Discussion : Adventures Of Sky – The Core, Corby Cube

We found this article about a friend of the African Renaissance – Nikki Norton Shafau – and just had to reblog it. Go Nikki!

StevoMusicMan - Ramblings Of A Music Man

Last night I attended a free discussion about a new piece of work by the amazing Nikki Norton-Shafau. It’s entitled ‘The Adventures Of Sky – The Reluctant Hero‘, which will be produced by Chris Sudworth from the Cube. What makes it unique is the fact it will be the first theatre production to employ Martyn Ware’s unique 3D sound system. The show première’s in Corby on 7 February until 9 February 2012 before going onto Amsterdam and Manchester. It’s a world première and a bit of coup for the Core theatre.

All three principal people were present along with some local folk who interacted with them to discuss and hear the possibilities that could be available. Firstly this truly special 3D sound system is now a permanent fixture at the cube, so future productions could use this system. This brings up a distinct chance Martyn’s…

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Ken Saro-Wiwa, Wole Soyinka, Paul Robeson & Christopher Okigbo

Legends of the motherland!

Black History Month

Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995)

Saro-Wiwa was born to one of the Nigerian tribes, Ogoni, in 1941, and at the age of 13 won a scholarship to Government College in Umuahia. After the graduation from the University of Ibadan, he worked at the jobs which the Nigerian Government provided. When the Biafran civil war broke out, he was one of the few Ogoni intellectuals to side with the Nigerian government, believing that the Ogonis had better prospects within Nigerian than in Igbo-dominated Biafra. This became very controversial. When he was appointed to be a regional commissioner for education, his prospect became one of the impediments for the Government to gain the control over the Ogonis people. Since his attitude failed to meet government’s expectation, he was more and more actively engaged in campaigning for the rights of the Ogoni people to stop the government from agreeing the Shell to exploit their natural…

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My Thoughts On My Way Down

By Nate Mamman (@NateMamman)

The window shatters and I begin to fall in an arc. I know it is an arc as I studied Physics in Secondary School. I have forgotten most of what I learned, but for some reason I still remember Projectile Motion. Shards of glass surround me, and I watch them in fascination, thinking of how complicated the Math needed to describe the individual and collective rotational and projectile paths. I try to think about all the variables that would need to be included, but which the mathematicians and physicists would ignore to make their work easier. I start to get a headache.

It occurs to me that for someone falling to his death, I am very calm. I remember a line from that song: “forty floors or four, it makes no difference once you hit the ground.” Can a person die if he (or she) falls from the fourth storey? And it just occurs to me that I am falling from the twenty-second floor; or twenty-frist, if you prefer the British system. Forty plus four divided by two. I know it is just a coincidence, but I can’t help but wonder.

I look down and see people becoming bigger very quickly. “so this is how I die”, I mutter to myself. I may fall on some poor human and the person would die, while I may get to keep mine. Or Super-man (or maybe Mr. Incredible, or even Hancock) may zoom in and grab me just before I hit the ground. Or better still, some super-hot heroine. But they don’t exist. Maybe I would land on a pile of mattresses being carried by a trailer.

I see a girl looking out of the window as I drop past.The look on her face, when she sees me, is priceless!I resist the temptation to wave at her. I am falling to my death, and it somehow seems like bad etiquette to cheerfully wave at people in such situations. Maybe I should have done it while looking very grave.

I am too detached. I should be crying or peeing on myself. Or even screaming. I shouldn’t be thinking and observing. I try to “swim” to adjust my position, when my hand hits the chair I was sitting on a few moments ago. I chuckle as it occurs to me that I would not have to pay for the damage the chair is going to suffer once it hits the ground.

I think about the fact that I have not achieved most of my goals in life. As if it would make any difference now. All the knowledge I gained is useless now, as is all I failed to learn. I watch a particularly nasty looking shard as it follows me closely, but then decide it is not going to quarter me or something, so I ignore it.

I have gotten out of the building’s shadow, and the sun is burning into my eyes. I shut them, and make swimming motions again, so that I now face the ground. Everything is growing bigger pretty quickly. Are they increasing in size at the same rate with which I am falling? They have to be.

People are beginning to notice me, and a lot of them have stopped to gawk and point at me. I wish I was wearing wings like the ones children wear when they are acting as angels in school plays. It would look like an angel fell from heaven. Odd thing, the fact that the bible never mentions angels having wings. Or maybe it does. The cherubim (seraphim?) in Isaiah’s psychedlic vision. Maybe that was Jeremiah.

