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?
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”
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.
Ongoing for three years now, AfroDreamFest is an annual touring concert that celebrates and promotes neo afro-fusion artists/genres of music from the African continent in the diaspora to commemorate African Liberation Day. (May 25) . Previous ones were held in Atlanta and Houston and it is coming to NYC this year. For more about Afrodreamfest see – www.afrodreamfest.com
As the convener, I wanted to see a platform for afro-indie artists in the diaspora who make meaningful good music to come together and share a stage, it has been a journey and an ongoing one as the event continues to brand itself in the afro~diaspora traveling across select cities across America. As years go by, the hope is to have interested sponsors push it to a wider reach on a bigger stage with larger audiences who appreciate the afro fusion music these talented artists are putting out. Performing in New York on May 22 at world music venues Meridian 23 on Friday May 22 and on Saturday May 23 at Silvana respectively are Brooklyn based Afrobeat band ‘Laolu and The Afromysterics’, myself, Afrosoul/folk/acoustic music ‘Tosinger’, AfroRnB artist ‘Ogasilachi‘ , Afro Jazz Artist ‘Eli Fola’ and from Nigeria, Ayanbinrin- Africa’s foremost female Talking Drummer and a guest artist from Nigeria, afrosoul artist Aduke. Tickets are available online at $10 and will be $15 at the door. Doors open at 7.30pm and show starts 8pm till 11ish on both days. See you there if you are in New York, great way to spend the memorial day weekend holiday and enjoy/support good music. ~https://afrodreamfestnyc2015.eventbrite.com ~
Here’s a glimpse of what you will experience live.
Juju Girl is a Short Film/Music Video set in 1960s Ghana from the latest project titled D I A S P O R A D I C A L the EP by the eclectic Afrocentric hip hop artist, Blitz the Ambassador coming out this April. I have for a while now, admired Blitz’s brand and music and the way he so effortlessly fuses and delivers his talent in a musically idiosyncratic manner. You can tell he knows and cares not just about the chops but also the message. Lyrically and musically on point. Excellence. And his passion for the continent is infectious. Tops in my books. Here’s two of my favorites from him.
Blitz is the conveyor of the Afrotronic-hop. A hip hop ambassador of African culture in the diaspora.
Samuel Bazawule known by the stage name Blitz the Ambassador, is a Ghanaian-American hip-hop artist and visual artist based in Brooklyn, USA. Samuel Bazawule was born in Accra, Ghana in April 1982. He is the third of four children and attended the renowned Achimota School. While in school he amassed awards for his visual art, but later developed an obsession with hip hop music after hearing his older brother play the classic Public Enemy album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Drawing on his love for history and social observation, he began to research and write historically-loaded rhymes for which he became famous in school.
Blitz (as he had come to be known) was first recognized by Ghanaian Ace producer Hammer of The Last Two. Blitz was asked to come to the studio the next day after delivering an impressive eight bars upon meeting Hammer, who wasted no time in putting him on wax. He recorded a verse on the song Deeba and – in the fashion of one of his idols, Nas, gained instant notoriety and received an award for best new artist at the 2000 Ghana Music Awards. Soon after, in 2001, he moved to the USA to study at Kent State University in Ohio. It was while studying for his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration that he developed his skills as a live artist, performing at several live shows and opening for iconic rappers such as Rakim as well as recording a self-released album, Soul Rebel (2004), under the moniker Blitz.
After graduation, Blitz moved to New York City to pursue his dream. In NYC, Blitz recorded another album, Double Consciousness (2005), discography after this includes 2009: StereoLive EP and in 2013: The Warm Up EP. Studio Albums: 2009: Stereotype, 2011: Native Sun, 2014: Afropolitan Dreams and more recently a 2015: Diasporadical EP. Drawing from his diverse musical background, he immersed himself in the project with explicit intent of changing Hip Hop forever. …via wiki
Blitz the Ambassador live in Switzerland (Full Show)
With a vision that embraces his personal West African past and a revolutionary future of Afropolitan cross-pollination, Blitz the Ambassador meshes African popular sounds, American vintage soul, and hard-hitting beats and lyrics with the help of an international cast of collaborators, including the elegant Angelique Kidjo and Afrobeat firebrand Seun Kuti.
But as always with Blitz, the album is about far more than the music. It’s about the Immigrants who made America, who shaped and molded it. Each person, each generation, each bearer of culture arriving on a boat or airplane has made an impression. Immigration is the chain that links the past to the present, the near to the seemingly far…Via his site for more info.
Stay tuned for more news on the forthcoming Diasporadical EP (released on Jakarta Records) on Blitz The Ambassador’s page.
LagosPhoto Festival is the first and only International Photography Festival in Nigeria. LagosPhoto is on the lookout for photographers working in Africa and from the African Diaspora telling unique and interesting stories.
send 5 low res images (preferably from one project), project synopsis, your CV+ bio + date of birth to: firstname.lastname@example.org The subject line: Talent Call_your name
Submission policy: Due to the high volume of submissions, they will contact you if they are interested in working with you. They are interested in all genres of photography. Get in touch!
Launched in 2010, LagosPhoto is the first and only international arts festival of photography in Nigeria. In a month long festival, events include exhibitions, workshops, artist presentations, discussions and large scale outdoor prints displayed throughout the city with the aim of reclaiming public spaces and engaging the general public with multifaceted stories of Africa. LagosPhoto aims to establish a community for contemporary photography which will unite local and international artists through images that encapsulate individual experiences and identities from across all of Africa. LagosPhoto presents and educates about photography as it is embodied in the exploration of historical and contemporary issues, the sharing of cultural practices, and the promotion of social programmes.
