5 Tips For Enjoying Jazz Music for a Beginner

I’ll start by stating the obvious: jazz music is receiving less and less popularity in the minds of Nigerians.

Jazz happens to be one of those complex genres of music. It makes use of a lot of musical improvisation, conflicting rhythms, and interruptions in regular flow of rhythm. It also borrows a lot of aspects of African music and American pop. Needless to say, jazz music may prove very hard to understand and relate with, hence difficult to enjoy. Not everyone can understand why there is a song without any words.

It’s no wonder that the younger generation (of which I am proudly a part) will rather just listen to popular/mainstream type genres of music. Whilst this is not such a bad thing, I still strongly believe that jazz music can be enjoyed and is worth exploring.
Let’s share a few tips you can try out if you would be interested in dipping your hands into this genre of music:

Know that this journey is not about your friends
People usually revere people who can relate with jazz music because it is believed to be something for people of a particular level of intellect. So you may somewhat be tempted to go into jazz to impress your friends. Ask yourself; am I really interested in this? It’s not such a bad thing not to be! It’s about you! As tempting and elitist as it is to be able to speak about jazz and the artistes and what ‘this’ and ‘that’ jazz track means to you, you need to know that enjoying this genre is about yourself and not about impressing people. Else this journey will become like ‘homework’. You’ll only appreciate jazz if you set out to listen to it and love it for yourself!

Read about it
There are many materials out there that can gradually expose you to what you’re getting into. Read about the history of jazz, the old artistes, and the contemporary ones. Read about jazz in your own country and your own locality. What you will find will amaze you!

Understand Jazz
All types of music have their own peculiarities. Look out for those of jazz. The one beautiful thing that sets jazz music apart from other genres is ‘improvisation’. Jazz musician tend to play around with improvisations which means that they make up their music, their tunes, and harmonies up on the spot (More like a freestyle type thing)! This is why sometimes when you listen to jazz, it feels like the melody suddenly changes. To appreciate jazz, you need to observe the improvisations and how they’re used. Figure out the instrumentation. Listen to the melody. Observing and identifying will help you get into it even more.

Attend live jazz events
Whether it’s rock, soul, R and B, fuji, reggae or jazz, a live experience is the best way to enjoy it. Look out for events happening around you where jazz artistes are performing. In Lagos, I’ve heard of Jazzhole in Victoria Island (even though I have never been there). I also know of Inspiro Productions’ Annual Lagos Jazz festival and Lagos Jazz Series. Find yourself in such events, and this will help improve your experience

Find other lovers of jazz
Just like every other interest, talking to other like-minded people helps you grow even more. So join a social a social media group, follow a page or a blog. Share your experience. If you do meet a local artiste who would like to be your friend, that’s even better! Talk to him or her about their work and their inspiration. Let them tell you what they were think at a particular event, or while recording a particular track.

I do hope these tips help and will help you open your mind to receive more jazz music.

Bonus Tip:
Sometimes I like to make up my own words to their instrumentation. It helps me feel like I’m in the head of the artiste!

A Review of the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2016.

So if you read my blog late last month, you’d remember we talked about three places you could celebrate the International Jazz Day. Well, I was at two of the events. Got a couple of free tickets for the Runway Jazz (thanks to Smooth Fm). So I attended that on Friday evening, and then I did Lagos International Jazz Festival on Saturday.

lagos international jazz festival

High Points
Let’s start like this; the event was fun for me! Like most events in Freedom Park, there was space to stroll around, less ‘paparazzi’, and it was all free (Of course I loved that!) Loads of bands and artistes were also there to perform, so there was a wide variety of activities. The performances were also very ‘LIT’. In the usual fashion of the Lagos International Jazz Festival, there was more than one stage and I was mostly at the bigger stage which was somewhere around the second gate end of Freedom Park.

This stage was where most of the action was happening as most of the crowd was here. The event kicked off really well with ‘Tonie the Emperor’ as he delivered an awesome solo acoustic session. It then continued to gain momentum with various bands coming up the stage to perform live. Anyone who knows me already knows that my heart is sold out to live music, and any show that encourages artistes to perform live already has my heart. This event has my heart 100% for this. From the ‘Empress’ to the 15-man band called ‘JAYA BAND’, down to ‘Tayo Konga’ and his band, all the performances were very lively and energetic. I would say it was an enjoyable show!

Low Points
The thing about it however, is that I expected more! I believe since it was called ‘Lagos International Jazz Festival’, there should have been more jazz than what we had there. A lot of the acts that featured there were afro-beat acts.

