Sixteen months after organisers of rhythm council began the quest for the discovery of a new musical expression, a contestant from Benin, Black IQ, has emerged overall winner. It was a fierce competition among the four finalists- NBX, Street Disciple, Black IQ and Duncan Mighty- at the grand finale which held at the Vault Nite club, Victoria Island, Lagos. All truly talented, and determined to come top, the contestants gave their all, performing two original songs each, and a cover of any song of their choice. First performer for the night Street Disciple brimmed with confidence as he mounted the stage around 12midnight. And, for an act based in Abuja, the rapper enjoyed the favour of a supportive audience. With the crowd going wild, and the atmosphere feverish, it was clear the night was going to be memorable. Then came Black IQ, the dreadlocked entertainer who showed he had done his home work – with great costuming, audience interaction, and infectious repertoire. The finalist from Benin impressed the fans and the judges, and he took the tempo of the night several notches higher. By the time the third finalist Duncan Mighty was ready to do his thing, it was clear the judges would have a tough time deciding the winner. Duncan, a contestant from Benin, moved the crowd to tears with a number dedicated to mothers. And NBX, the trio from FESTAC town, brought thee grove back again, as they dished out numbers reminiscent of Plantashun Boiz. With bright costuming, soothing harmonies and amazing choreography, the R&B group showed a determination to walk home with the grand prize. ‘It was really difficult selecting a winner. Very tasking because all the boys were talented’ said Cool FM’s Wale Ewedemi one of the judges. Another judge, Ayo Animashaun of HipHopworld, insists ‘all the finalists are winners. It’s a win-win situation. Any of the guys can hold their own anywhere. I won’t be surprised if they all go on to achieve great things individually’. Another judge Ayeni Adekunle, a journalist, commended the organisers for ‘a job well done’, even as he advised the finalists to ‘always remember all you’ve been taught during this competition. Everything will be useful as you go on with your career. The judges’ advise, the seminars, and all the tips you’ve been given’. Rhythm Council was conceptualised and executed by KISS events, a frontline entertainment solutions company run by Howie T and his partner Dipo Abdul. The hunt started on June 24, 2006 at the Vault, before moving round the country, for preliminaries and semi final stages. ‘My passion is to discover and nurture talents’, says Howie. ‘And I’m happy that we’ve successfully executed Rhythm Council. We’ve worked very hard, and right now, I feel on top of the world’. Corroborating him, his partner Abdul says ‘there’s nothing like starting something and finishing it. It’s taken a while, because we wanted to do it properly, but now, we’ve finished it; we fulfilled our promise, and I can only ask the world to wait for the next superstar from Nigeria’. The lucky winner will be groomed by KISS music for the next few weeks, before being signed as priority artiste on an international record label.
Archive for October, 2007
LUCKY DUBE SHOT DEAD
… As South Africa loses third music star in three yearsBY AYENI ADEKUNLE One of Africa’s greatest reggae star and one of the continent’s most enduring performers Lucky Dube has been confirmed dead. According to reports, Dube was shot and killed in an attempted car hijacking in Rosetenville, a South Africa suburb around 8pm on Thursday October 18, while he was dropping off his two children (a boy and a girl) at a family member’s house. And sadly, his two kids were watching, helplessly, as their father, 43, (he was born on August 3, 1964) was shot by bandits who attempted to hijack his car as his kids stepped out. Reports say he attempted to drive away from the scene, but lost control of his car and hit a tree. Lucky Dube is the third major South African music star to pass on in the past few years. Songstress Brenda Fassie was reported dead at 40, of a drug overdose on May 9, 2004, while on October 23, 2006, her protégé Lebo Mathosa, 29, was killed after she crashed her SUV. There has been tremendous outpour of emotions across the music world globally as news of his death filtered out Thursday night. ‘his death, senseless and random, leaves a great void in the music industry. A 25 year career ends in tragedy’ read a statement from his label Gallo Records on Friday. ‘Lucky was not just an extraordinary artist, he was a personal friend. We go back over twenty years and had both a business and personal relationship. It’s so sad to lose such a great friend and so tragically, why?” lamented Ivor J. Haarburger, CEO of Gallo Music Group.The deceased music star started his career in 1982, aged 18, with the release of a mbaqanga (a Zulu music tradition) album before his transition to reggae in 1985. he had all of 22 albums to his credit (in Zulu, English and Afrikaans) His last album, Tribute was released in April. With his long-time sound engineer and best friend Dave Segal, he created some of the most legendary pieces of reggae music ever recorded, including the tracks Prisoner, Taxman, Slave, Victims, Together As One and Respect – all social anthems that garnered him the adoration of the people of his country – and across the globe.
