Ghana’s Busua beach in Takoradi is usually a hub for getaways, relaxation, fresh sea food and all the other things that come with being a beach town, until the month of March, when it becomes a musical mecca that attracts people and artists from different parts of Ghana, Africa and the world at large.

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Asabaako festival is the vehicle that unites all these people. Asabaako means One Dance. The festival organizes live music with some of the best musicians and Djs on the planet, display works by visual artists and also contribute to the lives of inhabitants of peaceful Busua by holding workshops that offer training on skills that can help them generate income. There is also the famous jungle party- a real thrill, and (water) sports.

Asabaako is definitely one of the liveliest music festival from Africa. Busua is roughly 4-5 hours by road from Accra, Ghana’s capital but if you ask someone who’s attended, we bet they will tell you how ‘worth it’ the experience is. You can also fly too.

The festival has hosted musicians and artists like FOKN BOIS, Villy and The Extreme Volumes, Okwei Odili, Sewor Okudzeto, Ladyjaywah, Jojo Abott, Wiyaala, Paulina Oduro, to mention a few.

2017’s edition we hear will have Sena Dagadu, M.anifest, Yaa Pono, and many more talented acts. You really don’t want to miss this if you can attend.

We hope to get Kofi Debrah soon on this channel to tell us how he and his friends managed to put this wonderful project together.

Until then, get more info via their website.

http://www.asabaako.com/

Nigeria is home to many prolific story tellers, always has been. It is evident in movies; music; writers and especially vivid in its theater. 60s and 70s Nigeria saw a boom in drama and stage performances with human proponents like Hubert Ogunde, Baba Sala, Eddie Ugbomah, Ken Saro Wiwa and many other lesser known but well loved thespians that impacted their immediate communities and cities.

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AFRIKAJUMP is happy to have here Temitope Omobolanle Haastrup-Atitebi, a gifted actor often sighted in quality theatrical productions in Nigeria. She was part of the popular SARO-The Musical; which had a cast of over one hundred artists, and has also played Funmilayo Kuti, activist and mother of legendary musician Fela Kuti. She continues to represent depth and detail in her field. The entrepreneur and charity organizer took time of her busy life to answer some questions about life and work.

Here goes.

AFRIKAJUMP- It is a real pleasure to have you on, sister. Thank you for giving us some of your time. How do you juggle being a theater artist and entrepreneur?

OMOBOLANLE-I have realized that I am blessed being a Theater artiste because theater is really encompassing. It prepares and trains you for the persistence and doggedness one needs in any area of life really. Fortunately, what I do as an entrepreneur is in the art; an extension of theater. I trained in acting, costume, make-up, stage management, theater management, directing and production management.

All these skills and knowledge come to play whenever I need them either as an Event manager or as a fashion and craft vendor. Truth be told I don’t even see it as work, because every event is a production that needs all these skills to become a success.
It was actually the theater that inspired my business and provided a platform for me to grow, needless to say most of my clients are in the industry and they give me a lot of referrals as well. That’s why I call myself a Theater-preneur.

AFRIKAJUMP- How did your journey into theater and performance start; and was your family supportive of your decision to study theater at the university?

OMOBOLANLE-I have always been in love with performing arts. I had been singing, writing, acting and dancing as part of school/extra curriculum activities. However I started becoming aware of the special gifts and passion I have for performing arts after secondary school while waiting to get into the University.
Sometime in 1995, I saw a notice board with an invitation to become an actress. I remember walking into the building, registering and being very excited; that was the beginning. Afterwards I went to the training venue somewhere off Yaba road and there I met Lancelot Odua Imasuen.
The training school was called Jovies. However the major challenge was convincing my family that I wanted to study Theater.

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They felt that I was confused and didn’t know what I wanted at the time. Studying theater was a waste of my intelligence as far as they were concerned. I must confess I was confused about a lot of things I wanted in life then but being a performer was not one of them. Theater has been the only constant thing in my life, something I never struggle to do.‎ I fought my way through the opposition from my family and even from within me; Theater won.

