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!

Review of Brymo’s Latest Album – Klitoris

The first thing that drew me to this track was the title. How very daring! I guess that was something to attract you and I and it worked. I hear Klitoris is a Greek word or something like that. The cover art is also very ‘one-kind’. Hmm Brymo!! For those whose minds are in the gutter, there is almost nothing sexual about this album. It is actually very conscious, and I am not sure I heard any cuss words. It took me a while to actually find time to listen to it. But after the twitter wahala where he described the album as the ‘album of the year’, for many years to come’, I knew it was a must-listen.

It is an 11-track album and has only one feature. This album has me like ‘Who writes Brymo’s songs?’ Really nice well thought out lyrics all through the album and for that I must say ‘KUDOS’!

Track 1: Naked ft. Esse
This track starts out like a Nollywood soundtrack for the first few seconds. I nearly skipped it to the next track and then Brymo’s amazing and soulful vocals captured me and kept me listening till the end. The first line keeps you very interested in what else the song has to say. Very smooth track that makes you want to listen to rest of the album. The song also features “Esse” whose voice I couldn’t really make out; but I guess it’s probably hidden somewhere in the chorus.

Track 2: Dem Dey Go
The song reminds me of his Duro song (which I love like crazy). Another song which carries a story and a very strong message. I think the best part of this song is the very beautiful production. It is a very quiet song, rich and I can say that I hear this song in my heart. Lovely song.

Track 3: Happy Memories
This song truly gives me happy memories. Sweet, soulful love song puts me in a romantic mood and instinctively makes me want to share a hug. Great song to listen when you’re alone with bae. I love it!

Track 4: Ko S’aya mi
Very similar to Happy Memories, but has a folk twist to it. Also a love song, I love the use of Yoruba on this track. I am not particularly excited about the hook of this song because it kind of gets boring. Apart from that, I think it is a beautiful track as well.

Track 5: Alajo Somolu
By far my absolute favourite track on this album! I love afro beat!! This is the one track that made me anticipate the album. I think Brymo killed it. ‘Alajo Somolu’ is something my mum used to make reference too every time she spoke about a smart person so the song for me is highly relatable.
Brymo-Klitoris-600x486
Track 6: Something Good is happening

Sounds very much like Asa’s ‘Bimpe’. I love love love the lyrics of this song, very creatively written and I love the production too (I especially love the drums). It’s a wonderful song of hope and I like the way it ends.

Track 7: Billion Naira Dream
While I think this song is brilliantly written, the sound doesn’t really speak to me. I feel like it gets a bit drab. I think more could have been done with it to make it come out fuller and richer. Maybe like what Darey did with the Soweto choir on the ‘Pray for me’ song. However, Brymo kills it with his vocals as always and makes it bearable.

Track 8: Let’s Make Love
Very similar to Track 7 but acoustic for the most part. Great vocals and interesting lyrics and nice piano work. Vocals also on point. I expected a high point where there’ll be some sort of modulation or something; well, I didn’t get it and that was rather disappointing. But then, this is a nice track for night time.

Track 9: Mirage
Also very similar to track 7 and 8, it didn’t really do too much for me. I like the intro though.

Track 10: The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Just when I’m about to sleep off after track 9, track 10 gives me something different. *THANK GOODNESS*. The reggaeton twist is really refreshing and I love love love this song!

Track 11: The Girl from Newyork
The album ends with this really nice track. For a song that has actual words, I think the intro is too long. But the song is fantastic and I like it.

This is a really nice album I must say! Is it the ‘album of the year’? I wouldn’t say so.. But is it worth buying, keeping and repeating? Of course it is! Well done Brymo! Have I mentioned at any point what his voice does to me?

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

Review: ‘The Headies 2015 alternative song of the year’ category

Hey guys 🙂

This post has absolutely nothing to do with the drama! NO! NO! NO!!! By now, everyone knows all the details of the drama, and all sorts of jokes have been made and have even become old. For sure, the 2015 Headies (which held on the 1st of January 2015) ensured that the year kicked off with a bang (entertainment wise)!

headies

Straight to the real issue of the day..

The ‘Alternative Song of the Year’ category was defined by the ‘Headies’ as ‘A voting category for the artiste whose songs reflect any form or style of music which falls outside the mainstream of recent or past popular musical trends.’  I’d say that this definition is acceptable. What makes up ‘alternative music’ is way too large and I think their definition pretty much captured it.

Compared to 2014’s Alternative Song of the year nominations, I’d say the Headies dug deeper in 2015 and the category was definitely richer than it was in 2014. I would also say it shows that the Headies appreciates alternative music some more. This is surely an improvement. Thumbs up to that.

That said, the nominees for the category were:

  1. Di’Ja – Awwwwww
  1. Bez – There’s A Fire
  1. Asa – Satan Be Gone
  1. Adekunle Gold – Sade
  1. Ugovinna – Rain On Me
  1. Simi – Tiff

And Adekunle Gold won the award for the song ‘Shade’. For me, the nomination was very well done. As far as alternative music goes for 2015, those were really the songs we heard. It was a little weird though seeing ‘Rain on Me’ on the list. Not because it’s a bad song (it’s actually an awesome song both in terms of lyrics and rhythm). But I just didn’t think it was that popular. So yeah! Not a bad job for the headies there. However, I did also think that there’s more… I feel like we should have heard something from a ‘Brymo’. I think he had an awesome 2015, and with the whole afro-beat type thing that he does, I believe he was prepared for a 2015 award nomination, even though I do not know the criteria for getting a Headies nomination.

I’m not sure that there’s any law against having two of an artiste’s songs being nominated for one category, but I think Adekunle Gold’s ‘Orente’ deserved a spot. Infact if I had to choose between those two songs to put on that list, it’d be ‘Orente’. I’d also exchange Asa’s ‘Satan Be Gone’ with her ‘Eyo’. And maybe Brymo’s ‘One Pound’ or ‘Duro’ should have been included in place of ‘Rain on Me’
All in all, the songs nominated were great songs and I appreciate the ‘Headies’ for a job well done. Congrats to Adekunle Gold for picking up the award. Hopefully, alternative music would be appreciated more and more on other forums.
Thanks for stopping by guys!
Love, Yemisi
P.S. Please slow down on the ‘back-to-back’ jokes.. They have become played out and very annoying! LOL!

 

 

 

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Hey guys,

Been a minute!

So this post is a bit different because you will be hearing my voice!!! Yaaay!!  I decided to speak to you guys. If you are following the Instagram Page @naijaandalternativemusic , then by now you know that I was at Smooth fm’s #ANightAtTheKazbah Concert a few weeks ago. I put up tons of videos on Instagram, and I also spoke about it a little on the Facebook page ‘NAIJA AND ALTERNATIVE MUSIC’. I have been going on and on about how amazing it was and no, I still haven’t changed my mind.

a night at the kazbah

So I don’t know whether to call this a ‘podcast’ (please forgive the sound quality too). Please listen below:

 

Let’s keep this conversation going! Were you there? Do you agree with me? Please do drop your comments below.

Thanks for stopping by guys!

Love, Yemisi!

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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