Heartwarming greetings from my African sunkissed heart to yours 🙂 and a Happy new month of August to you!
I just arrived from my home country of Nigeria the past month of July, promoting my debut album“Organically Singing” and garnering some press/media presence and on ground performances. Follow me at @Tosinger on instagram to have a sneak peak of that journey, see a few pics below. Thank God for His mercies, grace and favor and thank you Lagos for your hospitality.
I am also delighted to present to you a creative product of my visit to Nigeria which is officially released digitally today. I worked with the multitalented Producer/Musician – FloRocka– on my latest project, an audio drama/spoken word titled ‘Silent Thoughts’.
‘Silent Thoughts‘ is an Audio Drama/Spoken Word/Storytelling Project with an afro-theatrical edge addressing the issues of our times. As a spoken form of art on a musical backdrop, ‘Silent Thoughts’ intends to provoke and inspire thought towards change. Things have been quiet lately about the Chibok Girls. Whatever happened to #BringBackOurGirls? What is currently happening?
It’s been a minute and here is what I’ve been working on. I sing, I write, I act and I tell stories. I am a modern day griot and a cultural ambassador and my name is Tosinger. 🙂
Here’s introducing, the first vlog/webisode/series, whatever you choose to call it, edition of my weekly (on Tuesdays) folk storytelling project- TALES WITH TOSINGER,
Folk tales and fables are an educational and entertaining means of passing down traditions and customs from one generation to the next. An African tradition for several generations, adults would tell tales by the moonlight while teaching morals and lessons. I have chosen to gather adults and children alike around a social app, a youtube video, the millennial way to get the world’s attention 😉
Enjoy Episode #001 Dawu the Lion King. DO SUBSCRIBE, like, comment and spread the word. Ese! ( pronounced “E-shay ” — which means ‘Thank you’ in Yoruba)
Folarin Falana, better known by his stage name Falzis a Nigerian rapper and funny guy. Falz describes his style of music as “Wahzup music” a fusion of comic lyrics with the contemporary hip-hop in a faux lispy Yoruba accent. Falz, a lawyer by education, called to the bar in 2012 after graduating from the Nigeria Law School, Abuja is the son of popular Nigerian human activist and lawyerFemi Falana.
Falz just released the official video for his hit song ‘Soldier’ featuring sweet singerSimi , one of Nigeria’s fast rising female artistes with a sonorous, smooth and soulful voice. The song ‘Soldier’ off his Stories That Touch album released late 2015 is a musical narrative of an army official trying to win the heart of a beautiful village sweetheart. The visuals for ‘Soldier’ is in form of a short film and it stars Falz, Simi, Actor Deyemi Okanlawon, Oluwasesan Salami, Efa Iwara and Morenike Alausa and was directed by Clarence A. Peters.
‘Soldier’ is a short musical film, shot By Clarence Peters, and taken from ‘Stories That Touch’ – the second studio album by Falz TheBahdGuy. Written by Clarence Peters and Chioma Onyenwe, scored by Oluwasesan Salami, with music by Oscar Ackah.
Watch the well produced video below:
Here is another collaboration by both artistes that is very enjoyable. A previously released song by Simi “Jamb Question”. The two surely have some good musical chemistry going on.
There are stories that need to be told over and over again. Havard Business School has just released an audio commentary of the story of the entrepreneurship and progressive success of the historical hair business icon and philanthropist, Madame C.J. Walker aptly titled The Amazing Life of One of America’s Earliest Black, Female Entrepreneurs
Culled: Though not everyone may know her name, Madam C.J. Walker helped invent what have become staples of our modern country and economy: national sales forces, corporate social responsibility, and, yes, even basic hair care. Orphaned at age 8, married at 14, and widowed at 20 with a daughter to raise, Walker went on to become a millionaire entrepreneur in the Deep South at the turn of the century, against all odds. Professor Nancy Koehn describes Walker’s inspiring real life story of making good on her own unique American dream.
ROOTS, The MiniSeries
I remember watching and re-watching Roots in the earlier years on Nigerian TV, truly drawn in and deeply empathetic and affected by the horrific experiences of the primary character Kunta Kinte(played by LeVar Burton) and his kin.
