Culture Meets Cause in Nigeria

 At a tender age, Lamide Akinsanya  (pictured left) sprinkled red rose petals on the floor of London’s lavish Café Royale.  They symbolised the innocents whose lives had been cruelly taken by the killer virus, AIDS.  This was the beginning of her performance arts awakening.  Afterwards the London-based Nigerian journalist formed Writers Rhythms whose ‘culture meets cause’ message she took home. This is her report from Lagos.


Lights were dimmed to give a shady, acoustic ambience.  Music sounded subtly across the room, and the stage was surrounded with tee-lights, large colourful materials and dried rose petals.  Performers were called one after the other to express their poetic outflow of emotions.  Two hosts, 27-year-old Amaka Eneli and Amina Clarke, 24, presented the stirring event at Terra Kulture Arts Centre, in Lagos. The vogue was unforgettable; ladies certainly beat the eclectic dress code with sophistication. More chairs had to be brought in to seat the 150 guests that attended.  Writers Rhythms raised £200 for Sponsor a Child, a charity headed by Toun Williams to help orphans in Nigeria.  Williams graced the event and spoke about her voluntary work whose purpose is much-needed and immensely worthwhile. She said: "It gives me a sense of fulfilment to be a part of a national campaign in Nigeria to help disadvantaged children."

The evening introduced eight poets, two lyricists, four scriptwriters, and four singers.  Every performer supported a common interest; a daring desire to publicly reveal that which they never thought Nigeria would entertain.   I could almost feel the aura of keenness and satisfaction they released as the crowd cheered.  People were smiling and the energy was pulsating.  Then the mood suddenly ignited, and an exuberant audience watched in anticipation, while many performers broke boundaries with their words. 

Rhythm Women
Ayo-Dele Alli, 18, has a liberated vocabulary.  His mix of lyrical words rhymed beautifully.  This makes Alli a unique poet and lyricist.  His sensual poem, Umoja, captivated the ladies.  Alli’s album of recorded work was released in America in January. Twenty-seven year-old Omozo Ehigie had the audience thirsting for more after she engaged them with her theory that, ‘Women want fantasy not honesty’.  Singer and poet, Omotoye Akisanya, 23, showed she owns a gentle voice that unhurriedly emphasised her emotions.  Singer, Tope Phil-Ebosie, 23, captured everybody’s attention with her spectacular performances.  

Striving pen-pushers have worked for too long in enclosed surroundings, conjuring up words solemnly to themselves.  They wander if ever ears would hear what they so desperately want to utter.  But Writers Rhythms proved the vehicle to break the silence that fervent writers have kept for too long.

The four-hour event showcased more memorable artists like Gogo Majin, a gospel singer, with a calm spirit-filled voice.  She dazzled the audience.  Watch out for Majin’s album, ‘The call’. And singer, Akin-gbade, also known as, ‘Rhyme Star,’ had the crowd standing, waving hands from side to side.  Writers Rhythms is a true testament that words mean much more than we think.  A visitor said: “People want more of Writers Rhythms in Nigeria.”  Many more artists blazed the platform with laudable performances.  Creative scriptwriter, Tosin Kehinde, acted a dazzling scene of words, from her play, with background music. 

The mellow likeable tones of poetry owned by 25-year-old Bolaji Alli caught my attention.  Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, 29, read her poems so naturally.  Thirty-year-old Bayo Adesanya spoke poetry maturely, entwined with a bit of comedy to entertain.  More compelling performances were by, poets, Wodu Majin, Oghomwen Ehigie and Kemi Elias.  They each had a distinctive style that seemed somewhat appealing.  Also featured were 20-year-old Kayode Gbadamosi,, Olumide Ayodele, 23 and 24-year-old Temitope Alekuso, a group of modest university students with verve to succeed as play writers and actors.  Three special guest performances graced the show. 

Wife of an ex-Lagos Transport Minister, Doris Fafunwa, who is head of the charity Child Life Line, spoke her poetry with sincerity.  Actor, Chief Kunle Bantefa, sat comfortably and gave a long poetic sermon on Nigerian history.  Olaotan Towry-Coker, 25, Managing Director of What’s New Lagos, spoke about his successful internet website and quarterly magazine that promotes products, venues, services and events in and around Lagos. A successful businessman, he encouraged the crowd to chase their dreams. 

Writers Rhythms will be hosted at different places each year. It ambitiously promises to uncover both novice and established spoken word performers. My heart-felt appreciation goes to all those who assisted, and every hostess who wore a large green rose petal and helped to guide the evening towards its huge success.  I welcome contact, via The-Latest.Com, from talented people who would like to contribute to future events.


1 Response to "Culture Meets Cause in Nigeria"


Mon, 04/03/2006 - 10:51
<p>&nbsp;Hey Lamide!!!!</p><p>&nbsp;Just wanted to congratulate u on your work in Naija, God will surely bless u for it! Stay cool&nbsp;</p>