Sunday, November 08, 2009

The 201st good thing about Lagos: A variety of cultural performances

We just returned from a really great classical concert performance by a wonderful soprano and a talented pianist. It was the final performance of the Muson (Musical Society of Nigeria) Centre and the musicians were flown in from Great Britain. It just filled my soul to hear some really fine music performed well -- that level of performance is something that I miss from my life in Houston. In the past couple of weeks I have had opportunity to hear a different variety of musical performances, and I've enjoyed them as well. Last Sunday I went to a choral concert with the Muson choir, orchestra and soloists singing works of Handel and Haydn. And the Friday previous to that, we attended a performance of indigenous social dance and music featuring the Ilaje people of Nigeria. The Ilajes live in areas where there is water, building their homes on stilts over water, and making their living by fishing. The performance was called Ajo, (The Journey) and highlighted a man's life cycle.

These women served as the visual narrators, dancing away the passage of time between scenes.
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A young man wooed a young woman, presenting her with a flower.


They danced the beginning of their life together...
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and then celebrated the birth of a child (and they used a real baby here, which slept peacefully through all the dancing).
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There were dancing scenes of work and fishing.

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The baby grew up and eventually there was another marriage scene.

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And finally, a death scene. It actually was a much more cohesive performance than my video here show, and they had a little slide show to help tell the story with projected pictures. Pretty high-tech for Lagos!

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Another performance of a different variety that we enjoyed was courtesy of the Goethe Institute. They have a peaceful setting right by the water and we enjoyed listening to a German reggae musician known as Jahcoustix. He was quite a talented guy with a good band and I really enjoyed his music.

So, yes, I have very eclectic tastes in music and I'm always very happy when I have an opportunity to indulge them here in Lagos -- it seems like it's feast or famine here, so I'm likely in for a dearth of concert opportunities for awhile. In this next clip. the dread-locked Jahcoustix is singing reggae in Arabic -- he also sang in German as well as English -- this concert was an eclectic mix all by itself!

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