Stylplus Still Got Style, MI Still Chairman, Orlando Julius Still a King
Afropolitan Vibes season was upon us again last week and this time it was not one but two days of live music concerts, private jam sessions and even music production lessons, all packed into the two day celebrations! Marking it’s 5th year anniversary (damn, it’s been 5 years?), the organizers pulled out all the stops to make this edition one to remember for a while, with music production classes with ace producers Del B who’s worked extensively with Flavour, Wizkid and Iyanya; Sess who single handedly produced two of Falz The Bahd Guys hit albums; and Oscar Heman Ackhah, brains behind some of P-squares biggest hits.
With Urban jam sessions with new kids on the scene Lady Donli, Funbi, Teezee and Yinka Bernie, a select number of fans were also schooled on the arts of songwriting and guitar masterclasses by Brymo and Bez during the day. All in all, 48 hours really wasn’t enough to house all the knowledge and experience that was being shared. This festival should be a week long event, much like the just concluded Social Media Week.
A major highlight was the live concert itself, held at the new grounds in Muri Okunola Park, VI featuring some of the finest live performers to ever come out of West Africa. At some point in the evening, it seemed everyone present were packed in a time capsule and tossed back to the year 2000 – a golden era in Nigerian music when we didn’t care much for global recognition and awards. At that time, Nigerians were just totally awed by the fact that Nigerian musicians were able to make well-produced, meaningful, soul-searching music, even after the horrors of the military regime.
It wasn’t so long ago when we not only danced to the beat of songs, but chewed on the lyrics. The group StylPlus (Tunde Akinsanmi, Zeal Onyecheme, Shifi Emoefe, Lanre Faneyi, Yemi Akinwonmi) was a symbol of that period with their storified love songs and this was the mood when they performed at the Afropolitan Vibes Concert. The nostalgia was palpapble as the group now down to the duo of Zeal Onyecheme and Lanre Faneyi delivered the evergreen Style Plus lyrics to the crowd at Muri Okunola park.
Further time travel with the self-appointed chairman of African Rap MI Abaga took the evening to farther spaces in time. It’s always been a surprise to me how MI hasn’t bagged any awards for his stagecraft. The way he marshalls both the crowd and the band is somewhat like a musical conductor or a general ordering troops. Currently promoting his 6th album, his set which was mostly a blend of his classic raps and his newer beats, was absolutely amazing to behold.
Time travel on the evening was complete with of Orlando Julius, saxophone king and one of the last remaining bastions of the high-life music era. At 75, Orlando Julius showed little sign of slowing down as his energetic performance lit up the evening.
Afropolitan Vibes is always a trip when it comes through and when it ends, I’m usually left with the feeling of nostalgia, missing the days when music actually still made some sort of sense.
Check out photos and videos from the event below.