Pretty cool feature
I guess you could call this a feature
Another awesome thing about it!
News from Nigeria often concentrates on corruption in politics, fighting with the Boko Haram militants in the north and unrest in the oil-producing Delta region - but Africa's most populous nation has also quietly become a hotbed for the arts.
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News from Nigeria often concentrates on corruption in politics, fighting with the Boko Haram militants in the north and unrest in the oil-producing Delta region – but Africa’s most populous nation has also quietly become a hotbed for the arts.
The big band was rehearsing in the sauna. At least, that is what it felt like in a cramped room at Lagos’s School of Music.
It was packed with young musicians who, despite the heat, were giving it their all whilst paying close attention to the conductor, Tony Chiafor – a retired lieutenant commander from the Nigerian navy.
By the end of a rousing rendition of the tune, Onward Together, the saxophonists and flautists, as well as trumpet, clarinet and trombone players were all drenched in sweat.
“I wrote that one,” said Mr Chiafor, after bouncing up and down enthusiastically, waving his baton.
He has fond memories of studying in Britain at the Royal Marines School of Music at Deal, in Kent, before later going on to head the Nigerian navy’s own music school.
“I may be retired but I am not tired,” he told me, adding proudly: “We are doing serious business here, serious business, and I hope you are coming to next month’s concert.”
There was a very different atmosphere in the room where the strings were practising – it certainly had an international flavour.
A strict German conductor was guiding the Nigerian violinists and cellists through the Italian composer Arcangelo Corelli’s 300-year-old Christmas Concerto.
The Musical Society of Nigeria, or Muson, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and with several events planned there is a lot of practising going on at its school of music, so a walk down the corridors is an aural cocktail.
‘Do Do Mi’
In one of the rooms I met John Eclou. Wearing a diamondiferous-looking earring and trendy skinny jeans, he would not look out of place in a Nigerian pop group.
He closed his eyes and delivered an impressive, passionate version of Ave Maria.
Next door another student, Uche, played a rickety piano, accompanying Alaba, whose hands danced above the xylophone to a number inspired by West African high life music.