It is nearly time. The ground is coming up pretty fast. People have made a wide circle around the spot I am most likely going to crash on. It is a good thing that I would disintegrate on impact. It means my bladder and bowels would not be emptied into my pants, as they say happen when people die. Their contents would be splattered all over the place. I wonder which would be more dignifying. But what difference would it make?

I see some people running towards my impact point with a very very big mattress. They may get there on time. But why do they bother? It’s not like I am weeping with regret.

And very soon, i would get to know if there is an afterlife. That is assuming the guys with the mattress don’t get here first.

Free download: Hip Hop from Africa – L.P’s P.O.V tha Mixtape

Jos City, famously known as J-town, is home to some of the best hip hop talents in the country (and indeed the continent). One of its most promising talents, a young emcee who goes by the name Pizzo da Lyrical Praxis recently released a mixtape titled: L.P’s P.O.V tha Mixtape.

We’ve got the lyrically luminous street-hop for you right here, so start downloading and get your ‘Afro’ hip hop on. Check out the tracklist below, with brief comments. Let us know what you think of the tracks by leaving a comment below.

CRITIQUE MUSIC PRESENTS: L.P’S P.O.V tha MIXTAPE

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1. True Confession feat Tommy Shields
Pizzo raps to a hook sung by Tommy Shields, giving his “true confession of love” to an unnamed lady who wants to call it quits on their relationship.
Ace lines: I always thought we was a perfect match/After fish in the ocean you was worth the catch

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2. Questions feat Remarkable
Pizzo gives lyrical insight into the curious workings of his mind, asking question after question of a Nigeria that could have been.
Ace lines: What if, death was hard and life was easy, would poverty still be/ Or just a thing of the mind state?/ Or maybe that’s the reason why we having these crime rates/ coz ghetto people tired of waiting for His divine grace

3. Duwawu feat Illmasta Chif
“Duwawu” in Hausa language translates to “booty” (à la Beyonce’s “bootylicious) in English. This club banger has one of Pizzo’s best verses in the mixtape. If you don’t get the lines rapped in Hausa just shake your “duwawu” and enjoy the damn song!
Ace lines: show kada duwa duwawu/ zuba ya taru, wuta ya karu, ka za ta paru/ got you looking dangerous, but yan mata wanna hang with us

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4. Aikin kowa feat Baysticks
A patriot’s song which has the two rappers calling for peace, love and unity. A better Nigeria after all is “aikin kowa” – everybody’s duty.
Ace lines: It’s all about responsibility, get strong, you feeling me?/ slept on, the realest D!, dead wrong stupidity

5. Murna Murna feat Lucase
A feel good track bound to get you off your feet and keep you jumping with chants of “murna murna”!
Ace lines: call me asthma coz I got a really bad attack/ I dey select oh, no be every kind girl I dey knack

6. Good Love
Hey, we all need some good love, right? Pizzo raps about various trysts and love-scapades over a soul inspired beat.
Ace lines: met this fine PH resident, got oil money her brother’s a militant/ I’m impressed she’s a rebel for the cause, struggle for the poor/ one day she said she was wondering/ if I would love to kidnap and go bunkering

7. For You feat Ruby
Loopy music’s Ruby laces this track with soulful vocals as Pizzo breaks down his passion of doing music for the listeners
Ace lines: music helps me appreciate the beauty in life/ the proof is in the way I’ve been consuming the mic

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8. For John My Friend
Producer Tommy Shields creates an emotional beat sampling Janelle Monae’s “Oh Maker” over which Pizzo tells the true story of a friend whose tale may not have been told otherwise
Ace lines: After fighting wars from Chad to Lebannon/ in the Middle East keeping peace that never comes

9. Come On feat Deep Thot tha Blaq Ego
A throwback to hard, head bobbing hip hop which feature Pizzo and Deep Thot giving a shout out to J-town and other hip hop loving states.
Ace lines: I can’t stop the way my heart beat boxes/ until my lungs collapse and tongues spit hip hop

10. In da City
In the city of love you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, just be careful not to get lost while doing so. Pizzo raps about finding love and the determination to preserve it.

