The British Council’s UK/NG 2015-16 program launched last week at the organisation’s Lagos, Nigeria offices. The season-long programme, which features collaborations between the United Kingdom and Nigeria, looks to foster the relationship between both countries.
Welcoming guests to the launch of the season, Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria Simon Shercliff noted the roughly 17 billion pounds worth of the UK art industry as well as the ‘huge interest’ in Nigerian music, fashion and art.
Appropriately, several figures in Nigeria’s creative industry and the Lagos literati turned out for the event. Conspicuous among them was DJ Sose whose set consisted of music from both the UK and Nigeria, providing guests with a musical foretaste of what the UK/NG season brings. Spoken word poet Wana Udobang recited poetry including ‘Home’, a piece about both collaborating countries. Other guests present included, actress Kemi Lala Akindoju, director Tope Oshin, photographer Kelechi Amadi-Obi, actor Tunde Sotimirin, novelist Lola Shoneyin. Former Nigerian ambassador to Australia Ayo Olukanni and Arnold Jackson from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council Abuja were present as well.
Along with DJ Sose’s subtle take on Nigerian and British pop music, the evening belonged to K-Peace, who gave a bracing performance. The winner of the fifth season of popular talent hunt show MTN Project Fame, K-Peace offered a unique angle to the forthcoming collaborations (a combination he calls Fuji and Blues.)
Backed by a band, he sang the Grammy winning song ‘Stay with Me’ by Brit crooner Sam Smith. Starting off with the soft plaintiveness of the original, he cranked it up into a forceful tune, transforming the ballad into a fuji song. The crowd cheered and danced as K-Peace’s performance came to a close and DJ Sose resumed his set.
Several music events are included among the 30 projects and 80 events set to happen across the country during the UK/NG 2015-16 season of collaborations. One of these collaborations will see an interpretation of music written by jazz artist Jamie Cullum by Nigerian performers.