Lucky was an artist that continued to break international barriers and according to a report on his website, he recently just signed a deal with Warner Music International, securing him album releases across Europe of his latest album Respect.The late reggae apostle enjoys a strong following in Nigeria, despite having at a time, being strong rivals with Majek Fashek before the latter’s career nosedived. Dube visited Nigeria twice in 2006 – to perform at Felabration and at the Cross Rivers state Xmas festival respectively. He is survived by his new wife Zanele and his 7 children Bongi, Nonkululeko, Thokozani, Laura, Siyanda, Philani and a three-month old baby Melokuhle.South Africa is one of the world’s most crime-ridden countries, with nearly 20,000 murders recorded in the last year.
Forget London. Forget Paris. Forget Los Angeles. If you’re looking for peace, solitude and a lot of quiet time; if you’re trying to reconnect with nature’s beauty or just in want of some nasty pleasure, Barbados is the place to be. So next time you take a break, head to the West Indies and stop over in this little island – and your life will never remain the same. Be prepared though: the weather is pretty hot, just as the scantily-clad girls…. So, either you want to walk lazily along the beach sands, get a massage on the beach front, or board a Yamaha speed boat; you’ll find out that Barbados is not a place you want to leave in a hurry… By AYENI ADEKUNLE who just reluctantly returned from the island… There is no time to rest in Lagos. Everybody’s in hurry; flouting procedures and laid down rules in the process, and almost never stopping to take a deep breathe and slow down a bit. Described as one of the busiest cities in the world, Lagos is made even crazier by the absence of a road network suitable for the enormous population; the collapse of the railway system and a complete refusal to exploit the possibility of the surrounding water body for mass transport. So, everyone’s on the road- drivers kissing each other bumper-to-bumper, hooting horns, and breaking every traffic rule available; commercial motorcycles making suicidal James Bond manoeuvres and often ending up at Igbobi; ubiquitous itinerant traders plying their trade anywhere there’s a pot hole or little hold up; little hopeless kids washing windscreens in exchange for a few Naira, and miscreants faking as masquerades. Truth be told, a typical day in traffic for a Lagos resident, is a trip to hell and back. Either you’re driving or walking (by the way, there are no sidewalks on majority of the roads, not to talk of provision for wheel chairs or cart pushers) it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the chaos, lose your temper, and heap a couple of insults on a totally innocent stranger who only attempted to change lanes or get ahead of you in traffic. In spite of this, the population of the city, regarded as the nerve centre of Nigeria’s economy, in on a continuous rise. Now nearing 15 million residents, occupants are now beginning to spread into satellite towns, all in a bid to be close to Lagos. But the stress is getting to us. After a long day, doing a job you may not really fancy, fighting world war three in traffic, and getting home to absolute darkness, it’s easy to see why the blood pressures are rising; why hospital beds are filled up, and why the average death-age is hanging somewhere around 40. Not to worry, if you’re not yet forty, or are lucky to be slightly over, there’s a therapy that may work like magic – holiday! And, no, not to London, where the weather is unpredictable; and all you do is walk long, endless streets, go sight-seeing, and shop all you can. And definitely not Paris, where, though absolutely gorgeous and beautiful, it’s more sophistication, less nature- just like other major cities Nigerians are wont to romance. The place to be, if you need to get out of the stress of Lagos, if you need to dine with nature, conserve some energy and increase your life span by decades, is Barbados, the fastest-growing developing country in the world, and an escape destination even for Londoners, Americans and the French. The only similarity the city shares with Lagos is that they are both islands. But, while the beaches around Lagos are surrounded by Government liaison houses, banks and polluted by candles, palm frond and other ‘spiritual’ mementoes, the beaches around Barbados are lined by exquisite hotels, celebrity lodges, yachts and half-naked daughters of eve walking along the bank and soaking up the sun. There are three things and observant visitor will discover, on alighting