The New Horizons series of concerts closed with a performance that took place on 28 May in Lagos, Nigeria.
The concert began with a trio of musicians clad in white coming onstage followed by Tunde Jegede, Artistic Director of the MUSON. A few pieces later, Jegede bowed and left. He was replaced by another musician and returned afterwards.
As the music went on, several instrumentalists came onstage, performed and then left to applause. The instrumentalists included the multi-percussionist Renu Hossain, drummer Wura Samba, harpist Devon Carpenter, double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku and the MUSON Ensemble. The music produced acompanied dance rendered by Qudus Onikeku, founder of the QDance Centre, and two of his dancers.
With actor Wale Ojo, the QDance dancers performed the story. The story featured Onikeku as a wronged heir to a throne and Ojo as both narrator and wicked king. Tackling themes concerning self-knowledge and the futility of revenge, this 'African ballet' was the centrepiece of the event. The excellent coordination of music, dance and acting was the night’s highlight.
Talking about the event after the show, Jegede said it was the last edition of a trilogy of concerts, one he had wanted to make more grand than previous two editions. “The idea of the New Horizons concerts is to bring intentional artists into Nigeria so as to develop the talent here,” he said. "I wanted a new creation, a meeting point of dance and music.
"We wanted to show African dance, not western ballet and not fully traditional African dance. I spoke to Qudus, who does with dance what I do with the music—draw from different sources but in a new way.”
Over on social media, the concert organisers expressed gratitude to the various performers: "Energy fuelled workshops, masterclasses, screenings and discussions. And many many artists, creatives, positive energy, vibration and a unique coming together of art-forms, traditions, styles, genres and perspectives. Where Nigeria meets India, Mexico, Argentina, England, France, USA, Germany, Ireland, Bangladesh, and many more through, between and around with sensitivity, authenticity and creativity, in truth! Thanks to everyone who made it all possible!"
Explaining his role in the concert, Onikeku said, “Tunde had the composition already and wanted us to create a narration around it. Both of us and Wale then worked on the story. I took the piece of music Tunde composed and broke it down into movements.”
The performance was met with a standing ovation afterwards, an indication perhaps of audience satisfaction. For Tunde, however, there is more to be done. “This is the first development,” he said. “We’ll work on the lighting and on the stage itself. The show needs work to take it to the next level.”