Despite Diplomatic Row With UAE, Nigeria Pavilion Open For Expo2020

 

Despite a diplomatic row with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)  –  the host country for Expo2020 –  over COVID-19 protocols, Nigeria’s pavilion which opened a few days back has started gaining traction.

The country’s pavilion is located in the Opportunity District for the six-month-long exhibition.

Nigeria joins a long list of participating countries that are seeking to make the most of the global event which kicked off on October 1st.

The Expo is expected to attract tourists to Nigeria.

 

At the Nigerian pavilion, music can be heard by passers-by, while images of different cultural attire are displayed on walls outside it. From Afrobeat star Fela Anikulapo Kuti to Grammy winner Burna Boy, the success stories of Nigeria’s music industry are also on display.

 

The roof is covered with art by Victor Ehikhamenor. Other arts are also on display; from the ancient to the contemporary, including a life size horse sculpture by Dotun Popo.

 

Dotun Popo’s work.

 

A peep into the pavilion reveals different sections promoting opportunities in the creative, agricultural,  culture and tourism, sports, and tech sectors.  Screens in the pavilion share information about states and sectors in need of investment.

While it is unclear how the country would fare in Expo2020, the exhibition is expected to further open up Nigeria to more investments and bring tourists to the nation.

READ ALSO:  UAE Relaxes Travel Restrictions For Nigerians

Nigerians Targeted?

 

Before the Expo, Nigeria had a fractured relationship with the UAE. This was after the Middle East nation imposed a ban on transit flights from Nigeria as it battled a rise in COVID-19 cases.

One of the art works on display at the Expo

 

Although the move was reversed in early August, the Federal Government faulted the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the UAE, claiming discriminatory treatment by the UAE.

“The story is they (UAE) have a protocol that discriminates against Nigeria and it was specifically targeted at Nigeria and we said no, and it’s on behalf of the people,” the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said during a briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 in Abuja on September 14.

“We’ve gone through the ministry of foreign affairs, now we’re been mandated by the task force (PSC) jointly with the foreign affairs to resolve this impasse.

“Nigeria has no issue with the Emirates, but against the preferential treatment.”

10 Things You Did Not Know About Afrobeat Legend, Tony Allen

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 27, 2010, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen performs on the Park stage on the final day of the Glastonbury festival near Pilton, Somerset. LEON NEAL / AFP

 

Recently, legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who created afrobeat along with his old bandmate Fela Kuti, died suddenly at the age of 79. Here are some interesting facts about the legend.

1. Tony Oladipo Allen was born to a middle-class Lagos family and taught himself the drums and developed his own unique style by obsessing over jazz drummer heroes from the bebop era including Art Blakey and Max Roach. In the early 1960s, he became a regular on the Lagos club circuit which was dominated by the West African highlife sound.

It was during this period he first met Fela Ransome Kuti, who was developing a highlife band called the Koola Lobitos. By 1968/69 that band had evolved into Fela’s groundbreaking Afrika 70, led by Allen on drums with Lekan Animashaun on baritone saxophone.

READ ALSO: Legendary Afrobeat Drummer Tony Allen Dies At 79

2. Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti’s band, Africa ’70, in the 60s and 70s. During that time the pair created Afrobeat, combining West African musical styles such as highlife and fuji music with US jazz and funk. Afrobeat went on to become one of the totemic genres of 20th-century African music.

3. Allen and Kuti recorded about 40 albums as Africa ’70, before parting ways after a mythic, 26-year collaboration, with Allen citing Kuti’s disorganisation and debts to him as the reason for his departure. Such was the hole that Allen left in his band, Kuti required several drummers to replace him.

4. In 1969, touring the US for the first time with Kuti, a meeting with west coast jazz drummer Frank Butler inspired him to practise every morning on pillows, making his sticks bounce off them while he was rolling. “It adds flexibility,” he said. “Very effective. Effortless – that’s what I tried to catch from [Butler].” As part of Kuti’s band, he would sometimes drum for six hours without a break.

5. Allen taught himself to play drums at the age of 18, drawing inspiration from the US jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, as well as contemporary African music. He has attributed his versatility to the need to make a living as a jobbing musician in Lagos in the early 60s. “Latin American, African horns, jazz, highlife … you had to be able to play it all because in the club they asked for it,” he said.

6. His most recent album was ‘Rejoice’, a collaboration with Hugh Masekela. The pair met in Nigeria in the 70s, when Allen was playing with Kuti.

7. This year he planned to work on what he described as a “travel album”, playing with young musicians in Nigeria, London, Paris, and the US, “because I want to take care of youngsters – they have messages and I want to bring them on my beat,” he told the Guardian.

8. The drummer never quite reached the commercial highs or political influence of his friend, he soon became a cultural icon of modern African music particularly after the death of Fela Kuti in 1997. Allen was also a huge critics’ favorite for continuing to push musical boundaries with his unique drumming sound late into his life.