from the aircraft at Grantley Adam international airport: the weather can be flaming hot, attendant can be very warm and the ladies, often Genevieve-black, can be beautiful and well-endowed. So, you’re exhausted, after a 15-hour journey, changing planes, and losing five hours (Barbados is five hours behind Nigeria) and you’re about to start telling yourself you’d never have embarked on the trip, if you had known it was so far away from home. But on passing through immigration (which, by the way, takes less than five minutes), on entering Bridgetown and sighting the first body of water, on breathing in the air and checking out the skyline, you relax and smile to yourself. Something within you is saying: boy, this is one trip you’re going to be enjoying – and, if you’re not careful, you may be back! Perhaps this is how every visitor feels, on a first time visit to the country. For decades, Barbados has been a haven for tourists – in 2006, the country earned BDS$1.8 million from tourism, with an average expenditure of US$158 per visitor. The country’s tourism board is now aiming to attract 775,000 annual visitors by 2012- over three times its own population. There are only about 270, 000 Barbadians (called Bajans), but a culture of affection has taught them to love visitors without restrain. So, it’s not unusual to find a total stranger offering to give you a tour of the town, or a passers-by stopping to ask if ‘you’re good?’ Smile back at the ladies, or throw a wink, and they return the gesture. If it’s your lucky day, it could even go deeper than that. See, it’s more than just a tropical beach holiday. Even the tourist guide’ Barbados in a nutshell’ says indigenes ‘encourage visitors to scratch the surface’. That’s probably why Oprah Winfrey has a home in the heart of the town, why Tiger Woods had his celebrated 2004 wedding and honeymoon in Barbados, (the world-famous golfer took over the entire sandy lane hotel, and its Green monkey Golf course for his glamorous wedding fiesta. After the ceremonies, he reportedly left his guests to enjoy the flamboyant resort while he and his wife spent their first night on his yacht in a nearby bay) and why the island is the number one wedding destination in the Caribbean. For a Nigerian visitor or adventurer, the thrill is even more intense. You get the feeling you’re still in Africa, surrounded by all the nature Lagos has gotten rid of, and enveloped by the kindred warmth our grandfathers continue to reminisce about. What more? There is constant power supply, a vibrant, safe nightlife, and almost zero hustle and bustle. If you like to deceive yourself, you could think you’re in a modern village around Oshogbo or Mbaise, until an unfamiliar accent jolts you back into reality, or the ocean waves remind you there’s no beach, only a river, in your home town. When you wake up from your slumber, hop into a hired car and cruise round town. No need to be afraid of getting lost, because you most likely will. But no need to fret, for twenty minutes away from anywhere you are, you’ll find the west coast beach gazing at you…and should you need to seek assistance, the people of the island are just to eager to oblige. It’s this kind of hospitality, neighbourly friendliness and unrestrained warmth that makes you want to cry when your time is up and you’re forced to leave the country. The kind of brotherliness that sees everyone celebrating the success of a compatriot (as in Rihanna who is seen as a national treasure) and the whole nation mourning, when an unknown family is hit by tragedy (as in the death of the Codrington family- all five perished on august 26 after the apartment block in which they lived dropped about 100 feet into a cavern at Arch cot terrace, Brittons Hill road). The kind of people where one man’s meat is another man’s meat and one man’s poison is the other’s poison. That’s why the peace in the land is so tangible you could touch it; why the love is so real and uninhibited. Mix that with the sandy beaches, the ocean of hotels and the cool, soothing scenery and what you get is a perfect recipe for romance Trick a lady you really fancy to this romantic island, and be sure she’ll be willing to say ‘I do’ even before you ask. All you need? Application for a marriage license, your return tickets, license fee of BDS$150 cash (about $75) and a $25 stamp. It’s that easy to get married in Barbados, and you could spend your honeymoon ski-diving, wind-surfing, lazing around the beach, yacht racing or simply making love (or, maybe babies) in the luxury hotel rooms which cost an average of BDS$ 700 per night. And you