Live from Ake: Waiting on Falana and Brymo to light up the stage…

Let nobody tell you lies; the best thing about the end of the year in Nigeria is the sheer number of culture festivals that you can immerse yourself in. You are one of the lucky few if your schedule permits you to truly immerse yourself in these culture fests.

Just last week we reported live from CORA’s Lagos Book and Art Festival. Today, we are in Abeokuta at the the Ogun State Centre for Arts and Culture, Kuto waiting for Falana, Adunni Nerfetiti and Brymo to remind us why African music -Nigerian music- is important. Why their choice to stay true to the real art of performance of meaningful, impactful and no less enjoyable music was not a mistake.

It will be the perfect opening to the next three next three days of energetic intersections between arts and culture; books and celebrity; history and news; and an in depth understanding of why we are important – Of what is ‘Beneath This Skin’. That is after all the theme of this year’s festival.

For years before now and even sometimes today, the stories of our lives have been told by mostly meddlesome interlopers. They get a glimpse based on a bias and they write to tell us hat we are. We have been conditioned to accept what’s on the surface; the rot we can see, the beauty of skin – colour, tone, shade, sheen. Those are important. But not as important as why what lies beneath is gold.

And we must explore by ourselves, through our own uniquely relatable experiences – the whys, hows and whats.

Over the next few days, we’ll sit with Teju Cole, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Molara Wood, Helon Habila, Wana Udobang, Toni Kan, Chinelo Okparanta, Fati Abubakar, Leye Adenle, Patrick Okigbo, Tendai Huchu – all part of us; young and old, who have come from home and also far away- we’ll discuss issues political, cultural, aesthetic, historical and creative significance. We’ll ask questions, we’ll read, we’ll explore, read poetry, lust for places known and strange.

But tonight, we’ll sit in awe as two young and distinguished individuals who have by sheer hardwork and steely determination, stayed true and grounded. We’ll shed tears when their lyrics touch our souls in ways that we cannot yet predict. All the while we’ll move to their beautiful melodies that though were formed by their own experiences, still resonate. We’ll also soak our ears deep in new tunes from an all-female band led by Adunni Nefertiti.

Then we’ll leave with a sense that we matter -all of us. A heightened sense of love and connection with everything that will happen here at Ake till Saturday when we leave.

Don’t worry, we’ll fill you in virtually -with words, photos and videos.

Ake Arts and Book Festival 2016 holds from 15th to 19th November in Abeokuta. Registration is still open!

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