Roots: The Saga of an American Family is a novel written by Alex Haley and first published in 1976. It tells the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African, captured as an adolescent and sold into slavery in the United States, and follows his life and the lives of his descendants in the U.S. down to Haley (via Wiki).
“Roots opened up the minds of Americans of all colors and faiths to one of the darkest and most painful parts of America’s past.” – Publisher’s Weekly
PBS states that Roots is one of the most-watched miniseries of all time, Roots captivated its audience over eight consecutive nights in January 1977. The award winning series followed the multi-generational account of author Alex Haley’s family line from enslavement to liberaton. For the first time, America witnessed on film the horrors of slave ships, the mistreatment of slaves and human cost of slavery. Roots has since become a part of American cinematic history and cultural consciousness.
Fast forward to 2016, Roots has been remade. IT PROVES SOME STORIES ARE WORTH TELLING AGAIN, ISTORY® premieres “Roots” on Memorial Day 2016, airing over four consecutive nights at 9 p.m. beginning Monday, May 30, 2016. The four-night, eight-hour event series developed by HISTORY, from A+E Studios, is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship.
“Roots” will be simulcast on A&E and Lifetime, in addition to HISTORY. The stellar cast includes Academy Award® winners Forest Whitaker (“Fiddler”) and Anna Paquin (“Nancy Holt”); Academy Award® nominee and Emmy Award® winner Laurence Fishburne (“Alex Haley”); Golden Globe Award® winning and Emmy Award® nominated actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“Tom Lea”); Tony Award® winner Anika Noni Rose (“Kizzy”); Grammy Award® winner Tip “T.I.” Harris (“Cyrus”); Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Belle”); Matthew Goode (“Dr. William Waller”); Mekhi Phifer (“Jerusalem”); James Purefoy (“John Waller”) and introduces Regé-Jean Page (“Chicken George”) and Malachi Kirby (“Kunta Kinte”).
As you celebrate the miracle of this special season, may your heart be filled with joy and peace. May Jesus, the reason of the season and the blessing of Christmas, guide your heart always.
I thank you for joining me on my journey this year. 2015 has been full of valleys and mountains. I thank God for all. Notable musical/artistic milestones for me include the release of my debut album ‘Organically Singing’ in July and being an opening act for ‘Lagbaja’ at the Variety Playhouse in May.
To God, I’m grateful. To you, my family and friends, I say thank you for your continued support. Let us look forward to new connections, new horizons, new projects in 2016. It has been a very blessed year and I am very grateful. Here is a token of my appreciation, my Christmas gift to you; it is a free download of ‘Olugbala’ – a Christmas single I wrote a little while back. Download here and feel free to share.
I hope 2015 was good for you too and I pray in faith that 2016 will be better. It is my hope that in 2016, you will absolutely dominate your unique space of inspiration and influence.
(a paraphrase of words used by MsUdoak, loved the expression)
Enjoy a happy holiday season full of family quality time, friends and fun! As we prepare to enter into the new year, I wish you all a restful break and a successful 2016.
Enjoy these two simple videos I did recently for 2 songs off the album – ‘Te Amo’ and “Jiji Moji’
Jiji Moji (I’m awake) is a song to start the day off right, thanking God for life. Take time during the rush of the holidays to enjoy the things in life that really matter.
Te Amo (I love you) – Let the message and power of love latch on to your heart and soul.
Love, Peace and Beautiful Afro Music,
P.S — ✿CHRISTMAS SALE SPECIAL✿ Full Digital Discography On Sale Get all 4 ✿ TOSINGER ✿ releases available on Bandcamp and save 25%. Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Organically Singing, Aeroplane, Ile, Ise Oluwa & Aye, and One Day. Buy Now $9 USD or more (25% OFF) https://tosinger.bandcamp.com
Loving the social campaign integrated as a marketing effort by the fashion retail site ‘The Limited’ tagged ‘The New Look of Leadership’. Brands are now developing ways to connect on the “real human” level with potential consumers/clients. Thanks to the new media age for making this easier and more effective.
TheLimited.com put together a selection of women from different fields, expressing a message of the perception of what #LeadingLooksLike :
Leading is a way of approaching life–and in today’s world, there are infinite shapes it can take. It’s time the definition fit them all. So we’re calling on leaders of all types to help build a vibrant community of inspirational women. Together, we will re-create the picture of empowerment to reflect the authentic, modern leaders we see every day—answering the question, “What does leading look like?” with you. And her. And us.THE POSSIBILITIES ARE UNLIMITED.
