A look at Lagos International Jazz Festival 2022

In 2019, lovers of jazz music and many jazz artistes were at the Freedom Park Lagos to celebrate the annual Lagos International Jazz Festival.

The exciting events of the festivals always make participants look forward to another edition. But due to the pandemic outbreak in 2020, the festivals did not hold, as well, the 2021 edition held virtually.

However, this year, the festival returned after an unforeseeable two years hiatus. From April 29 – May 3, 2022, Nigeria’s premier and most popular jazz fiesta held for four days across many locations in Lagos.

The event was initial planned for two days at Bay Lounge in Lekki, Lagos, a waterfront venue on the island, but by popular demand, it was extended by further two days to the mainland at Fish Farm in Ogudu, Lagos, which turned out to be a good outing to celebrate both the international workers’ day and end of Ramadan fast.

Both the island and mainland editions lived up to their billing as music lovers, both young and old, were treated to an array of sounds from over 20 acts performing jazz and other related genres in various expressions and fusions. Surprisingly at both locations, rain threatened but was unable to keep the eager crowd away from attending and listening to good music. In attendance at the events were members of diplomatic corps including, the American Embassy staff, South African Consul General, Italian Consul General and a host of French and Spanish expatriates, among others who were delighted by the music.

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Headlining the festival this year at both venues was Nigeria’s leading Afro-jazz diva and songstress Yinka Davies, whose captivating performances were commendable and a lesson in jazz improvisation performance mastery that has been honed for close to three decades. At the Bay lounge in Lekki, she held the audience spellbound with her collaborative performance with Pa Jimi Solanke, a veteran entertainer, who performed Jazz standards to the applause of the audience. At the Fish Farm edition, Mikhifa, ace jazz saxophonist, was her partner to deliver a spectacular performance that thrilled the audience with thunderous applause afterwards. Other stellar performances were from; The Sharp Band, Afrobeat band – The Lagos Thugs, Samderry, Afrobeats Guitarist YPick, who used his Bay Lounge performance to honour Benson Idonije; the veteran broadcaster and music critic as his wife celebrated her milestone birthday anniversary. The Idonijes are grandparents to Burna Boy, Afrobeats superstar, African giant and Grammy Award winner.

There were also exceptional performances from tenor and baritone soloists, Guchie and Olumide Baritone, Dfunmy, Poshryna Oyin, CJ Amun Nnadi and his team from Port Harcourt – Pamela Scott & August Chuks, Michael Gbenga, ace drummer and a host of others. The 10 Strings Music Institute presented its All-stars band with their JOMA (Joy Of Music Africa) production at the Fish Farm edition. They paraded an array of next generation stars to look out for in the almost three hours presentation of 25 Grammy quality African classic songs. They were led by the Institute’s founder Emmanuel Akapo and included ShaDe, Prince Charles, PSG, imi and a host of others.

To draw the curtains to the festival were spectacular performances from both NAIJAZZ Afrobeat multi-instrumentalist Seun Olota & his Extasi band and YPick. Seun, a veteran in the game, enthralled the audience with witty vocals, bursts of synchronized horns, enhanced choreography and of course intermittent bursts of ‘yabis’ reminiscent of Afrobeat founder and legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti of blessed memory. YPick’s superb performance was the curtain call for the entire festival. The Lagos International Jazz Festival 2022 was organized by Inspiro Productions and supported by Sovereign Trust Insurance plc, The Baylounge Lekki, Fish Farm Ogudu and Lagos Tourism.

It was also dedicated to Margaret Olatokunbo Sadare, mother of Ayoola Sadare, the founder. The festival, which was founded has over the years featured stars like Courtney Pine, Freshly Ground, Mike Aremu, Victor Masondo, Gloria Ibru, Dede and a host of others.

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