Now, I know someone would say to me that afro beat is a ‘baby’ of jazz. Yes, I agree. Jazz is a major influence on what afrobeat has become today but I do also think that there is a clear distinction between both genres and for an event that was a celebration of jazz, the afrobeat could have been a lot more downplayed. I had to take a little stroll to the second and smaller stage to which less attention was paid to begin to experience some jazz. There was this amazing three (or four)- man band whose name I didn’t get that was really amazing and the drummer totally killed it. The Survival band who performed on the larger stage were also very awesome and they gave us good jazz too.

Sometime last year also, I listened to a radio show last year where I learnt that Lekan Babalola (the legendary percussionist) was supposed to curate the event. Apart from the music, the event was supposed to delve deep into the culture of Lagos; the food, the dance, the art etc. All these heightened my excitement and expectation. Well, I didn’t see any of these. Everything I was looking forward to was nowhere in sight and I wasn’t very impressed about this.

If you were at the event in 2014, you probably remember what the event was like. There were like 6 different stages or so (named after various veteran artistes) with various jazz artistes and bands, and even the other genres were well blended into the program, such that no one genre was pre-dominant. That year, I was somewhat confused on what stage to watch from because there was great music coming out of all stages. I also hear (even though I wasn’t there), that the 2015 edition was like that as well. Even though the show had a very beautiful and dramatic end with very spell-binding performances from ‘Tari-Guitari’ and the opening act ‘Tonie the Emperor’, I would describe it as a watered-down version of the 2014 and 2015 events.

All in all, I do love the idea of the ‘Lagos International Jazz Festival’. It is a fantastic innovation and it should definitely continue. But not without a few necessary improvements. Thumbs up Inspiro Productions on the success of 2016 edition. Thanks for giving us this great show. Would I be there again in 2017? Oh yes! Definitely!

Naija & Alternative Music Reviews: Ed Izycs’ EP – ‘Songs of Izycs’

So I have been postponing this for a while. I’m so excited that I finally get to review an EP that I would like to describe as ‘one of a kind’. Sometime in December 2015, I got invited to the launch of an Extended Play by an artiste who was relatively new at the time called ‘Ed Izycs’. For those who don’t know,  know, Ed Izycs is a Nigerian jazz artiste and multi-instrumentalist currently signed to Cadilly Entertainment.

ed-izycs

My initial reaction to this was two-fold. First, I’d stumbled on one of his songs and also a live performance at Bogobiri and I’d been swept away by his art. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite sure what the reception of his type of music would be like. In any case, I really just wanted to have an evening out enjoying good jazz and also finding out what this man had for us. I grabbed myself a copy of the EP at the event.

Enough about the EP launch and straight to the EP itself. The EP consists 8 fully instrumental (no words at all) songs. Though predominantly jazz, some of the tracks can be said to be a fusion of jazz and other genres such as soul and folk. The EP features only one artiste ‘Tonie the Emperor’.

Track 1: Celebration
No skit, no 10 seconds intro song.. Ed jumps right into it by giving us the first track called ‘Celebration’. Aptly titled! This song reeks of ‘joy and celebration’. Even though it’s not exactly fast tempo, I can’t help but smile while listening to this song. It has a way of creeping up into you mind and bringing up great memories. A lot of piano and flute work went into this and I would say the result is fireworks in my mind!

Track 2: Nostalgia ft. Tonie the Emperor
This happens to be my favourite track on this EP. If it were left to me, I would probably title the song ‘sunset’ because it has this folk-ish sound that may remind one of ‘tales by moonlight’. There’s something very resounding about the sound of the drums. The second verse of the song had whole guitar thing going on and it was really beautiful too. I also really love the chorus. I absolutely love this song!

Track 3: Jamboree
You see, this song doesn’t even start out like a ‘jamboree’. But then a sudden spin jumps at you where the tempo gets real fast and danceable. Sound like there should’ve been a rapper on it dropping a few bars. I would definitely turn up to this sound! Love it!

Track 4: Ojuelegba (Jazz Cover)
A jazz version of the popular ‘Ojuelegba’ by Wizkid. I like it… I mean I don’t think it’s special. But I think it was a good attempt at recreating the song. It’s a song that a band would jam half way through a concert for you to refresh for the second half. I would play this on a rainy day while clutching a cup of tea.

Track 5: Bloody Rose
A song that obviously tells a deep story. Gentle and quiet at the beginning (where you only hear the keyboard), it progresses step by step (in a way that keeps one expecting) and gets more and more intense with the introduction of more instruments. It is really soulful and can leave one in deep thought. It really sounds like a sad song and I feel like a lot went into the production. A pretty awesome track!