Click Play: : Watch the Video
In other news, my social media feed has recently been saturated with lovely & delectable designs from the just concluded Lagos Fashion & Design Week which took place towards the end of October, 2015. LFDW is a premiere fashion event which brings together media, industry, buyers and consumers to view the current collections of designers in Nigeria, West Africa.
For the past 5 years, LFDW has remained dedicated to the growth and promotion of creatives in the industry by nurturing, fine tuning, rewarding their skills and providing them with a solid platform for achieving their goals.
This vision is primarily centered on providing on-going support to designers via mentor ship, education and capacity building as well as opportunities to present their work before an audience that facilitates commerce.
And as is my custom with fashion weeks, here’s my 7 favorite designer selections from the showcases at the Heineken LFDW2015. All photos are via LFDW (Follow at @LFDW_NG) Photo Credits: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna).
The use of a denim pant as gele is such an eclectic idea. I love the unusual and this is such a welcoming one, something I would do. Brilliant!
LANRE DA SILVA AJAYI
The headpiece, the flow of the fabric!
The mustard color, the styling..
The work of an artist friend Laolu Senbanjo was incorporated in this fabric design. Kudos!
The simplicity, the flow, the vibrancy, the fabric texture combos.
The bohemian look :), the vintage feel, the nudes..
The girliness, the playfulness, the cuteness..
Last, but not least
The Art, the artsy backdrop..this is not just fashion, this is art on canvas.. very eclectic!
These are my personal preferences and in no way serve as an endorsement out of the about 25 designers who showcased at the event, check out the other designers to see their work.
Beautifully Dreaming…Positively Doing!
Organically Singing the album, now available for download here!
Today marks 55 years of when Nigeria broke free from colonial rule. We may not be there yet but we are on our way. Even Google cannot resist celebrating Africa’s most populous nation and has this to say:
Via Google —A country of enormous diversity where over 500 languages are spoken, Nigeria is home to Africa’s largest population and a dizzying array of ancient cultural traditions. Drawing inspiration from the Nigerian coat of arms, today’s Doodle features the mighty Niger and Benue rivers that wind across the country’s fertile plains before merging and flowing into the Atlantic. Symbolic of resoluteness and strength, an eagle cuts across a vast Nigerian sky at the center of today’s logo, which Doodler Robinson Wood has washed in the colors of the Nigerian flag.
And here is my rendition of loyalty to my home country, Nigeria’s National Anthem as performed on Periscope
As a diasporan, I echo the words of Yetunde Shorters, the Afropolitan Chef:
“Happy Nigerian Independence. 55 years ago Nigeria got her liberation from the British Empire. I commend our journey, let’s remember that we still have a long way to go. Take pride in our culture as we evolve to a new generation. As a second generation Nigerian American, my perspective is influenced by nations, our collective history: including, Nigerian slaves brought to the world, their successes and challenges and my experience. This much I know, whether I like it or not, every time I step out of my personal space, I am clear that I represent a people and I hold that representation to high esteem. I look forward to doing my part to inspire and empower my people Nigerian and American. Let’s remember that freedom has to be taken. It is never given. Cheers”
This blog brings you the best and latest of African talent and art; on the continent and in the diaspora. Here are 3 movie finds that would be worth checking out-
Popular Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, on Thursday in a press conference unveiled the full details of his next movie, The CEO. The film showcases a cross-selection of African & international cast and crew members with diverse talents and backgrounds.
The cast includes Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, entertainer and activist from Benin, Angélique Kidjo; Haitan actor and model Jimmy Jean-Louis, best known for his role as The Haitan on the NBC television series Heroes; actor and founder of the New Nigeria Cinema movement, Wale Ojo; French-Ivorian actress and model, Aurelie Eliam; South African actor and presenter, Nicolaos Panagiotopoulos; Nigerian actress, Kemi Lala Akindoju; Moroccan star, Fatym Layachi; Kenyan actor Peter King, and Nigerian actress, Hilda Dokubo among others.
Synopsis – The CEO tells the story of TransWire Communications, a global phone network with major operation in Nigeria. The CEO, an expatriate, has retired; hence the Global Chairman has decided to send five nominees among his most senior-level staff across Africa on a leadership course in order to determine which one to appoint as the new CEO of Nigeria. The process that started relatively smoothly suddenly climaxed in a game of an intriguing death.