Ace lines: I’m no stranger, I’ve been to the place called love/ where the sidewalk is smooth and the main road is rough

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11. I love UJ feat Illmasta Chif
An anthem of the (sometimes juvenile) pleasures of being young and in college, rapped appropriately to Asher Roth’s “I Love College”. A party-ode to one of the oldest Universities in Nigeria, the University of Jos – the alma mata of Pizzo and Illmasta Chif.
Ace lines: I made a lot of cash from extorting my parents, school fees was 27 I told them 46/ spent all the profit on Rosay and Bacardi mix/ fellowship with holy dames, wild out with naughty chicks

12. Rayuwa feat Chrome and Illmasta Chif
Rayuwa! “Living.” Pizzo, Chrome and Illmasta Chif give three perspectives on violence that has seen a peaceful city torn apart, and hatred wrought on a people’s ability to live as one.
Ace lines: If religion has a way of blurring your rational thoughts refrain from it/ tell you what I’ve seen so many mentally deranged from it

13. Lonely Road feat Chrome and Illmasta Chif
Tommy Shields evokes the Greenday classic for this track of personal trials, tribulations and redemption.
Ace lines: I keep my eyes on the road/ and I aim for the prizes like diamonds and gold, ready to blow/ like crude oil I steady the flow

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The Kings of Africa: 18 Portraits by Daniel Laine

There are kings and then there are African Kings.

TwistedSifter

 

African Kings: Portraits of a Disappearing Era by Daniel Lane

 
From 1988 to 1991, French photographer Daniel Laine photographed 70 African monarchs, “whose dynasties marked the history of Africa until the middle of the twentieth century.” With hundreds of monarchs to choose from, Laine focused on those who continued to “retain a traditional and spiritual authority that is difficult for the Western mind to comprehend.”

Laine recalls the difficulties of getting permission for the photographs, the sensitive diplomatic negotiations involved in many cases. A war in Sudan prevented Laine from photographing the king of Shiluk, a descendant of black dynasties that ruled Egypt. Others, including the king of Swaziland, declined to be photographed. With each striking photograph, Laine provides a brief biography and historical notes about the tribe and its rituals. Among those photographed are Chukumela Nnam Obi II, the Oba of Ogba, Nigeria; El Hadj Sheehu Idris…

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Femi Amogunla: My Name, My Identity

From the groundbreaking 30 Nigeria House project, a young voice in traditional Yoruba poetry, evoking the rhythms of timeless wisdom, sings itself into the okan (heart) of African poetry. His name is Femi Amogunla.

poetic sight

Femi on NTA hilltop, Ile Ife, Osun state, for location check. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

The man, the poet
Femi Amogunla is an actor, spoken word and voice-over artist based in Ibadan, Nigeria. He studied English Language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, after which he proceeded to the Royal Arts Academy for a Diploma in Acting where he graduated as the best acting student. Performance is one word with many meanings for Femi; many of them, he loves.

spoken word

Femi at Oranmiyan park, Ile Ife. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

His project
In June of 2012 Femi was selected as one of 30 award winners for the prestigious 30 Nigeria House project, an initiative of Theatre Royal Stratford East and New World Nigeria. His project has seen Femi develop a spoken word piece titled: My Name, My Identity.

The poem My Name, My Identity focuses on the beauty of Yoruba culture as captured in the significance of a name, in this case, Femi’s name. In the Yoruba belief system, what you are called and how you are called goes a long way to affect what you turn out to be.

The narrator of the poem insists that he should be called by his name, the way it should be; not as an abbreviation or as a nickname because, it is believed that ‘whatever’ you are called has a meaning.

artists of the word spoken

Poetry makers. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

The poet draws on personal examples of the challenges that he has faced when it comes to his name, and draws on how he has been able to keep bearing his name despite these.

The poem also goes ahead to show the challenges of holding on to this culture of naming in a fast changing world that seems to impose its change on one. The narrator refuses any version of his name, and takes pride in what he’s called, drawing from the Yoruba culture and history.

Rendered in English, this poem has a universal appeal, yet it is sprinkled with local Yoruba language, the poet calls the audience to a different language, to a different culture. It also makes use of accepted codes of culture like music.Finally, it educates others about African lives, African pride and the struggle of the African past.

The Making of: My Name, My Identity

shooting scenes

On set: Mayowa Olajide, Femi and Elujoba Folusho. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope

Filming the Project
Speaking about the filming of this poetic piece Femi notes the project exposed him to “varied experiences”. Shot in locations in Ile Ife, Osun State, the project took about three months to go through the lifecycle of pre-production to production to post-production. In order to fully capture the resonance of the poetry, audio was done separately from the shoot and as the poet puts it “that alone was hard work”.

poetic shots

There is music in poetry, there is dance in words. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope

This being the first video shoot of his poetry, Femi says with a reminiscent smile, “I learnt so many lessons from the experience. It is one that I would gladly repeat. Now, I look forward to more recordings of my work”.