Track 6: Light
Yanni! Yanni!! Yanni!!! I definitely do not hear this song in my ears but in my heart just like most Yanni tracks. Though very complex with improvisations flying around everywhere, this is still a relaxing, pleasing and beautiful song!

Track 7: Woju Cover
He had to cover the big songs of 2015. Lol.. I really love Ed Izycs’ take on Kiss Daniel’s Woju. He worked pop and jazz together wonderfully here with a little soukous. I prefer this to his take on Ojuelegba. Very brilliant!

Track 8: Awesomeness
I believe the idea behind this was turn up!!! Because this is definitely a great track to dance to. Fast tempo and very soukous-ish too. It’s a great way to wrap up the EP!

All in all, Ed Izycs has an absolutely amazing mastery of his art and the strategic use of his knowledge of various instruments totally works for him. There are very few albums around which don’t make me feel like skipping at least one or two tracks and this is one of them. (He also threw in a CD into the package that contains videos to 3 of the songs just in case we wanted to know the stories the songs were telling). I would rate ‘Songz of Izycs’ EP an A1, and I cannot wait for the full album to be released.

P.S. Listen to my favourite track (Nostalgia ft. Tonie the Emperor) on the EP

Three Places to celebrate International Jazz Day in Lagos this year!

Hey guys,

How are you all doing?

So it’s International Jazz Day in a couple of days and Nigeria is not even about to carry last on this. Who’s excited?

international jazz day

If you didn’t know, 30th of April is International Jazz day. The day was officially designated as such by UNESCO in November, 2011. International Jazz Day is the end of Jazz Appreciation Month, April.

Enough said, Lagos is celebrating too and will be swarming with legendary Jazz artistes from all over the world. So if you want to catch up on great jazz music this Jazz Appreciation Month, I will suggest these three events:

1.The Satchmo Jazz and Culture Festival: So this festival is supposed to start on the 27th of April.

satchmos lagos

The 27th and 28th will be International Jazz Day Pre-Countdown events; the first on April 27th at Oriental Hotel, and another on the April 28th at The Blowfish where attendees will enjoy live music and floetry. The main International Jazz Day Countdown Event will follow the next day on April 29th at Oriental Hotel; leading to the UNESCO International Jazz Day Concert on 30th April 2016. Have you seen the line up? From Organic Jam, to Carlo Rossi, our very own Imole Balogun and Femi Leye.. This already promises to be a lot of fun!

2.Runway Jazz: From Friday the 29th of April, Eko Hotel will be hosting Runway Jazz.

runway jazz

Kirk Whalum will be live in Lagos for this! Omawumi, Yinka Davies and even the Former Governor of Cross-River State, Donald Duke will also be there with his band! Can you believe that?

3.Lagos International Jazz Festival: This is probably where you can find me celebrating the International Jazz Day!

Lagos-International-Jazz-Festival-2016

Freedom Park will be hosting various jazz starts from all over Africa and beyond from the 28th through the 30th of April.

It’s the weekend ladies and gents! So you have no excuse.. Where are you gonna be?

Know any other events worth adding? Let us know in the comments!

Tootles,

‘Yemisi!

 

 

 

Video: Bemyoda’s Always

Hey you guys,

So I disappeared on you again! I’m sorry!

You probably know amazing Indie Soul artiste Bemyoda. His 5 track EP titled ‘Sketch: The Reprise’ was released sometime in 2013 and is a really beautiful blend of folk/soul/jazz.

bemyoda*I really love the EP art*

So he recently released the video to the fourth track called ‘Always’. I love love love love love love love this video. I think a lot of creativity went into this and I’m really impressed. Watch below:

You like? I definitely do!

A review of this EP is definitely coming up! Watch out for that guys!
Love,

Yemisi

Link

Hey guys,

I’m very excited to bring you this post! The first review on this blog goes to *drum roll*—- FEMI LEYE!!!!

For those who didn’t know before now, Femi Leye (Whose full name is Oluwafemi Ogunleye) is a Nigerian Afro Jazz artiste and guitarist whose first album was released on the 7th of September, 2015. The word ‘EKAABO’ which is the title of the 10 track album is yoruba for ‘WELCOME’. The album is almost all instrumental and this already impresses me. To be honest, I didn’t think a Nigerian artiste would be able to pull that off.. But I was proved wrong. I am really impressed by the fact that music can still be complete in itself without any words said. An amazing fusion of deeply rooted African sounds and jazz is what you will find in this album.

femi leye album cover

The album features only two other artistes -Naomi Mac and Titilope Sonuga.

