…Revealing soft sides of Ingo Herbert, German Consul-General; Pastor Ituah Ighodalo; Bolanle Austen-Peters; and Opunimi Akinkugbe
By Chris Onuoha
Right from the foyer of Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Center, Onikan, where day 2 of the 21st MUSON Festival personality programme, My Kind Of Music, was hosted, the ambience radiated royalty, pomp, and sheer splendor.
As we ascended the one level staircase into the theater, luxury and nobility filled the air, and the colourful dinner costumes and perfumes and the clout of bearded men were quite some spectacles to behold.
These are all for, and to catch a glimpse of the special guests of honour who, in their own rights are music personified – talking about their life journeys, childhood experiences and the impacts music had on their lives.
You will be absolutely right if you describe the scene as a convergence of lovers of elevated music (or what James Adekunle would call the music of the mind as contrasted with the base music of the feet) made up of influential personalities in the society, captains of industries, friends and associates of the invited special guests and students of MUSON Music School.
The special guests were Ingo Herbert, German Consul-General in Lagos, an astute lawyer who rose through the rank and file in the diplomatic circle to head the German diplomatic mission in Lagos; Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Pastor-in-charge of Trinity House, Accountant, Social Reformer, Managing Partner, SIAO and chairman of chains of companies. Others were Bolanle Austen-Peters, lawyer and founder of Terra Kulture – one of the leading recreational and creative hubs in Lagos; and then, Nimi Akinkugbe, founder and Chief Executive of Bestman Games Ltd, a leading African games company and the African distributor of customized Hasbro games and World Monopoly Board games in Africa.
As the anchor man, Arch. Kitoyi Ibare-Akinsan, ushered in the guests one after the other in no particular order, the atmosphere got frenzied amidst applause as they gracefully took their seats with Pastor Ighodalo taking the first shot and jokingly said, “Perhaps, the reason I was chosen first is for me to pray because I am a preacher of the Word, but I will surprise you: we are here to relieve old memories.”
Without apology, the man of God went straight to talk about his childhood time, recalling the time of Michael Jackson. His first choice of music was ‘ABC’ done by The Jacksons 5 which he identified as the song that inspired his love for music.
Bolanle Austen-Peters astonished the audience with her first choice of music: Sunny Ade’s Syncro-System associated with her up-growing; followed by Michael Jackson’s Off the wall, a song that stimulated her knack for dancing. Her other choices are Canto della Terra by Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman, Grace by Michael W. Smith, Sweetest Taboo by Shade Adu, Water by Fela Anikulapo Kuti and a special song that swirled her off her seat – Teckno’s Rara.
Nimi Akinkugbe’s love for the Beatles’ Long and Winding Road came as first choice of song for her. After that, she stirred up the audience with her sudden and swift choice of Victor Olaiya and Tuface’s duet Baby mi da, followed by Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson which she described as a reflection of many things happening in the society today. “In the entertainment industry today, drugs and narcotic influence on the youths have become order of the day.” Her other songs included an opera from Schubert’s Impromptu and a special song, Bring the Girls Back Home by her daughter, Kalin Akinkugbe, dedicated to Kidnapped Chibok girls.
German Consul-General, Ingo Herbert described how opera music took hold of him from childhood. His first choice was Voices of Spring Fruhlingsstimmen Waltz by Johan Jr. & Josef Strauss of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Ingo, however, became unrepentant with his cling to opera symphony as his subsequent choices – Vissi d’ arte, aria from opera “Tosca” by G. Puccini, Maria Callas, Marie Theres! terzett from opera “ Der Rosenkavalier” by R. Straus, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan, Salzburg 1984 and “O Welch Lust” choir of prisoners from opera “ Fidelio” by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra , conducted by Leonard Bernstein marked him out as a die-hard opera lover.
Perhaps, the fun of the night came from Pastor Ituah Ighodalo’s narration of his childhood experiences describing 1977 to ‘79 as the era of his decadence. “It was a period when the B Gees’ Night Fever was reigning.”
He said it is one song that was extensively played in all joints within the period. While he fraternized with his peers in Kings College and University of Ibadan, his choice of music did reflect the circle he mixed up with then.
He went for Mama Tembu’s Wedding, a song by a formidable cultural troupe from South Africa –Ipi Ntombi who performed the song at Nigeria’s FESTAC ’77 in Lagos. Ituah also narrated his Kings College experiences, being in the choir which he eventually left because he broke his voice.
He revealed that the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, was the choirmaster who always demanded them to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. His other choices are We have been in love together by Al-Jarreau, Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All and finally when God arrested him in 1992, he became born again which eventually changed the story of his life.
To some guests, it was an evening well spent. Mr. Ojo said, “Little did I know that Pastor Ituah really rocked life as a youth, but we thank God for him as he has become a big vessel in God’s vineyard.
Another guest who gave her name as Janet said. “When I saw Bolanle dancing Techno’s Rara, I was moved by her youthfulness despite her tight schedule as woman of all places. Every other fellow had one tale to tell and to relive before the show came to a close at exactly 8.0 PM.