can tie the knots anywhere on the serene island: on the beach, under water, in a submersible, on a yacht in a historic plantation house or even by a pool. And, in case, like me, you’re married already, instead of taking a new wife all in the name of experiencing a Bajan wedding, you could renew your wedding vows in an exotic environment that’ll give your marriage a new bliss. Unfortunately, it’s not all fun and excitement for residents of the little island. After visitors have taken in all the therapy the beaches have to offer, they return to their countries, resuming normal everyday lives and saving up for another Bajan treat. But residents of the town have nowhere else to cal home, when the hurricanes come calling. Reports say that Barbados should be hit or brushed by a hurricane every 3.09 years; hit by a direct hurricane every 27.20 years – and, sadly, it is believed the island is due a major hurricane in 2007. And, September, the month of our visit, hold special significance for indigenes. September 22 marked 52 years since the passage of Hurricane Janet, the last major tropical storm to strike the island. But, compared to Jamaica, Grenada, St Lucia and others, Barbados has been lucky. But authorities are prepared for the worst, and constant orientation is in place, for residents and visitors especially as the region enters the second phase of the Hurricane season. So, while planning that peaceful getaway, wedding-on-the-sea or just a wild, adventurous weekend, be sure to know the state of things in Bajan. Otherwise, you may be better of keeping your cool, coping with the hectic life in Lagos; heading for Big Ben, Trafalgar square or madam Trussards in London, or better still, fill up your bathtub and pretend you’re lounging on a Bajan beach – just anything is better than the horror of hurricane 16 hours away from friends and family.
Monday October 8, 2007
2FACE Idibia is doing very well, recovering fast and happy to be alive.
Contrary to widespread speculations concerning his health, and erroneous media reports he was battling for his life, the singer, speaking from his hospital bed on Monday October 8, assured his fans and well-wishers he is well and his health is not in anyway deteriorating.
In the company of his publicist Ayeni Adekunle, his manager Joice Ize-Iyamu, a group of cameramen and his security guards, the iconic singer who was shot by armed bandits on Thursday October 4 thanked God for sparing his life, even as he chided his attackers for getting so desperate as to attempt to take another man’s life.
‘I thank God. ‘Cos I know it’s not luck. The bullet could have hit me somewhere more dangerous. So I really thank God, and I’m really trying to understand what he’s trying to tell me with this incident.’ he said.
Reminiscing on the sad incident, he explained ‘we didn’t know it was robbers. We even thought it was a car trying to ram into us. It was not until I saw the gun, and heard the shot that I realised what they wanted. So I told my guy, let’s find our way o… these guys mean business. I didn’t even know the bullet hit me. It was while we were running, that my left leg started failing me, that I realised what had happened.’
‘It’s really sad; that people would allow frustration lead them into doing such things. There are people on the road, selling stuff, trying so hard to make it. Nothing comes easy in life; you’ve just got to keep trying. I pray they’ll convert all the energy they use to organise those attacks into doing positive things that’ll help their lives’.
Meanwhile the recuperating singer will not be relocating from Nigeria or his FESTAC residence anytime soon. ‘As far as I’m comfortable where I am, I’ve got no hassles. Whatever will be will be. I might be in the US and be hit by a stray bullet. Anything good or evil can happen to you anywhere’, he said philosophically. I have my business here so I’m not planning to relocate. I’ll travel anytime I have to, and come back home. There’s no place like home. But I want my people to be more positive and honest. Violence does no one no good’.
Clean shaven and looking much rested, the star singer is not allowing all the medications and get-well cards around him weigh him down. ‘You can see I’m listening go a Russel Simmon CD lecture. I’m using my time here positively, and it’s an opportunity for me to reflect on my business, as well as think of new materials for my music’, he said with a smile playing on his lips.
Corroborating him, his manager Joice Ize-iyamu believes ‘this will definitely give inspiration for new and great materials. It’s an experience well all never forget’.
