Media
Captain Blazee Performing-Photo Credit: TOJ Concept 
Interview Time With Captain Blazee-  Photo Credit: TOJ Concept
Veteran MC- Tolulope "Sweet Batowei with Blazee & Conscious Band
Photo Credit: TOJ Concept
Interview Time with Jethro Lion- Photo Credit: David Whyte
REDfyah of Ghana on Stage-- Photo Credit: BSA Media
AMR Back up singers
Jethro Lion on Stage
VVIP Interior
VIP Exterior Seats
VIP Exterior Seats
Jethro Lion on Stage
Captain Blazee on Stage
Captain Blazee & The Conscious Band
#AMR2016 Music Festival 

Culled From

Friday 11 November 2016


By Perekeme Odon
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) rolled out its drums for a week-long solo art exhibition titled ‘Forty Years of Art Exhibitions’ in honour of Nigeria’s foremost celebrated cartoon/painting Legend of our time, Mr. Josy Ajiboye. 

 The exhibition which took place at the National Gallery of Crafts and Designs, National Council for Arts and Culture, Lagos Zonal Office, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos state, came to a close on November 9, 2016 with lots of dignitaries, art lovers, collectors, and staff of various federal government agencies.
Mr. Omoniyi Victor, Head, NCAC Lagos Zonal Office
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)
 The Head of NCAC, Lagos Zonal Office, Mr. Omoniyi Dotun Victor who ably represented the Director-General, NCAC, Mrs. Dayo Keshi, opened the exhibition on November 2, 2016. In her opening remark, the Director-General told the audience how delighted she was to present and celebrates a veteran and frontline cartoonist of repute before the public in his forty years of art exhibitions. According to her, “We are here to celebrate him and to ensure Nigerians know the potentials that abound in the creative industry. This is the 40th year anniversary of his exhibition in the industry, and he has impacted positively on the nation because his works speak a lot about culture. For example, one of his works, a talking drum depicts our culture and the artist is talking about our culture that there is a need for unity in the country”.
Mr. Josy Ajiboye
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)
  In her forward note, Mrs. Keshi said NCAC is proud and delighted to be part of this worthy cause. She enjoined Nigerians, especially the investing public and art collectors to join NCAC in celebrating a Cultural Icon like Jossy Ajiboye. Without shredding words, Mrs. Keshi also said “Without our culture, a nation cannot progress, and any nation that forgets her culture is bound to fail”. She advised everyone to take a look-in at the creative industry to see ways of restoring our economy and themselves because, “There is a goldmine in our creative industry.

The Chairman of the occasion, Prince (Engr.) Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon, a distinguished and renowned art collector; and founder of Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) spoke about his reverence as regard the artist and also advocated that, “Josy Ajiboye as a cartoonist and a realistic painter that paints still life drawing will always have a place in the Nigerian art circle by playing a role in the immediate post-colonial life of Nigeria. In fact, artists should be honoured for their roles in documenting history”. He added.
Prince (Engr.) Yemisi Shyllon
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)
Also present at the opening ceremony and cutting of tape was Oba Fatai Aremu Aromire,the Ojora of Ijora who, was amiably represented by Chief Joseph Omobolade, Baale of Marine Beach who said “The arts works were all representing the good sides of life, because they depict the happenings in our country and life styles of today”. 

Other cartoonists and art scholars present were Mr. Aaron Nwankwo (Assistant Director, NCAC, Lagos Zonal Office), Dele Jegede, Victor Ekpuk, Kolade Oshinowo, Aremu Temitope Abayomi Babayemi, and staff of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Lagos Zonal Office.
More than 60 artworks, many never shown in Nigeria before, were the centerpiece of the programme. The works exhibited ranged from various paintings, cartoons and drawings of the exhibitor and inhabited on different bubbles of our economical, political, environmental and socio-cultural life styles and activities in our country.
Chief Joseph Omobolade
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)

Ajiboye, the surrealistic , realistic and romantic artist is not an unknown name in the Nigerian art domain. He told whoever cared to listen that he has been drawing and painting for over 40 years because of the love he has for the art: “What has kept me going in the industry is my love and passion for the arts. I cannot do any other work even if I am paid so much money. I cannot stop doing arts, because it is my hobby”.
With a big artist like Ajiboye being presented to the public, the NCAC art gallery was near being renovated to the amazement of the visitors. Though, the illumination was not too bright for visitors to capture the clarity of the works being exhibited. Not much ventilation was felt, as the air conditioners were not in full capacity. But beyond that the show was a success story to everyone present.