Track 1 is titled ‘Ekaabo’ and is a 17 second intro track. It is an amazing use of the talking drum and actually makes you want to listen the rest of the album. It is a masterful use of 17 seconds to say ‘welcome’ to the listener!

The second track is called ‘Irawo Owuro’ (which means morning star) shows off Femi Leye’s amazing mastery of the guitar. It’s like I could practically pick out one string after the other (even though I know next to nothing about the guitar). I especially love the first ten seconds of this song.

Track 3 titled ‘Smile’ is extremely calm!  And it’s almost as if you can hear what he’s telling you (stuff like sleep my child, sleep.. lol) It actually makes me smile everytime I hear it.

‘Wewe’ is the fourth track on this album. And this actually the first time you hear a vocal on the album. It features the amazing ‘Naomi Mac’ whose voice I also adore. I think ‘wewe’ is a yoruba word that describes substances in tiny bits. A captivating story of a woman who is about to lose a child, and who’s also in love. Such a very sweet song. And the percussion in this song? Amazing!!

And then track 5- ‘Orin Ife’ which translates to ‘Love Song’. It’s an acoustic sound. All I can hear is guitar and keyboard. It is also a great sound and very gentle on the ears. I have always imagined this song having a re-make featuring a male soul artiste and then with like drums and the ‘whole nine yards’ (I’m not sure why). This is another great track all the same

Track 6- Adina reminds me somehow of Ebenezer Obey and then somehow of Frank Ocean (not that these two have any correlation). This is another track that makes me feel like I can hear what he’s saying. Even though no words are spoken. It creates that slow wind/ sway type mood and creates a picture of afros and oleku  wrappers.

The tempo increases slightly as I get to track 7 titled Rain. This track features Titilope Sonuga who does SPOKEN WORD on the instrumental!!!! Oh yes she does and she kills it!!! The spoken word piece sends one to a place of deep though.. JAZZ+SPOKEN WORD=SCORE!!!

Track 8 is called ‘Better Age’. I unconsciously want to move my head anytime I hear this song. And I love the simple message- Igba Otun Wo’lede (Which means A new dawn has come). Another beautiful song

Sise (Work Hard) is track 9. I think he killed it with this song. And it is my favourite on the album!

Track 10 is titled Ayo (Joy). A song of prayer and prophecy which simply says ‘Joy will not depart from our homes, Our Joy will last forever. It is a beautiful song! And an amazing way to end an album.

Ladies and gentlemen, for me this is an awesome A1 album.

Thanks for blessing us with this Femi! Thank you!

Have you listened before? What do you think? Haven’t listened? Listen below!

Track 1: Ekaabo

Track 2: Irawo Owuro

Track 3: Smile

Track 4: Wewe ft. Naomi Mac

Track 5: Orin Ife

Track 6: Adina

Track 7: Rain ft. Titilope Sonuga

Track 8: Better Age

Track 9: Sise

Track 10: Ayo

Support the music by buying on iTunes, Spinlet, Amazon, Google Music

You can also follow Femi Leye on

Facebook: Femileye1 Twitter: @Femileye  Instagram: @Femileye1 for updates on where to catch him this Christmans

Thanks for Reading guys.

Follow us on Twitter on @naijalternative Instagram on @naijaandalternativemusic and Facebook on NAIJA AND ALTERNATIVE MUSIC BLOG

Thanks for dropping by guys.

Love,

Yemisi

Lagos Jazz Series happening tonight!

Hey guys,

Don’t know where to be this evening? Want to listen to amazing Jazz music? Then you are in luck ladies and gentlemen! The Lagos Jazz Series is happening tonight!

Lagos Jazz Series 2015

It promises to be an amazing show as it features Yasiin Bey of Mos Def and Seun Kuti & the Egypt ’80 band. Happening at Muri Okunola Park (Adeyemo Alakija), the vent starts 6pm and ends at 9pm.

Tickets cost 5,000Naira only. I think this is such a steal for such an event.

How to get the tickets? Use the direct here or use the Lagos Jazz Series Website and click the GET TICKETS TAB.

Hurry Now! The tickets will soon stop selling..

Will I be there? Unlikely! (And that Sucks!) I do have a couple of exams to write tomorrow and I need to study. In the meantime, please take pictures and get videos. Tag me in you photos and videos and reviews on Twitter @naijalternative and on Instagram @naijaandalternativemusic Facebook: NAIJA ANDALTERATIVE MUSIC BLOG

I will be sure to repost as much as I can.