AFRIKAJUMP- Beautiful. Congrats. What was your first role you got a cheque for and what was the experience like?

OMOBOLANLE-I honestly can’t remember getting a pay cheque but am sure I did. The experience was much more than a cheque for me at the time. Just being able to perform, being acknowledged as an artiste trumps a million dollar cheque.

The play was OBASEKI produced and directed  by Don Pedro Obaseki  with a star-studded cast of Richard Mofe-Damijo, Norbert Young,Stella Damasus, Henry Ese, Toyin Oshinaike,Kabat Esosa-Egbon, Eliel Otote,Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen and a host of dancers and singers. Everything I know in the arts, j first learnt from these people. I went from being a singer in the Orchestra to becoming an actor and later to be declared best dancer by Don P! (Story for another day).

Later went on to work with Lancelot’s production company as a secretary and was the production secretary as well as an actor in his first films YEAR 2000 and YESTERDAY. I also did my first TV series called laugh patterns in 2002/2003.

AFRIKAJUMP- Lovely, I remember Laugh Patterns. And your fashion ventures, what inspired it?

OMOBOLANLE- I literally just found myself in fashion it wasn’t planned at all. I wanted to make souvenirs and gift items that are unique. Again the arts inspired me; I started looking at using materials that speaks of my cultural background that can appeal to the world. It just took off from making flip-flops to bangles and earrings to tote bags to hair accessories to t-shirts and then dresses and then to everything I can. I am also a very fashionable person so it became a translation of my lifestyle into work. Now I do costumes for productions, my latest jobs were AFFRIF the Christmas play by Harvesters Christian Church in 2016.

AFRIKAJUMP- You have also worked in theater productions which heavily incorporate music, like Saro, and you also played Fela’s mother, how has your exposure with different aspects to art affected you as an actor?

OMOBOLANLE- When I started out, there was excuse for not being able to sing, dance and act- it’s a must. There’s absolutely no doubt that I got the best training  from the best hands in the industry and what that has afforded me is that I can be in any kind of theater production in any capacity, and I always give much more than I have been called for. I contribute positively to every aspect of the production that I possibly can. Playing Fela’s mother Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a great honor and being part of Nigerian’s first commercially acclaimed musical was a dream come through which I was well equipped for.

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AFRIKAJUMP- What would you say of the reception by people in Nigeria about this important branch of art-theater?

OMOBOLANLE-Theater is life; it’s everything. Africans, Nigerians love telling stories, love spectacle; love music and dance and this is what theater is about unfortunately there was a lull, somewhere somehow we traded our essence for shadow. The craze of westernization and all its accompaniment almost killed theater but we are going back to embracing who we are and developing those things that makes us unique as a people. Nigerians are beginning to look for alternative forms of entertainment and theater is providing that especially because it’s not limited; there’s drama, music and dance and now even fashion. The theater is also very interactive and a great place to network.

AFRIKAJUMP- What has been your most challenging role so far?

OMOBOLANLE-My most challenging role was playing Iya Ibeji in Femi Osofisan’s Twingle Twangle a Twanny Tayle in 2003 as directed by Dr Sola Fosudo. It was my first lead role as an actor. I had to show a lot of emotions; one minute I am sad another I am angry or throwing tantrums….I had to manage my voice and be on point. I tried though because I won the best actress of the year at ATAS LASU 2003 for that role.

AFRIKAJUMP- Congrats girl. What would a dream role be, in your opinion?

OMOBOLANLE-Playing Sister Clarence in Sisters Act.

AFRIKAJUMP- What do you think upcoming theater enthusiasts need to know basically?

OMOBOLANLE-Theater is hard work with a lot of passion. Talent alone cannot take you far you must invest in developing yourself all the time. You must constantly reinvent.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one word?

OMOBOLANLE-Inspiring.

