Relics, memories and legacies of second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture held in Lagos in 1977, tagged, “FESTAC ’77’ are about to be reincarnated in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital as different arts and cultural troupes are converging to mark 2019 African Drums Festival.
The African Drums Festival which was established as Nigerian Drums Festival in 2016 by Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led administration is billed to feature more than 100 cultural troupes drawn across 21 African countries; about 10 American, Asian and European countries as well as 26 Nigerian states who expected to put artistic and cultural performances at the 10,000-capacity Amphitheatre built within Abeokuta City Centre project.
The African Drums Festival which will kick off on Wednesday (tomorrow) with the arrival and registration of participants is reliving the memories and experiences of FESTAC ’77 by honouring 10 Ogun State outstanding artistes who played different roles at FESTAC ’77, including late Hubert Ogunde, late Ayinla Omowura, Oseni Ejire, late Haruna Ishola, late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, late Yusuf Olatunji, Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi, Josy Friday, among others.
Speaking in Abeokuta recently on the 2019 African Drums Festival, Governor Ibikunle Amosun declared that State government would relive the memories, relics, legacies and experiences of FESTAC ’77 by honouring main players of FESTAC ’77 dead and alive who represented Nigeria back then, mainly, late Fela Anikulapo Kuti by inaugurating refurbished family house of the late music icon and Al’s featuring Seun Kuti in the Festival.
He said, “We will have to work towards the possibility of having a permanent abode and that is within the Abeokuta Central Business District. We are looking at Amphitheatre which has 10,000 seats capacity and is located at the Central Business District, and that would be the festival Village.
“We have 26 states already, I will work on more states to perform at the African Drums Festival. We are also unveiling the museum home of Fela Anikulapo Kuti .The three days festival has also made provision for honouring 10 outstanding artists who took part in the FESTAC ’77.”
Earlier, Yetunde Onanuga, Deputy Governor who doubles as Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2019 African Drums Festival in Ogun, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga has noted that there would be landmark inauguration of Adire, tie and dye local fabric seal and Adire Mall at Ancient Itoku Market in Abeokuta. This effort was done to show originality of the local fabric which has now become one of the recognised international fabric brands.
Onanuga, who added that there would rail ride from Iju, Lagos to Abeokuta as part of the activities lined up to mark the Drums Festival, highlighted that “21 African countries, 71 independent troupes from across the States of Nigeria will perform at the festival and other countries such as UK, China, Germany France, Belgium among others are still being expected for this festival.”
Also, Professor Wole Soyinka, an indigene of the State, who is the Festival Consultant stated that there would be intellectual discourse on Rhythm and Tonality – Correlation between Percussion and Melody in African Musical Composition which will draw various scholars in the field of Dramatic, Theatre and Performing Arts across Africa and beyond.
The World Nobel Laureate, who was represented by Jahman Anikulapo, added that 17 master drummers drawn from 4 special countries and four regions of the country are also expected to be at the discourse and conference which would be held on the Ancient Olumo Rock in Abeokuta.
Meanwhile, both Sarafa Tunji Ishola and Soji Amosu, former Minister of Mines and Steel and Chairman, Ogun State Council of NUJ, respectively, urged Amosun to use his position as the Senator-elect for the Ogun Central to lobby at the National Assembly to ensure that the the Federal Government to adopt the festival as a Nigerian project and not the event to be hosted by the Ogun state government alone.
RAZAQ AYINLA, Abeokuta