The Arts

April 1, 2018

Revitalising reggae music through Nigeria Reggae Festival

Revitalising reggae music through Nigeria Reggae Festival

•From left: Vincent Omoko, President, Music Africa Awake (MUAFA); Emeka Ojukwu, Founder, MUAFA during the unveiling.

Reggae music is a genre rooted in Africa. While many believe it originated from Africans in the Caribbean during the slave era, some say it is a peculiar genre created out of indigenous African music but transited to America by the slaves. As critics lay claim that the genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, it is also noted that the style evolved out of the earlier genres like Ska and Rocksteady.

•From left: Vincent Omoko, President, Music Africa Awake (MUAFA); Emeka Ojukwu, Founder, MUAFA during the unveiling.

The shift from Rocksteady to reggae was illustrated by the organ shuffle pioneered by Jamaican musicians like Jackie Mittoo and Winston Wright, while Bob Marley is said to have popularised it and also claimed that the word, ‘reggae’ came from a Spanish term for “the king’s music.”

Reggae music, over time, has been used as an instrument to fight racial injustice and government’s insensitivity towards the plight of the masses. Most African countries adopted the genre and celebrate it with dignity as an adored African music rooted in culture. This, however, spiraled into festivals to project black consciousness and continuous fight against the oppressed.

In Nigeria, there has been a rebirth of the consciousness as Prince Emeka Ojukwu, founder of Music Africa Awake, MUAFA is poised to host Nigeria Reggae Festival, NIREF, first of its kind in the country scheduled to hold on September 29 to October 1.

“Music Africa Awake is an entertainment organisation formed in Nigeria in 2015 with the aim of revitalising reggae music in the country. The idea behind the festival is to preach ‘One Nigeria, one Africa.’ It is also a platform for generating funds to promote the upcoming reggae artists in the country,” said Emeka Ojukwu.

Major highlights of the event include seminar and music business talks by foreign speakers from University of West Indies and Jamaica in partnership with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

Acording to Ojukwu, “Nigeria Reggae Festival is a platform for cultural exchange between diverse cultures of the world. The lecture topic is: Music as business and how artistes can collect their royalties.

“The festival will be featuring both local and international reggae artistes. It will also promote tourism in Nigeria and to the host state in particular.”

The Nigeria Reggae Festival is going to be a three-day event which begins from September 29 to end on October 1, 2018. It will hold in Anambra State capital, Awka. NIREF is an event fashioned to bring peace and unity among Nigerians and Africans in the diaspora with focus on tackling the social vices in the society especially the issue of xenophobic attacks in South Africa and racial discrimination across the globe.”

He further disclosed: “Reggae music has established itself as a brand that promotes peace, love and unity all over the world. Notwithstanding, reggae music could be used as a tool to eradicate cultural vices that existed among people coupled with racism. The symposium and seminar that will be held during the festival, are meant to educate our youths on the risks involved in teenage pregnancy, early marriage, substance abuse and others.”