The marriage between poetry and music got consummated in Lagos recently, when journalist-poet, Akeem Lasisi,
The marriage between poetry and music got consummated in Lagos recently, when journalist-poet, Akeem Lasisi, presented Wonderland, his latest work, writes GBENGA ADENIJI
Oral poetry came alive recently when arts writers, dramatists, authors, dancers, singers and movie producers trooped out for the public presentation of Wonderland, the latest album of poet-journalist, Akeem Lasisi.
The album, a fusion of poetry and music, is the third from the award-winning poet whose oral poetry performance has continued to improve like an old wine at every sip.
Many of the performances done at 1960 Hotel, Ikeja, venue of the event, not only impressed the audience but they also won new converts for poetry. And for the Ibadan, Oyo State-born raconteur, who has won the prestigious Association of Nigerian Authors/CADBURY Poetry twice, it was indeed a day to remember as many attested to the enthralling power of a poetry well performed.
The event witnessed a big boost with the presence of guests ranging from celebrated cinematographer, Tunde Kelani; veteran journalist, Eddie Aderinokun; folk artiste, Segun Akinlolu (Beautiful Nubia), culture advocate, founder of the Foxhole Writers’ Centre, Ben Tomoloju.
Others are festival marketer and Chief Executive Officer of Infogem Ltd., Mr. Ayo Olumoko; Founder of Omolayo Gallery, Mr. Biodun Omolayo; writer and engineer, Pa Omo Uwaifo, columnist, Olakunle Abimbola; copyright lawyer, Akeem Aponmode, Lagos-based accountant, Abdul Hamzat and a teacher and book editor, Mr. Sunday Oluyole. So also were publisher of E-24/7, Biodun Kupoluyi; publicist, Tope Ajayi; publisher of M2, and proprietor of 1960 Hotel, Mr. Akin Adeoya; writers such as Mobolaji Adenubi, Ebi Akpeti, Toni Kan, Jumoke Verissimo, Funmi Aluko, Chike Ofili and filmmakers Aishat and Kabirat Kafidipe.
But Lasisi and his allies also successfully beckoned to the old as the Founder of Omoba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Arts Foundation, Prince Yemisi Shyllon; the Proprietor of Victory Group of Schools, Chief Francis Olaniyan; and Director, Providence Heights School, Mr. Ademola Oduyemi, also rose to celebrate with the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife-trained journartis, who is the Head of Feature Desk at THE PUNCH.
Poet and journalist, Evelyn Osagie, opened the performance with her ‘Voyage to Wonderland’, dedicated to the host. Applause rend the air as Lasisi, alongside Ropo Ewenla, who was also the compere, and Edaoto Agbeniyi joined forces to perform ‘Pareke’, one of the hit tracks in the album.
The poet in Lasisi emerged as he punctuated the performance with an accompanying poem titled ‘Correct Pricing, which interrogates the planned fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government and lays bare the double-talk and insincerity associated with the idea. When it was the turn of veterinary medical doctor-turned singer, Nubia, to perform, it was clear that the event was ready for an explosion. Singing ‘Owuro Lojo’ and ‘What a Feeling’ from his chart-bursting album, ‘Jangbalajugbu’, the audience was elated and joined in the ecstasy.
Lasisi later showed all that his inspiration is continually drawn from oral forms like Ijala, Esa Egungun, Iremoje and Ekun Iyawo when he chanted Ijala with Ewenla before performing ‘Asabi Alakara’. But the climax of the show was the performance of Eleleture, the track that takes love poetry to an intoxicating height.
Here, inspiring actress, Kabirat (Arapa-re-gangan of the Saworoide fame), was part of the performance – dancing and rolling with Lasisi, who conquered her heart with the power of the poem titled Not a Small World.
The bata and atilogwu dance displayed by six-year-old Segun Soyebo, son of the founder of Edun Productions, drew great attention to the beauty of Yoruba culture.
There was also a moment of reflection when the trio of Lasisi, Ewenla and Edaoto, sang, ‘Erin Karele’, a track in memory of the late Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige.
The chief presenter and leading art collector, Omoba Yemisi Shyllon, said he never knew the poetic side of Lasisi until he saw him perform at the literary feats organised for the late GTbank boss, Tayo Aderinokun.
He says, "I was struck by the poetic power of Lasisi. I was stunned when he got on stage." He further spoke on the need to make use of one’s talents and to encourage people who engage in functional music.