Nevertheless, Mr. Aaron Nwankwo, Assistant Director of NCAC, Lagos Zonal Office went on to say "An art exhibition is traditionally the space in which art objects (in the most general sense) meet an audience. Hence, this is not the first time NCAC is partnering with the artist, for an exhibition". On October 1-14, 2008, Josy Ajiboye and his dynasty of creative artists in Nigeria had a group art exhibition at the Red Brick Building, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos titled ‘The Art Family’ with sponsorship from Fobat Group International. Other members of the family that joined the Ajiboye for the group exhibition were his wife, Adunni and four children; Segun, Rotimi, Yemisi and Aderonke. The Art Family had dignitaries within and outside the art circle present like His Majesty, Akran of Badagry, De Wheno Aholu-Menu Toyi I, Late Ambasador Segun Olusola, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Prof. Yusuf Grillo, Kolade Oshinowo, Simi Ogunsanya, Dr. Kunle Filani and members of the diplomatic circle to add colour and glitz to the occasion. This offered the public to see an artist whose dexterity as a painter is as strong as his cartoonist image. 

Mr. Aaron Nwankwo- Assistant Director, NCAC
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)
Ajiboye became a household name with the Daily Times newspaper as a popular signature on the weekly cartoon corner of Sunday Times known as ‘Josy Ajiboye on Sunday’. An artist whose image of a cartoonist is looming over that of being a painter, disclosed that there is a misconception here because  "Painting is my first love”. According to Mufu  Onifade, “Josy Ajiboye had dedicate himself to duty as a cartoonist in the Daily Times publications, ensuring and maintaining a high level of consistency. As a matter of fact, he competed favourably, in terms of wide popularity and acceptance with the celebrities of that period- King Sunny Ade, Ade Afoloyan(Ade Love),Moses Olaiya Adejumo(Baba Sala), and more. Unlike other artists of the time whose popularity did not extend beyond the art circle”.

From his childhood love for painting came the training of a donor programme, Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) and further training in Commercial Art at Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos. Ajiboye’s general attitude to life reflects on all of his paintings. It’s all about reality; and for those who think it is fashionable to be labeled abstract artist, Ajiboye argued that art goes beyond abstraction. "If all it takes to be an artist is to just put something onto the canvas; content and context, which only the artist understands, then people won't have the need to study art at higher education level; anybody can become an artist. Nothing is a as good as life drawing. In art, every creature has anatomy, not just the human figure; birds, trees and every other thing under the sun that grows and dies. In art, you cannot improvise any of these anatomies, hence the need to be versatile in life drawing "
(L-R)Mr. E. Ezenobie, Mr. O. Olorunmonu, Aremu T. Babayemi & Mr. L. Iyoha
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)

Some of the works displayed involved "Girl at Bath, Yoruba Talking Drummer, Fulani Boy, Feeding Ram, Efik Girl, Gems of the Nation,Sunset at Badagry" , and many more.

Ajiboye  had his first exhibition at the then Gong Gallery, Lagos in 1977 with twenty-eight (28) paintings displayed, and followed it up in 1979 with another one sponsored by the French Cultural Centre, but held at the French Embassy, among other shows. He  is married to Adunni has four children: Segun, Rotimi, Yemisi Osundina (married to artist, Kunle Osundina) and Aderonke. They all received their early tutelage in art under Ajiboye.

Cullled from

The Banner
National Gallery of Crafts and Design, NCAC. National Theatre,Lagos.
 Photo Credit: Perekeme Odon

Talking Drummer
Fulani Lady

Girl At Bath
Gems Of A Nation
Josy Ajiboye, Taking Chief Joseph Omobolade Round The Exhibition
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)

Olumo Rock (Metamorphosis)

Arungugu Fish Festival
Snail Shell & Ribbon
A Cross Section Of Obas
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)
A Cross Section of NCAC Staff and Visitors
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)
Mr. Omoniyi Victor and Mr. Josy Ajiboye
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)
A Cross Section of Chiefs
Photo Credit: C.S.P Dept. (NCAC, Lagos Zone)