The Arts

May 13, 2019

How Trophy Lager drove the African Drum Festival

How Trophy Lager drove the African Drum Festival

•9ice performing at the African Drum Festival

When the drum is beaten, it brings out a tone whether it is wanted or unwanted we leave it in the hands of the drummer. The Bata, Omele or Agbamole, the story being told is better defined through the steps of the dancer” Olumide Akande

•9ice performing at the African Drum Festival

The 10,000-capacity Amphitheatre in Okelewo, Abeokuta, Ogun State, venue for the African Drum Festival is filled to capacity and those in the overflow jostle to have a glimpse of the action taking place on the stage. The stage is glamorous, lit up magnificently and has three other mini platforms from which the drummers can perform. The stage also has two large screens from which the audience receive additional information on the performers introduced by the masters of ceremony who were smartly dressed in white and ash native attires.

As the audience waits patiently for the event to kick off, one could tell that many have been through this exciting experience before from the way they comported themselves.

The African Drum Festival is an initiative of the Government of Ogun State and has been celebrated since the year 2016 when it first held in the state. Originally dubbed as the Nigerian Drum Festival, it has quickly metamorphosed to African Drums Festival because of the reception and participation it received from other African countries like Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Uganda, DR Congo and a host of others.

This year’s theme is Drumming the Future and it is premised on looking at the potential socio-economic contribution of Drumming to the future of Africa. Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Governor of Ogun State and the convener of the festival says that for development to be meaningful, the potentialities of culture to spur social and economic emancipation and empowerment of the people must be emphasized.

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The festival celebration received sponsorships in different forms from corporate bodies and one of such is the sponsorship from International Breweries via one of its brand, Trophy. Trophy Lager is popularly referred to as the pride of the South-West and widely accepted as the Honourable beer that is deeply rooted in the region’s socio-cultural values which explains its sponsorship of the event.

Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, International Breweries, Otunba Michael Daramola remarked that “The African Drum Festival is a cultural showpiece which demonstrates our uniqueness, attributes, our rich culture and tradition of the black people. Trophy is a beer that is closely linked with culture and a brand that believes in celebrating life and always rising to the occasion to make connections and bring people together.” We are so honoured to be part of this international epoch-making event,” he added.

It is now 7p.m. and the drumming performances are about to start, but not without the recital of the National Anthem first. The Egbedere Band comprising young boys and girls with an average age of 12 set the ball rolling at the concert. They are smartly dressed for the occasion and they did not disappoint the audience. They got down to their drums and xylophone from which they gave scintillating sounds which drew intermittent applause from the crowd. The highpoint of their performance was the rendition of a cover of Teni the Entertainer’s hit song Case. While the band played, the song’s chorus reverberated from the audience as they sang “My papa no be Dangote or Adeleke but we go dey okay yeah”.

The performance of Moyo Black Troupe of Ivory Coast was exceptional. The beats they produced were so good that the crowd sang songs that rhymed with the beats. Showing the crowd their superb knowledge of Nigerian music, they played Abami Eda’s evergreen song Lady. They achieved this feat by combining the beats of drums with the amazing sound of a Saxophone. The audience appreciated their efforts by singing along the refrain “She go say I be lady oh”.

The Anambra State Troupe came prepared for the event as they got dignitaries who graced the event dancing. Notably, Sally Mbanefo, a former Director-General of Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation danced with so much zeal that she got ovation coming her way from the audience. With the help of two dancers and local flute players, their performance left many in awe.

As part of its sponsorship, Trophy organised a music concert which was headlined by two music greats, Pasuma and 9ice whose genres resonate with the culture of the Ogun people. They performed to resounding applause of acceptance and joy for the opportunity to watch both artistes perform.