‘There is a Lunatic in every town‘ is a collection of poems by one off Abuja’s most respected performance poets, Bash S. Amuneni. An avid lover and promoter of the arts, Bash has a worked tirelessly to express his views on humanity, the everchanging sociopolitical climate of his country Nigeria and love, in his book which is sectioned into three parts, Resonance, Intimacy and TheHuman Condition
His style is tempered with a subtle directness that amuses you yet brings you to terms with an undeniable reality through words.
His use of both English, coloured with native terms brings his work closer to home and exports his culture beyond borders.
Bash S. Amuneni has a degree in Architecture. He is an Essayist, Performance Poet and has 8 years’ experience as a Banker in a top Nigerian Bank. His first spoken word poetry album – “Freedom”, was launched in September, 2015. The body of work is laced in love, intimacy and folklore.
Bash is a TEDx speaker and has performed poetry at various platforms around the Country- from the Nigerian Youth Summit, 2016, at “Bring Back Our Girls” (BBOG) campaigns in Abuja and the Lagos International Poetry Festival 2016. His poems have been published in some National Dailies and International Magazines. He is a member of the Abuja Literary Society, Abuja Writers Forum, Association of Nigerian Authors, Abuja and one of the figures behind the Open Mic Movement- Freedom Hall Nigeria, which supports alternative music and poetry. He love to draw and paint in his free time.
‘There is a Lunatic in every town’ is set to be launched on 26th March, 2017 at the Raw Materials Research and Development Center, Aguiyi Ironsi, beside NCC, Maitama by 3pm.
Entrance is free and the book, album and merchandise will be available for sale at the venue.
Experiencing a day of art, outside of dance has forced me to put words to the journey that was #danceGATHERING
I’ve always been a passionate dance enthusiast and my frustrations with the industry were deeply rooted in the myopia that ran deep in the artists, the insistence of maintaining a status quo that had obviously done more harm than good and the celebration of mediocrity hinged heavily on ignorance and the lack of exposure.
Chei, I’ve come with my grammar but it is the truth. The constant battle against this mentality relegated my interest in the dance industry to the background until I was fortunate and blessed to meet Qudus Onikeku, Nigeria’s foremost dance export and visionary. He has turned out to be more than a dancer and artist but a catalyst of change (not the Baba ‘Bu kind of change)
As I stated in a post I wrote on the ‘gram while I grappled with words to best express the impact of the festival,
‘You can’t grow a people within the four walls of your mind, you grow a people by creating a world they can see from the things they have refused to acknowledge’ – Isys Drain
Qudus has chosen to explore the growth option, using his platform and access as a spring board for the growth of the dance industry rather than self-grafitication.
The Lagos Contemporary Dance festival, also known as #danceGATHERING, is a five day activation and celebration of dance, preceded by an intensive dance training program called danceLab which runs into the festival and lends pieces to the final dance exhibition at the end of the festival.
The festival went beyond training and opened up hotspots for artistic exchange all over Lagos through various events like CROSSINGS (a conversation between two artists with various means of expression) and dancingCities (a street dance performance by artists within the community of choice and guest performers) all of which formed the body of festival.
The road map we followed throughout the festival was enough to cause one to think outside the box. The line-up gave no room for old thoughts only possibilities.
Though the year’s theme was MO•[VE]•MENTS, I experienced it within the various kinds of human interaction and the visible effects it had on the parties involved, be it the teacher-student relationships between the guest instructors and the participants of danceLab, the somewhat silent partnerships between the artists of CROSSINGS or the message passed from performer to audience.
Words truly do not do the festival justice. Stand out performances for me on the final days were ‘Fatou Tas Tout Fait’ by Fatoumata Bagayakou which addressed female circumcision with a haunting yet liberating appeal, ‘Iwalewa’ a piece I had seen in snippets but was finally able to witness in its entirety and was brought to tears by (yes I’m a cry baby but it’s got to be good work to open the flood gates) and of course ‘Ijo Agba’ because the music of the piece brought back loads of memories and I found the fusion of indigenous music and urban Nigerian dance styles, rather amusing.