Idibia is presently been hospitalised in a private clinic in Lagos. He was moved from Cedar group hospital in FESTAC on Friday when the crowd of well-wishers became uncontrollable, making it a Herculean task for hospital security and doctors treating him to manage the situation.
And his manager had assured that ‘he will not be flown abroad for further treatment. His condition is very stable, so there’s no reason for that. He just needs time for the pellets to expel, and for him to recuperate fully.’
A date has, however, not been fixed for his discharge. But his friends Ifeanyi Orji who was attacked with him was discharged from Cedar Group hospitals on Friday October 6th.
‘I really thank everyone for their concern’, says 2face who enjoyed a similar display of overwhelming support when he was attacked and injured by suspected robbers in 2005. ‘I thank everybody, the media, my family, all my fellow artistes, my friends, my manager, the Kennis music family and the good Samaritans that helped carried us with their van when we were bleeding on the road after the attack last Thursday’.
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ABOUT 2FACE IDIBIA
2FACE IDIBIA has been singing all his life. Well, almost.
But since the singer came across music in his early days on earth, there’s been no looking back.
Perhaps greatly influenced by the music genes his mother failed to put to use, Innocent Idibia lived all his early life in the tin city of Jos (Plateau State of Nigeria) itching for music and trying to convince his parents to allow him pursue his dream.
Born in tin mining city of Jos, Plateau State, on September 18, 1975 to Michael and Rose Idibia, both indigenes of Benue state (a region noted for its passion for farming from where 2face and his ex partner Blackface would later derive their group name, Plantashun Boiz), 2face and his immediate family could never have imagined the enormous fame and fortune music would bring his way few decades later.
Today, barely 10 years after he stopped his tertiary education (at the Institute of Management Studies & Technology, Enugu) midway to come to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial port city, to face music, Idibia stands not only as the nation’s most iconic act, but her most successful debutant ever, the most revered and most inspiring contemporary singer across Africa – especially since his plethora of year 2005 awards which include Channel O African music Video awards, Awards for Musical Excellence In Nigeria, Ghana Music Awards, a MOBO nomination (alongside Baba Maal, Femi Kuti, Youssou Ndoir and Yvonne Chaka Chaka), and the MTV EMA where he was crowned Africa’s Best Act in the newly created category. He has recently been named Best African act at the 12th edition of the MOBO awards which held at the o2 arena, London on September 19, 2007.
From a young greenhorn, who arrived Lagos in 1997, barely able to make ends meet and unable to afford studio sessions to complete a debut album (with his ex-group, Plantashun Boiz), Idibia has grown to become one of Nigeria’s most successful artistes, selling over 10 million copies of his debut solo album, Face 2 face and his follow-up Grass to Grace ( both released on Kennis Music), performing endlessly across the length and breath of the vast country and across Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Togo, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory coast…) and serving as brand ambassador For Guinness Extra Smooth.
Since the release of his debut solo album on May 15, 2004, 2face Idibia has rekindled fading hopes in the Nigerian music industry, and refreshed the dwindling patronage of ladies for local Nigerian music.
Thanks to his monster hit, African Queen which eulogises the strength and beauty of the African woman. “It’s a general song and not directed at any particular person – I can sing it to my mum, sing it to my sister, sing it to anybody. The song is just my own way of paying my tribute and respect to the African woman. But it can also be related to anybody in the world, it’s just about respect for the woman. I am from Africa that’s why I chose to call it ‘African Queen'” he says of the song which was only recently, chosen for the lead soundtrack of PHAT GIRLZ, a new movie from Fox, which premieres April 2006.