(Trailer not yet released) To stay updated, follow on Facebook here or follow the hashtag #theceomovie on social media
Hot off its selection for the 2015 BFI London Film Festival, EbonyLife Films today released the official trailer for its highly acclaimed feature film, Fifty. The movie stars Ireti Doyle, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, Omoni Oboli and Nse Ikpe-Etim.
Directed by Biyi Bandele and executively produced by Mo Abudu, FIFTY, captures a few pivotal days in the lives of four Nigerian women at the pinnacle of their careers. Tola, Elizabeth, Maria and Kate are forced at midlife to take inventory of their personal lives, while juggling careers and family against the sprawling backdrops of the upper middle-class neighbourhoods of Lagos.
The trailer is a sneak peek into this tender but unflinching exploration of love and lust, power and rivalry, life and loss in twenty-first century Lagos. The four lead characters, six-inch heels, partying hard and loving strong, with courage and fortitude, navigate life’s unending curveballs.
Fifty will premiere in a special grand Lagos ceremony on the 13th of December 2015 at The Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos and will be released in cinemas nationwide on the 18th of December 2015.
The powerful new film starring Idris Elba recently had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and will screen at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, and London Film Festival. Beasts of No Nation, A Netflix Original Film.
Synopsis – When civil war tears his family apart, a young West African boy is forced to join a unit of mercenary fighters and transform into a child soldier. Available in select theaters and on Netflix October 16.
Written and directed by Emmy Award winner Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective,” Sin Nombre) and starring Golden Globe winner Idris Elba (“Luther,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Beasts of No Nation will debut Friday, October 16, 2015, the same day in Landmark theatres in the U.S. and worldwide on Netflix in all territories where the world’s leading Internet TV network is available.
Beasts of No Nation is based on the highly-acclaimed novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, bringing to life the gripping tale of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country. Newcomer Abraham Attah gives a stunning portrayal of Agu, while Elba dominates the screen in the role of Commandant, a warlord who takes in Agu and instructs him in the ways of war.
The film is produced by Amy Kaufman and Cary Fukunaga (who previously worked together on Sin Nombre), Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker and Dan Crown for Red Crown Productions, along with Elba. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King are executive producers for Participant Media; Donna Gigliotti is executive producer for Levantine Films; Elizabeth Koch and Kristina Kendall are executive producers for New Balloon; and Bill Benenson, Laura Bickford and Todd Courtney are also executive producers.
Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing
Organically Singing the new album, click here to download and sign up for updates
Tempting Fate, the Movie, comes to African (Nigerian + Ghanaian) Cinemas on July 17, 2015. Directed By US Based Nigerian Filmmaker Kevin Nwankwor of KevSTel Group and Theatrical Distribution for West Africa handled by Silverbird Distribution Company, Tempting Fate is a ‘Hollywood meets Nollywood’ riveting film that will keep you on the edge of your seat, scene by scene. Starring RAMSEY NOUAH as UGO and ANDREW ONOCHIE as EDU , two brothers, one of deep faith and the other buried in a life of crime who have their worlds torn apart when the wrong one goes to jail and the other commits an unforgivable act.
Two brothers share the same blood but walk parallel paths. Tempting Fate is the story of two brothers ; Edu and his older brother Ugo Okoye. Edu is a talented singer, he is calm, reflective and peaceful. He relies on his spirituality and the love of his wonderful girlfriend Tracey to help him combat a life threatening illness.
On the other hand, Ugo is hotheaded, impulsive and at times menacing. He finds himself wrapped in a life of robbery and crime which he knows will lead him down a path of destruction but it’s not an easy one to leave; a point his gang leader Scorpion (Dan Davies) has made clear. In an attempt to get money for a lifesaving procedure for his brother, Ugo triggers a chain of events that sends their worlds clashing, leaving behind a trail of hurts , deception and betrayal. Does the walker choose the path or the path the walker ?
Watch the Trailer below
About Kevin Nwakwor
Kevin Nkem Nwankwor (KNN) has had a passion for film throughout his life. Born in Issele-Uku Nigeria, he has made persistent steps toward his dream of becoming an accomplished filmmaker, first writing plays for the children and adult ministries of his local church, while leading its drama group.