Have a great weekend guys!

Feed your soul, love the music!

Yemisi!

 

 

Link

Hey music lovers,

Apologies for the long long silence.. The story is even longer; so I’m not gonna go into it…

So the first time I ever heard of Falana, it was on a radio show. I fell in love with her and her music literally that very moment. You haven’t heard of her? Hmm! Where have you even been? My first thought was ‘Errrrm! Who bears ‘Falana’ as their first name?’ Well, her name is actually Victoria Falana. In my ears, her music is like this magical mix of soulful jazz, and soft ‘R and B’. I met with her at the Radisson Blu edition of Felabration and we shared a few words. I can’t even lie ladies and gentlemen.. I was star struck! So I thought I might bring my readers some of the gist… Enjoy!

falana-album-cover *She’s gorgeous yeah? I know*
A Little introduction:
I am a musician, singer and songwriter. My music is my attempt to capture and share moments through music. I create because creation, and creativity are innately a part of who I am, and I choose not to ignore that. Music happens to be my medium of choice. I use the word ‘choice’ in the light sense, because music, and rhythm have always come naturally to me. Music maybe even chose me haha.
What really would you call you style of music?
I guess I call my sound Soul-fusion. I have musical influences that range from jazz, to soul, to afro beat, mixed with some cuban style jazz. It is definitely a real mix of influences.
What instruments do you play?
I wish I could play everything lol! But for now, I play guitar, my cajon and percussive instruments, and piano as well. Working towards being a multi-instrumentalist changes the way I write music, and facilitates my creativity in amazing ways.
Are you in Nigeria?
Yup, I am based in Lagos. Although, I have lived in a couple different cities in my short life. Things Fall Together was recorded in Havana, Cuba and I started my music career in Toronto.
Where can we catch you this Christmas?
 Stay tuned to my social media for upcoming events!
What do you think is the future of alternative music in Nigeria?
Well, I think there is a place for all genres of music, and the Nigerian market is large enough to accommodate all artists and genres. I think no matter where you are in the world, people pay attention to things that are unique and different. As more amazing and unique artist begin to come up, it will be very difficult to ignore and it will really broaden the palette of listeners.

 

She’s interesting, isn’t she? You can follow her on:

Instagram: @falanamusic Twitter @falanamusic Facebook: falanamusic

You can buy her music on her website here

In the meantime, have a quick listen to her songs from her Debut EP ‘Things Fall Together’ below. My favourite is between ‘To Bernard’ and ‘Start Again’. Tell me which is yours!

 

Track 1: Reinfiltrator

 

Track 2: Chances

 

Track 3: Angelitos Negros

 

Track 4: To Bernard

 

Track 5: Start Again (Music Video in Description) I couldn’t embed this one, but you can listen here

https://soundcloud.com/falanamusic/start-again

Thanks for dropping by guys! Leave a comment, share, re post..

Facebook: Naija and Alternative Music Blog Twitter: @naijalternative Instagram: @naijaandalternativemusic

Take care guys!

Love y’all!

Here’s to another part of me- Alternative Music

Hey guys,

How are you all doing? Hmm.. Many know me, many don’t!

So I’m Yemisi. Some know me from the girlstayinggorge.wordpress.com blog where I blog about my style, makeup, hair and that kind of stuff. Others know me from izzy-randomstuffs.blogspot.com (I haven’t been there in a whileeeeee) where i just write down every kind of thing that comes to my head. Oh well..

This is yet another part of me.. Music!!! I love music. Even though I can’t read a musical note to save my life, I love to sing, I love to listen, I love to dance.

I believe Nigeria has a truck load of music to offer the world, I’m delighted that we are exploring the afro hip-hop side of things but I also know that the potential that Nigerian alternative music has to offer is hugeeeee!

And that’s why I have started this blog. Let’s talk about Naija Jazz, Soul, Folk, Reggae, Rock (Yes, there are Nigerian Rock Bands), Acoustic Covers and everything alternative music! Let’s make this the place to find it all! Let’s view, let’s review! Lets share the music!

I’m totally excited about this ladies and gentlemen.. So excited! And I hope I can be as constant as possible.

So here’s to us loving the music TOGETHER

clinking glasses

Do drop a comment, share etc.

You can find me on social media for updates.

Instagram: @izzyleecious and @girlstayinggorge

Facebook: Yemisi Ariori Please like the Blog Facebook Page: Naija and Alternative Music

Twitter: @izzyleecious

Tootles!

Yemisi