Finally, the event kicked-off about 40 minutes past schedule, stage so magnanimous, beautiful and dreamy, a photographer's dream and a beauty to behold, these was refreshing.
The First Nigerian Professor of Music, Laz Ekwueme conducted his choral group of 60 voices and it was the harmony, perfect Diction, and the rendition of the powerful Kalabari piece."OMG"that was nostalgia first class for me, as it brought memories of my years as a chorister in the church of Resurrection, an anglican church situated at 1004 estate, Gidi.
Music, both the vocals, the instrumentals, or both combined is always meant to produce Beauty of form, harmony, and expressions of emotions.
A centenary performance first of all should be a reflection of the past hundred years as the word Century is derived from it, a blend of the past, present and future. A blend of a diverse culture.
Omawumi, this my lasso of truth (a ONCE in a 100 years kind of event) appeared un-rehearsed it wasn't long before it became obvious by each note she let out how much she was trying to salvage an already irritable situation which could have been prevented. There was a disconnection between her voice, the music, and the audience. Choice of songs, i sincerely wish you had taken the hearts of the older audience. Lovely Dress, she did look like a million bucks even though i did not understand the color splash of the shoes, but then again what can i know about fashion?
Wizkid, performed his popular club hit "Looking for Caro", and while that would have been an appropriate song for any other events, it was not in my opinion a good song choice for celebrating the country's 100th birthday. We are celebrating coming from slavery, colonization, independence and how far we have come as a country. Putting it mildly, you do not come on stage, grab your crotch and belt out "Looking for Caro" in front of so many dignitaries, for an event that we all know we shall not get to see or experience ever again. He honestly looked and sounded like he could not be bothered about why he was there. Back track? really? in 2014? Ok. You look extremely hot in this picture Wizkid, its my favorite image of you at the moment.
2face had the same sound issues and struggled initially to get the sound right, we could watch as experience made the adjustments and the sync eventually came through. Dressed in a Nigerian Jersey? Is this because the venue was National stadium? Patriotic i must say but not enough for a centenary Grand Final. Connecting with the crowd was difficult almost as if they were un-rehearsed. at this point i began to wonder if they were not properly informed of the event or they did not just imagine the magnitude of the event.
The major discomfort with the presentation was the uncanny distasteful outfits his band girls wore. Leggings? Top? Really? I would suggest they benefit from a pool of stylists.
Ara was spectacular, i had never been that captivated by renditions with talking drums, beautiful music, dressed for the occasion and they (Ara and band) made the errors of the above three paragraphs evade my memory. She understood her music and the harmony extended through the stadium. The Queen of the talking drum? She defend her kingdom oh!!
Then the break in Transmission. Our President turned-up, and we were all out of the broadcast. Let me briefly include this; **** This was supposed to be a once in a lifetime performance for each and every artiste or performer because we both know we aint waiting another 100 years for them to outshine their predecessors. ****
**** Sound, Stage, Lightening, all these things were not installed over night and dancers had at least three weeks to synchronise their efforts, it worked for those who were already acclimated to their work environment. Omawumi, Wizkid and 2face could barely hear themselves so except there was a certain conspiracy theory to just make them appear inadequate, there is a communication lapse somewhere. Lastly, this could just be considered constructive criticism.*****
The Multimedia Show; all shades of beautiful, every image and picture stringing you one step at a time through the events of the yesteryears. I felt like a part of the story, a voice that sounded so familiar, yes Dr Henry Nzekwu and his team at Messagewise narrating each ordeal.
Quick Question; Do we as a nation not own any original footage of our independence? why were we extracting from a documentary done by a Nigerian in Diaspora? Will our generation get to watch the original footage of the Centenary Grand finale or do i just save my DSTV memory with instructions?
Preservation culture; this is a part of Nigeria we must all try to ernest, the musical arrangements synchronized with the dancing, the emotions of each dancer, specific to details of the times and stories, that was outright magical. The sound effects on the lights, each space captured with beauty for just viewing pleasures and for a long 30 minutes, i forgot about the wars, the bloodshed, i saw a people freed from a bondage they had no business being in the first place, i saw grace in the face of the beauty in a white dress silhouetted with the green white and green.
Putting together the music for this show must have been challenging it was indeed the magic, vivid story of Nigeria as done by Nigerians showcasing talent and dedication done with cheerful faces without any form of strain. The Multimedia show reminded me of the London olympics and i remember how long it took them to put that together, this is where the name Cobhams Asuquo will never be forgotten, a producer, one of the best Africa has spewed out thus far. Putting together songs from Nelly Uchendu, Rex Lawson, King Kennytone, Fela through the multimedia show was amazing.
As quoted "As history and as a people, its really the highest point of my career. It's amazing working with the people to recreate the story of the people". Cobhams Asuquo
Furthermore, the highlight of the multimedia show was the queue for Victor Olaiya, dramatic yet elaborate, sellable at any age. I am happy i met this Legend in my time because like old fine wine, his music was melody to my heart i could only imagine how my parents must have grooved this era.
I thought there could be no more surprises till Victor Uwaifo showed up with his strings and the Ray Donavan P. I did not quite get it when it was on the news the other day that he had been signed to Hypertek Digital, i tried to get it and oh well....... He killed it, unleashing his signature moves. they were the rave of the moment? nahhhh They are the rave of the moment....
I did not know him at first glance till i enquired the leader of the Ikenga Superstars of Africa, and my friend jumped off the couch and started singing along "ahhhhh this reminds me of Villa" she screamed excitedly as i thought wow we were all satisfied culture-wise it was a beauty to watch the roar from the stadium too. I fell in love with him too even if i had no idea what era he was from.
Finally, Threadstone gave soft rock a whole new feel, performing with his follow-up band. He had a goal to capture the hearts of anyone who gave that song any form of attention was drawn straight into it. "I am Nigeria"Truth is you and I make Nigeria and You and i can save Nigeria from herself.
Gratitudes to the producers, stage, lights, lines, Choreographers, Videographers, team members, and everyone who's sweat and efforts can never be commended enough.
Enjoy the chilly saturday......