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AFRIKAJUMP took a trip on February 17 to a spiritual place, Terreiro do Capivari. We found it magical too.

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This large expanse of land in Bahia Brazil is a testament to history, Africa and the inspiring resilience of Afro-Brazilians. Nature lives and thrives here as evidenced by its luscious vegetation.  Its natural ambiance is a huge part of  Terreiro do Capivari’s history. In Brazil a terreiro is where the Afro-Brazilian religion called Candomblé is practiced. This religion with roots from Nigeria and Benin Republic was spread in countries like Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, America and some other nations by Africans who were stolen through slavery.

The most striking visual here in Terreiro do Capivari has to be a proud Iroko tree dedicated to Obaluaiye-lord of the earth, and Osumare– the Rainbow god. The magnificent tree with delicious fruits dates over 200 years.

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Another remarkable thing is this tree lives right in the house with the inhabitants who made an altar of it. It has being a home of refuge and prayer for so many decades.

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In the story narrated by the gracious Babalorisa and Iyalorisa who received us warmly, the location was lived in by a Brazilian slave owner who as expected bought a stolen African; an ancestor of this present Babalorisa. As time went on, freedom came for the enslaved in Brazil, but Baba’s ancestor continued to live there while he weighed his options.

Then there came a major outbreak of cholera which killed many. Baba’s ancestral family was affected but they did not die because their father knew what herbs to get from the bush to tackle the disease. Eventually the disease spread to the slave owner’s family, the lady of the house panicked and asked Baba for help. Baba’s kindness and his plants saved them, and in gratitude she asked him to choose a large portion of the land for himself. He erected his altar and the rest is history.

There is a house of Baba Egun, altars of Ogun, Sango, and a sweet running stream, a sign of Osun.

There are many relics from many decades past like this box used to transport materials, drums fashioned directly from a tree, this grinding stone, which was stolen but recovered by Brazilian authorities in far away Sao Paulo! Sigh. Some people are just…No words.

Reverence to our good ancestors is a huge part of Africa’s belief systems, and in this terreiro, ancestors who set the path are fondly remembered.

Today the land is home to many medicinal plants- some rare, trees and unending music from birds.

AFRIKAJUMP is grateful to Babalorisa and Iyalorisa who welcomed us with open arms and minds.

There are plans for an exposition here in the near future. To know more, here’s their facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Terreiro-do-Capivari-Casa-de-Obaluay%C3%AA-e-Oxumar%C3%AA-285103178325540/

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Translated into English, this Portuguese phrase means Jam at MAM. MAM is Salvador’s Museum of Modern Art in Bahia, Brazil. As the name indicates it is a center for contemporary arts, particularly visual arts but every Saturday MAM comes even more alive with hundreds of people attracted by amazing music from some of the state’s best musicians. Musicians from all parts of the world who visit Brazil often pass through to jam at MAM, with its wonderful view of the Atlantic ocean.

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TIP: Forget about finding a seat if you come later than 6 PM, when the show starts. Also if you don’t want to stay on the epic queue, come early.

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At Jam no MAM, popular and complicated jazz standards are improvised on by these talented musicians including Brazilian tunes. The musicians play just about anything from African music to American soul from folks like Roy Hargrove, Ray Charles and James Brown- whoever catches their fancy.

Another fun part of the event is that as a singer or musician attending the jam, you are very welcome if there’s time, to sing and play with the band. AFRIKAJUMP was there on February 11 where singers like Okwei Odili- Nigeria, Cecelia Stalin- Sweden joined with visiting instrumentalists from other parts of the world to play with Jam no MAM regulars like Ivan Huol, Matias Traut, Andre Cruz Tang, Ivan Bastos, Andre Becker, Gabi Guedes, his nephew Felipe Guedes, Bruno Aranha, Artur Carneiro and more. Joatan Nascimento, a prominent horn player in Bahia was in attendance.