There’s so much to say and I honestly would like to go on but for fear of boring your socks off, I’ll stop here and say some experiences are best had in person than through the words of another, so brace yourself for #danceGATHERING 2018 so we can experience it together. For now check out danceGATHERING on Instagram, Facebook, twitter and qdancecentre.com for more details.
Lagos is set to play host to dancers and choreographers from Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna, Bamako, Tunis, Maputo, Washington and Paris, in a major dance gathering the country is yet to witness this year.
The QDanceCenter, a brainchild of Nigeria’s foremost dance export, Qudus Onikeku, is back this year with the debut edition of danceGATHERING | Lagos Contemporary Dance Festival. This mammoth project has garnered the support of the National Theatre, Institut Français, Goethe Institut and has been adopted by the Lagos @50 committee under the chairmanship of Prof. Wole Soyinka.
The danceGATHERING is a two-phased project with a two-week long dance lab (20 Feb. – 5 March 2017) followed by a five day dance festival (1 – 5 March 2017) in various venues around Lagos.
The artistic director of the festival, Onikeku, made it known through a statement that “the artistic directorial style of danceGATHERING 2017 proposes MOVEMENT as a major character, not solely a thing to be watched, but something that allows our audience to be jostled, activating different hotspots for dance in the breathtaking city of Lagos, making a deliberate action of turning the entire city into our play area.”
He further noted that “Because the city (of Lagos) is already noisy and fast and surreal, and dramatic with constant movements, I have curated a program, which rotates between 10 venues around Lagos, both in conventional spaces as well as improvised spaces. In a span of five days, we shall create an opportunity for our audience to step out of their comfort zones and move with the flow, going against traffic from Ikoyi (QDanceCenter, Omenka gallery, BogoBiri, JazzHole), to Iwaya, back to Lagos island (City Hall Rooftop), then Victoria Island (Revolving Art Incubator, Silverbird Galleria), to a stop in Bariga (Crown troupe, Mbari Mbayo arts center) and Surulere (Corporate Dance World), before culminating at the National Theatre Iganmu. ”
Lagosians will witness an outpour of dance performances, exhibitions, international creative collaborations and exchanges including DANCING CITIES and CROSSINGS, amongst others. The gathering also aims to provide an array of opportunities for dancers across the country.
The festival will close at the National Theatre, with works by Onikeku himself along side a host of others, in collaboration with one of Nigeria’s leading theatre directors, Makinde Adeniran (of Saro, the musical).
danceGATHERING is the first of its kind in Nigeria and arguably West Africa, and we invite YOU to be part of this history-making event from February 20th to March 5th, 2017.
Words can not describe the joy I felt tonight at Bez Live, Abuja but I will try to give a detailed account of it.
First off, I should start by saying that the excitement I felt today was at an all time high. When I met Bez before the show (thanks Eddie) I couldn’t find the words, I was in awe but respected myself. No need to ruin the moment with unnecessary talking, lol.
I was already pestering Sarah at 3 o’clock, to hurry up, it’s Bez day. We finally got out of the house and were off to the show. I was jumping up and down like a toy on steroids.
Some of you may be wondering what the fuss is about but here’s the thing. I’m a pure creative and Abuja has deprived me of quality entertainment, of music that shakes me to my bones and shows that speak to the artist in me. Then Bez is set to take the stage and provide me with what I desperately yearn, after plenty fasting and praying, of course I was excited beyond compare.
But I digress.
We were signed in and armed with glow sticks and we made our way to the concert ground. I caught my breath at the sight of the stage. It was a standard concert set up, not those half baked attempts you see at Naija shows,this was the whole 9 yards and then some. At this point, I was more than ready. The audience slowly trickled in and after a few restless minutes, the show began.
It kicked off with the cutest rendition of the National Anthem by Bez and his son. Then the ever so soulful Jessica Bongos took to the stage, setting the mood in a soft, yet raspy style for which she is best known. The vibe picked up with Rubunu an artist I have been watching since Tamerri. To say she has grown from her last show would be an understatement and her performance was amazing, as I watched her channel her inner Lauren Hill with a twist of African.