While he studied Project Management and ultimately earned a
Bachelor of Science degree from the Federal University of Technology (2000), the passion still burned brightly to make films and provide entertainment. While in college, he formed its first Christian drama troupe, The Heavenly Theater (also known as The Thevites), and wrote and directed such plays as “In The Den of Agbalakwem” I and II (1996) and “Ashes of Regret” (1998). Kevin also toured with his troupe around universities throughout the East of Nigeria.
Before graduation, he went on to star in Nollywood movies “Enemies” (1997) and “Heartless” (1997) with veteran actors Kanayo O Kanayo, Saint Obi and Eucharia Anunobi. He also created and produced live comedy show “Comedy Half Hour,” hosted on NTA Channel 5 Abuja.
In 2008, after relocating to Atlanta, Kevin earned an MBA degree in Marketing (2010). This was the next step toward his dream of becoming a well-rounded filmmaker. Two years later, he obtained a Masters of Fine Art in Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy. Today, that experience has led to the successful production a number of film works that showcase his faith with stories that move the soul. Kevin served as writer, producer and director for shorts films “Enemy Within” (2012) and “A Mother’s Love” (2012). The latter-based on a true-life event-was an official selection at Georgia’s Gwinnett Film Festival (July 2013) and Spain’s Marbella Film Festival (October 2013). His most current work is “Tempting Fate”
In addition, Kevin is CEO of faith-based entertainment company KevStel Group LLC, in Atlanta, where he resides with his wife Unoma, and their two children. The company’s mission is to provide quality content based on faith, hope and love through visuals and print.
Afrodreamfest has come and gone but the glorious aftermath still linger in the hearts and souls of the attendees . Afrodreamfest, a touring concert to celebrate African Liberation Day ( #AfricaDay May 25) and promote upcoming talented neo~afro fusion artists in the diaspora took place this year (May 22 at Meridian 23 and May 23 at Silvana Harlem) in the vibrant city that never sleeps – New York City. It featured an eclectic line up of artists including myself (Afrosoul), Ayanbinrin – the female talking drummer (Afrofolk), Ogasilachi (AfroRnB), Eli Fola (AfroJazz), Laolu and The Afromysterics (Afrobeat), Aduke (Afrosoul) and bonus features Afro pop artistes – Ayo In Motion and Na!ra. To promote the event, you can also watch my Sahara radio interview with the Humble Prince here
Below is a heartfelt review by International Journalist Adanma Odefa in the selfie below 🙂
Afrodreamfest Experience in New York City
When a friend of mine told me about the Afrodreamfest in New York City, my first reaction was, ‘I might as well have an adventure, I’ve got nothing else to do!’. So I packed up and went to New York City from Washington DC not really expecting much. Although I had been in New York previously, the city didn’t fail in keeping me on my toes. Finally, we made it to Chelsea where the concert was holding.
My first thought was, ‘wow! What strong vocals! What powerful lyrics! What artistic sincerity!‘. This was the reaction the young lady Aduke evoked when she sang. Reeling from that, I sailed through several other performances including the beautiful ‘Naira’ who struck me as sleek, chic and distinct with her rap style. Naira effortlessly executed a marriage of American rap culture and African uniqueness.
The icing on cake for me was Ayanbirin. She has such a presence on stage that depicts Africanism in a way that was almost tangible. I gawked in awe as she dominated every single person in the room. Her power was all the more enchanting with her backup drummer and sidekick. Day one ended with dancing and exhaustion. I went back to my lodgings wondering what day two would bring.
By the end of day two, I was glad it was a two-day event. I had missed some of the performances from day one so I got the experience of fresh excitement. It was on this day that I got the opportunity of falling under the musical enchantress’s spell. Tosinger endeared me with her beautiful all African costume and her lively stage presence. Day two icing on the cake for me was AyoInMotion. I am not trustful of my capacity to put into words the powerful emotions this artist invoked in me. He reached deep into my soul and pulled out all things African within me and left me feeling sad for those who are unable to claim African roots.
Altogether, Afrodreamfest was precisely a dreamy artistic romance with Africa. I look forward to the next one with a barely contained feverish excitement.
Adanma Odefa International Journalist, Voice of America.