Crew
Sometimes it can take an entire village to see a project such as this grow from seed to fruition, that makes nothing more encouraging than working with a crew who give the best to the task.

shooting scenes

On set: Folusho (left), Femi (center) and Mayowa (right)

Speaking of the crew Femi says: “my director, Imole Adisa who is also the creative director of The Masque Troupe did a wonderful job. The bata dancer Folusho Elujoba is a force to reckon with. Also the effort of the cinematographer, Mayowa Olajide, who also doubled as the editor cannot be over emphasised. My costumier was Soji Gbelekale, so you know where the colourful traditional attires came from. The words all flow into one lovely poem and that’s thanks to Temitayo Olofinlua, the content director; she took the idea from the first draft and transformed it into a great poem.

dance to poetry

Folusho in motion. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

Challenges
Nothing beats the stories of challenges we face during the production of a work of art. Femi shared some with us:

“While leaving for location, I told my wife I should be home in four – maximum five – days. This was because I had everything set – or so I thought. My location manager and I kept exchanging mails and all of that to be sure we won’t be spending more than a week.

on set, directors and actors

Director Imole Adisa (left) giving directions to Femi (center) and Folusho (right). Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

When I got to Ile-Ife, the first challenge I had was getting appropriate time for rehearsals as the drummer, my director and even my cinematographer all had unexpected issues to attend to. We kept scheduling and re-scheduling until we got it done after three days. The first thing we did was to do the audio session. We booked an all-night session and that was tedious. One person did the drumming. There were three different drums. So imagine, each sound after the other. It was demanding. I had to do the recitation every time he picked an entirely different drum.

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The throat and the earth, they must be made wet with wine. Photo by Ogunniyi Temitope.

After two days, we headed for location somewhere in front of the Oni of Ife’s palace only to be sent away by someone who claimed to be in charge of the place. Meanwhile my location manager had spoken to someone who also presented himself as being in charge of the place. All the shots we had before the intervention had to be cancelled. It was quite difficult getting a place to use eventually but in the end, it all went well”.

A poet’s gratitude
The work at last a reality; the video completed and many lessons learnt, Femi considers himself “a better poet… hopefully” emerging from this unforgettable adventure. Expressing his joy and gratitude Femi says “Thanks to everyone for making this a reality. The amazing crew. The Theatre Royal Stratford East and 30 Nigeria House for the opportunity. The other 29 lucky winners. Let’s change our world, one word, one poem, one play, at a time.”

If like us you are eager to see, hear and resonate more with Femi and his world of expressions, the poet assured us his works – in video, audio and text formats – will soon be accessible via his website: http://www.ogbenifemi.com

Find out more about the 30 Nigeria House project here.. A.R.T is proud to be part of one of the projects under 30 Nigeria House, find out more here.

NUTAF RETURNS

The Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF) has announced its return to the theatre academia scene with an invitation to a whooping 37 Universities nationwide.

Following a 7 year hiatus the event is being revamped with Nasarawa State University, Keffi, playing host to hundreds of students from departments of performing arts around the country.

In the past NUTAF was considered the “olympics” of performing arts activities in academia, attracting the support of established Nigerian actors, theatre practitioners, film makers, and more.

The event was last hosted by the University of Jos, Plateau state, in 2006. This year Nasarawa State University, Keffi will be hosting the event from 14th – 20th July, 2013. To all young thespians we say, get out there and have a theatrical blast! The renaissance is well alive!

NUTAF 2013: INVITED NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES

These are the 37 Universities invited to participate at NUTAF 2013:

FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES (16)
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife
Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka
University of Nigeria Nsukka
University of Ibadan, Ibadan
University of Benin, Benin
University of Calabar, Caliber
University of Jos, Jos
University of Abuja, Gwagwalada
University of Ilorin, Ilorin
University of Port-Harcourt, Port-Harcourt
University of Lagos, Akoka-Lagos
University of Uyo, Uyo
University of Maiduguri, MAiduguri
Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Oye-Ekiti
Federal University,Otuoke, Otuoke

STATE UNIVERSITIES (15)
Nasarawa State University, Keffi
Benue State University, Makurdi
Plateau State University, Bokkos
Niger Delta University
Imo State University, Owerri
Olabisi Onabanjo University, Aguoye
Lagos State University,
Delta State University
Ambrose Ali University
Kogi State University
Osun State University
Akwa-Ibom State University
Ekiti State University
Kwara State University
Kaduna State University

PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES (6)
Redeemer’s University, Mowe
Igbinedion University, Okada Benin city
Bowen University, Iwo, Osun state
Afe Babalola University, Edo-Ekiti
Obong University
Western Delta University, Oghara