9. Despite coming to the drums relatively late, the British musician and producer Brian Eno called Allen “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived”.

10. As tributes flooded in across the music industry, with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, a collaborator of Allen’s, sharing an image of the drummer to Instagram with a lengthy statement. He is the co-founder of Afrobeat.

‘The epic Tony Allen, one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth has left us,’ Flea wrote. ‘What a wildman, with a massive, kind and free heart and the deepest one-of-a-kind groove.’

He continued: ‘Fela Kuti did not invent afrobeat, Fela and Tony birthed it together. Without Tony Allen, there is NO afrobeat.

Legendary Afrobeat Drummer Tony Allen Dies At 79

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 27, 2010, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen performs on the Park stage on the final day of the Glastonbury festival near Pilton, Somerset. LEON NEAL / AFP

 

 

Legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who created afrobeat along with his old bandmate Fela Kuti, died suddenly at the age of 79 in Paris on Thursday, his manager told AFP.

“We don’t know the exact cause of death,” manager Eric Trosset said, adding it was not linked to the coronavirus.

“He was in great shape, it was quite sudden. I spoke to him at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), then two hours later he was sick and taken to Pompidou hospital where he died.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Reports Highest Single-Day COVID-19 Cases, Seven More Deaths

Allen was the drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti’s band Africa ’70 in the 1960s and 1970s.

During that time the pair created afrobeat, combining West African musical styles such as highlife and fuji music with American imports jazz and funk. Afrobeat went on to become one of the totemic genres of 20th-century African music.

Over Allen’s thrilling beat, Fela laid out his revolutionary and pan-African message, which led him to become one of the abiding icons of the struggle for freedom across the continent.

Allen and Fela recorded around 40 albums together in Africa ’70, before parting ways after a mythic 26-year collaboration.

Such was the hole that Allen left in his band, Fela needed four drummers to replace him.

Allen taught himself to play drums from the age of 18, drawing inspiration from American jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker as well as contemporary African music.

He remained hugely influential and beloved by generations of musicians.

British musician and producer Brian Eno has called Allen “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived”.

Allen was the drummer in the supergroup The Good, the Bad & the Queen, also featuring Blur singer Damon Albarn and The Clash bassist Paul Simonon, which released its second album in 2018.

He lived in the Paris suburb Courbevoie.

AFP

Seun Kuti Misses Out On Grammy Award As Soweto Gospel Choir Wins

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 10: Seun Kuti and Yetunde George Ademuluyi attend the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images/AFP Jon Kopaloff / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Afrobeat maestro, Seun Kuti, failed to win in his first attempt at the Grammys, losing the award to Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa. 

Seun was nominated for the world music category.

The 36-year-old son of Afrobeat Legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, lost to the South African choir which had previously won twice.

Soweto Gospel Choir’s winning album is titled ‘Freedom’, it is part of the group’s tribute to the 100 Years of Mandela celebrations.

READ ALSO: Full List Of Nominees And Winners At The 2019 Grammy Awards

READ ALSO: Michelle Obama Steals Show At The Grammys, Delights Crowd With Girl Power Message

It featured a selection of South African struggle songs including their version of Johnny Clegg’s ‘Asimbonanga’. This was released in the United States.

The award ceremony held on Sunday at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, U.S.

Seun also failed to perform at the prelude event before the main ceremony.

He, however, attended the gala with his partner, Yetunde George Ademuluyi.

Sadiq Daba and Deola Sagoe to Star in October 1

Ace broadcaster, Sadiq Daba and Nigerian fashion designer, Deola Sagoe will be starring in a new movie titled October 1st.

The $2m project which will have a collaboration of both Hollywood and Nollywood is produced and directed by renowned film maker, Kunle Afolayan.

Ms. Sagoe will be taking on the role of Funmilayo Ransom Kuti, the late mother of late Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Apologise for killing my grandmum before putting her face on naira, Seun Kuti tells FG

Popular Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti has asked the Federal Government to apologise to his family for the death of his grandmother, Funmilayo Kuti before considering immortalising her by putting her picture on the proposed N5000 note.

Responding to questions from fans and friends on Channels Television’s hangout via Google+, Seun Kuti said his grandmother was murdered by the Federal Government.

“She was murdered by the Federal Government, her house was burnt down on that same day, two of her children were brutalised, almost killed on that same day and the family have not receive any apology or compensation, most especially justice for such atrocity,” he said.

He said that the decision to put his grandmother’s picture on the proposed N5000 note after 50 years of her death is “ludicrous to say the least.”

When asked what kind of justice his family is demanding, Seun Kuti said: “First, the Federal Government has to accept that they were the cause of her death. The official statement that they are still giving us is that she was murdered by 1, 000 unknown soldiers who stormed the Kalakuta Republic.”