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For more, check out their website and facebook below. Peace.

http://www.jamnomam.com.br

https://www.facebook.com/jamnomam/

On this year’s World Read Aloud Day, it is a real pleasure to have Nigerian Author, Editor and children’s book writer Ayo Olofintuade as our guest. Ayo became more visible on Nigeria’s literary scene after her book ENO’S STORY published in 2010 earned her a Nigeria Prize for Literature nomination.

She is more interesting because she isn’t only about writing books, but wants people; particularly Nigerians; to read books. To actualize this challenge she founded LAIPO Mobile Library which has engaged hundreds of Nigerian children in reading and other literary activities.

We are also inspired by her human rights activism.

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We caught up with Ayo at her Ibadan base and had a good chat, after which she graciously read a passage from her heartwarming new work KING OF THE HEAP, in celebration of 2017’s World Read Aloud Day. Enjoy.

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AFRIKAJUMP- Thanks for sharing your time with us Ayo. You were our top choice on the blog today also because of your spirited efforts in the area of literacy with Nigerian children. Why are you so involved?

AYO- I grew up reading, so when I discovered that a lot of children do not have access to libraries or good books I decided to do something about it.

AFRIKAJUMP- Congrats. We are excited about your new book “King of the heap”. What inspired it?

AYO- One of the things I discovered while running the mobile library project in public and lower income private schools is that the children enjoy books with characters they are familiar with. King of the heap was written for the children I teach. They are the children you see on the streets after school hours, during holidays and on weekends, selling things by the roadside. These are my heroes because they’re determined to make a life for themselves in spite of all the odds stacked against them.

AFRIKAJUMP- We hear the book isn’t going to be widely distributed, but will feature in some select libraries- some consolation. Why is this so?

AYO- I applied for a business grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I had such grand plans but things didn’t work out the way I’d envisaged them, because of the economy and sheer incompetence of the people I worked with. Instead of completely losing out I made the decision to keep the circulation low while I work on other business models that can work in the situationship called Nigeria.

AFRIKAJUMP- Why have you chosen to write for children?

AYO- I am that eternal child that still watches cartoons and reads comics.

AFRIKAJUMP- What was your favorite book as a child?

AYO- My Father’s Daughter by Mabel Segun, basically because it features a black, female character who went on the same adventure as boys.

AFRIKAJUMP- Who’s your favourite Author now? You only get to choose one… hehehe evil, I know.

AYO- You are Evil. But I’m presently enamoured with Yaa Gyasi. Her book ‘Homegoing’ provided a much needed insight into the slavery period in Africa, particularly what happened in the Gold Coast.

AFRIKAJUMP- On this year’s World Read Aloud day, how do you think the reading culture of your country can be improved?

AYO- The only way is the provision of quality education that makes reading (and I’m not talking about textbooks here) its chief concern.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one word?

AYO- Sarcastic.

Nigerian and South American music collective in Brazil; Okwei Odili and Aweto Band had their first outing in this year on February 3 at Tropos, Salvador. The gig which was also in tribute to Yemoja week in Bahia, attracted friends and fans of the band who were thrilled with Afrobeat, Soul and Reggae vibes enhanced by the band’s ancestries.

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They perform Okwei’s composition- SUFFER in the link below

To be in the know about the band’s activities, click and LIKE their page here-

https://www.facebook.com/OkweiNigeria/

 

 

 

 

The night of February first was alive with hundreds of people in the streets of Salvador, mostly dressed in white and blue, some in gold and pink; in honor of maternal deity/energy of the Sea- Yemoja, Yemaya, Iemanja.

The very next day February second would be the climax of the yearly event, with more people; fanfare and Baianos ancestral customs of worship, culture, fashion and other expressions on full display.

Afrikajump joined many faithfuls and adventure seekers who kept vigil on the night of February first in Rio Vermelho- Salvador, and here are some shots of the event.

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Many thanks to TV LAPA DIGITAL FOR THE DAY TWO PHOTOS BELOW ❤

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