The show waited for no one and CEF came on stage to give us some ‘spiritual’ healing, singing songs like ‘Egbami’ and ‘Angeli’ before dropping the love song ‘Piggy Bank’, my favourite song by him. At this point, I was already on my feet and struggling not to completely let loose, I obviously failed at that.
I’ve never understood how people can listen to amazing music and not move, dance or at least nod their heads. Moving on.
Falana!!! I had heard about her but never seen her perform. To say I wasn’t absolutely mesmerized by her, would be a lie from the pits of my ulcer-ridden tummy. I forgot about trying to stay calm and broke into salsa and bata all at once. She has a full, rich and smooth voice that speaks volumes. A master of her voice and sound, she had every single song in the pocket and brought out the Naija in everything with the prowess of a seasoned artist. I saw nothing but her and comparing her to her somewhat obvious influences, would be an injustice to her originality. Obviously, I am now a fan and a huge one at that.
We were given no time to recover from falana, the band had taken to the stage and the build up to Bez’s entry was electric. I was in front of the stage before anyone else and my blood was racing. The drums and horns tugged at my soul and then as I sought to catch my breath, Bez, in all his glory, was on stage.
Thankfully, I’m not a fainter, I’m a screamer and boy, did I scream my head off but not because Bez is a beautiful specimen of man
(he’s married, by the way) but because I knew that I was about to experience awesomeness personified. And that was exactly what happened, as he took us on a journey through time, music and the path he has chosen with which to bless us. Every song struck a chord, his voice rich and honed to do more than sing but inspire and for people like me, evoke every single creative juice in my body. It was magical!
Might I add that if you haven’t listened to ‘Gbagyi child’ his latest album, you indeed have been deprived of awesomeness. However, because the Lord is good and we live in the 21st century, you can do yaself a favor and go buy ya copy…NOW!!!
Now, where was I? Ah ha! The epicness of Bez! So, see ehn, at this point the words escape me, for I feel I’m doing an injustice by even trying to bring his performance to life in words but what can I do? I can’t deny my readers of the gist.
It’s hard to have a favourite song when an artist is as amazing as Bez but other than the favorites from the Super sun album, my best songs from the new album are ‘Eternity’ ‘You suppose know’, ‘Zamuce’, ‘There’s a fire’ and ‘Breathe’. All I wanted to do was put the whole stage, Bez and band, in my bag and take them home with me. There was fire, there were stars, there were dancers, amazing vocalists, a band like no other but there, in a cloud of musical madness, was Bez.
Zuchiya (I hope I spelt that right) w the breaking for me. It was the first song by him I had ever heard, that one song that spoke of a love I once knew and when he asked for someone to come on stage, well in my usual way, I hid but my friends would have none of that and next thing I knew, I was on stage. I can’t explain what happened next but it was surreal. As I write this, I feel teary because I realise just how much I’ve missed the stage but this isn’t about me. It’s about a show that has caused an awakening in me.
The night went on and I was beyond happy. Ha! when the dancers came out, they scattered something. My baby, Adila ringz was the star and I say this without bias. Music runs deep in her and dance is her expression. Princess, Paulette, Uche and Annika, also did the performance justice and I was like a proud mummy watching her babies soar. We did not want the show to end and managed to keep Bez on stage as long as we could but eventually the show came to a close.
What a night! I am happy, fulfilled and recharged. This is how a concert should be done, this is the definition of quality entertainment and Bez is surrounded by a team that is family. They worked seamlessly and as a unit to give us the show of a lifetime. I have to duff my hat to Nsikak, he is one sick guitarist and it was nice to see him on stage after torturing us with awesomeness on ‘The Collectiv3’ album.
But the one person I can not do without appreciating, who to me was the star of the night, was the man behind the sound, my dear friend, Kelvin Egbegi of Pro Audio. He is passionate about his work and worked tirelessly to ensure we had clean, clear and amazing sound. If you are thinking professional sound in this country, he is the only one I can vouch for.
That said, if you weren’t at Bez Live Abuja, I can’t help you. But don’t ever say that great things don’t happen here.
This is my adventure, I hope you enjoyed the ride.