Ontario, Canada based multi-talented artist of Nigerian heritage, Komi Olafimihan’s unique conceptual work is beyond the ordinary. His work speaks of very detailed stories as he incorporates his architectural knowledge, artistic flair and mental depth to create masterpieces that are an expression of his ingenious mind, the astute creative that he is.
He says “Art is Life”…
About Komi Olaf – Artist – Poet – Architect
Komi Olaf is a visual artist and poet currently living in Toronto. As a master’s graduate of Carleton University’s School of Architecture, his training as an architect directly influences his draftsmanship and manipulation of light and space. His work is based primarily in acrylic and explores the dialogue created through the juxtaposition of images concepts and identities.
His works have been featured in shows at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the National Arts Center in Ottawa. He has also received several awards pertaining to his works including the Empowerment and Success Award presented by the then Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean in 2010 and the Student Award for excellence presented by the Canadian Architect Magazine in 2009.
Komi is a strong believer in the synonyms that exists between images, philosophies and concepts.
My work is an extension of who I am. A direct representation of my character and experiences. While I was completing a Masters in Architecture, I developed a passion for both painting and poetry and I have been on a mission to fuse these three elements ever since.
Drawing from the various skills and techniques I have been acquiring over the years, I strive to create unique, inspirational and original work that captures the history of African people and the mind-set of the younger generation. As a Canadian immigrant and a Nigerian in Diaspora, I tend to focus my art on the juxtaposition of unrelated images to produce new meaning. My personal experiences such as the religious conflicts plaguing Nigeria have also had an impact on the work I create.
Ultimately, I would love my work to offer insight into the thoughts of the new generation of artists emerging out of the Diaspora. I want to tell a different story with my work, one that captures the complexities of my African and Canadian heritage as well as sparks the conversations that can inspire change and build a bridge of unity.
I had previously spotlighted Siji when he released his single ‘Lagos Lullabye’ – see here and it’s a delight to see him get some mainstream press attention with the release of his latest single ‘Children of the sun’
Watch the video below of the Essence ‘New & Next’ interview and the unplugged performance with @jahstix on the acoustic guitar.
It gives me joy to write about Africans in the Diaspora who are talented and getting the well deserved attention for their excellent creative works. Multiple award winning and highly sought after Ghanaian fashion designer, Afua Sam is one on the spotlight in the fashion industry. The founder and brain behind STUDIO D’MAXSI, one of the fastest growing fashion houses based in Washington, DC. Unique, innovative, and edgy STUDIO D’MAXSI, creates masterpieces for the chic, bold and funky modern woman. Born to a family of six, remarkably self-taught Afua draws her creative artistic inspiration from her late father who was a touring musician and her rich Ghanaian culture. Having come from a poor and humble background, Afua’s journey in fashion and design started in Ghana, West Africa and continued after she relocated to the USA. Despite hardships and personal life challenges she faced growing up and also later in life , fashion designing was the only thing that kept her going.
STUDIO D’MAXSI ‘s first collection was in 2007 for DC Fashion week; numerous fashion shows followed, charity based ones like Fashion Fight Poverty, Steps To The Cure, Fashion Fusion, Fashion For World Peace, others like the New York African Fashion Week, Golden Scissors Awards Show, among numerous others and recently ‘Runway For Moms’ just to name a few.
Here I am in one of her designs – 🙂
The ‘Fashion Designer of the Year’ ( 2nd Annual African Awards USA) award winner is also passionate about giving back and empowering young women through her Foundation – Operation Prom. ‘Operation Prom’ is a competition open to academically excellent high school female students who will get a custom made prom dress. Her clientele include Jamie Foster Brown, Grammy nominated Artist Carolyn Malachi, Glynn Jackson of the Golden Scissors Awards Show, Abiodun Koya Opera Singer, Miss Ghana Universe , Miss China America First Runner Up, Miss Maryland, Miss Black USA DC among others . For more info on STUDIO D’MAXSI, visit http://www.studiodmaxsi.com/
Afua says “My message through my fashion brand is “Be As Bold As You Can Be But Very Chic And Sexy At The Same Time” Afua believes her life’s story is a perfect example of what can happen when one is not afraid to go after their dreams no matter how poor or disadvantaged they may be. She believes “you don’t have to be rich to help anybody. As long as you have a voice and a will, you can have an impact on someone’s life. You don’t have to be somebody’ in order to make a difference”
Directed and Written by Elaine Mensah of SVELTE LLC, ‘The Politics of Fashion: DC UNBOXED’ is DC’s first ever fashion documentary, a film that takes you on a journey from the perception of DC fashion by the outside world, through its evolution in retail, style, and business, to the debate about whether or not DC fashion is heading towards a true industry or is just a fashionable city. It opens in AMC Theaters in Friendship Heights, DC on June 3, 2014. For more information, visit http://thepoliticsoffashion.com/
The Politics of Fashion: DC UNBOXED hosts other nationally recognized cast, including Pulitzer winning fashion writer & critic Robin Givhan, runway coach extraordinaire Miss J Alexander, Washiontonian Magazine fashion editor Kate Bennett, Gilt City DC senior curator Marissa Schneider, Bloomingdale’s Operating Vice President & GM Susan Cannaday and many more. See the full cast list on IMDb.