The eclectic vocalist has recorded an impressive catalogue of international collaborations. In 2004, he recorded ‘proud to be African’ at a Lagos studio with Wyclef Jean. In 2005, he recorded a remake of his hit, Nfana Ibaga (No Problem) with Ghanian hiplife star Reggie Rockstone and Grammy award-winning Dancehall star BeenieMan. Same year, he recorded a jazz version of African Queen with South-Africa based Nigerian artiste Kunle. There continues to be endless collaboration requests from all over the world by artistes who are fascinated by 2face’s vocal versatility, effortless delivery and pseudo-reggae pop style. The reason is obvious, according to 2face: “I don’t limit myself to one style in terms of what I listen to and the music I make. I like to be versatile. Growing up, I listened to Jamaican acts like Bob Marley and U-Roy, also Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, plus a lot of Nigerian stuff, especially highlife like Victor Uwaifo. The major influence on my music is reggae. “
Friday October 5, 2007.
Nigeria’s best-selling pop artiste 2face Idibia was on Thursday night taken into hospital in Lagos after he was shot in the thigh by unknown assailants.
The 32 year-old music star was on his way to his FESTAC Town, Lagos residence from the Murtala Mohammed international airport when the incident happened. He was returning from London, where he was named Best African act at the 12th edition of MOBO awards on September 19.
According to eye witness account, the gunmen, about three in number, approached the Honda car (popularly called Honda Bullet) he was being driven in, and asked for the doors to be opened. It was while Idibia was trying to open the door-lock that one of the attackers shot at him. Luckily, he had a laptop computer on his laps, which helped reduce the impact of the bullet.
In an act of bravery, he shouted for the other occupants of the car to ‘run, run’, as he also tried to escape the car.
‘We didn’t know what was happening. I was shocked. But I ran, and took the car keys with me’, said Ifeanyi, Faze’s elder brother who was behind the wheels of the Honda car. He was however, not completely lucky as he was hit by a stray bullet in the arm.
Both Ifeanyi and Idibia are currently being hospitalised in a FESTAC hospital.
The incident occurred around Cele bus stop, along the airport expressway, at about 8pm Nigerian time.
It took the intervention of passers-by, before they could be taken to hospital in a van.
They arrived Cedar hospital, (same hospital he was hospitalised after his famous 2005 robbery attack) around 9pm, and promptly made a formal report at the FESTAC town police station.
2face was taken into theatre at 7am on Friday, and one of the doctors Dr. Emeka Onourah confirmed his condition is not critical. ‘He’s responding to treatment. He has 22 pellets in his thigh, because it was a local gun. But we’ve been able to handle the situation. We’ve stopped the bleeding too. What remains is to make sure there’s no infection, and we create a way for the pellets to expel themselves’
He refuted speculations the singer would be flown abroad. ‘He’s going to be with us for a while. But I can assure you that he’s doing very fine.
After the operation, Idibia was sleeping peacefully on his hospital bed, surrounded by his closest friends and aides: his manager Joice Ize-Iyamu, his hypes-man Natz, his brothers Steve and Hyacinth, his friends Blackface and members of the Orji (Faze’s) family.
The singer, who was earlier billed to headline a concert in concert today (Friday) in Ghana will not be able to hit stages for at least two weeks, though doctors are uncertain as to when he will be discharged.
His last major concert was in Barbados, a Caribbean island on September 15. He was scheduled to hit Canada later this month and Namibia in November.
It is not the first time 2face Idibia is being attacked by armed bandits. In January 2005, the entire nation kept a vigil and prayed endlessly as he lied on a hospital bed, recovering from injuries sustained after robbers laid siege on his FESTAC residence, injuring him and his brother Steve.
He escaped a similar attack in December 2006 when robbers stopped a car he was being driven in and asked all the occupants to lie flat. ‘They were going to shoot. So I shouted that ‘what are you guys doing. Don’t you know this 2face?’ So they just took our phones and left us alone’, remembers Godwin, his US-Based friend who was also in the car.
In recent times, robbery incidents have been on the rise in Lagos, and other parts of Nigeria, and in the past weeks alone, several artistes including Eedris Abdulkareem and 9ice have been reportedly attacked. Last year, another artiste Azadus was also shot in the thigh, while some robbers were trying to snatch his BMW.
The police are presently investigating the Idibia attack, and security around him is being beefed up, as there are suspicions about the real cause of the attack. ‘They didn’t take anything from the car. They didn’t take our phones. That’s why we’re wondering if they really wanted to rob, or they were after something else’, said Ifeanyi.
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