The Lagos International Jazz Festival was held on April 30 as part of events marking this year’s International Jazz Day. But how can the genre – which remains predominantly American – compete with other musical genres in a country where Afrobeats reigns supreme?
Music lovers gathered at the Bay Lounge in Lekki, Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria on Saturday, where they were treated to the contemporary sound of jazz. The Lagos International Jazz Festival was held as part of events marking this year’s International Jazz Day, celebrated on April 30.
Nigerian flautist, Tee Mac Omatshola, believes that jazz is a genre that has a future in the country despite the importance of Afrobeats: “Jazz music is a sophisticated art form for music lovers. It is played by professionals for music lovers, for those who sit down and listen to the beauty of music.“
He’s not the only artist to think so, Michael Ikhifa sees a bright future for jazz in Nigeria: “Jazz in Nigeria as a genre is growing in earnest, not everyone likes jazz performance especially in Nigeria. But thank goodness a lot of people are starting to understand what it really means to be a jazz musician..”
Promoting the West African roots of jazz
Founder of the Lagos International Jazz Festival, Ayoola Sadare is one of those who promote this kind of music in this West African country.
“Music is universal,Ayoola Sadare explains. “Sometimes you play music, it’s not in English […]It’s a language in its own right and it brings people from diverse backgrounds and landscapes to sing, to communicate,” Sadare added.
While most viewers found the music exciting, some had a different impression of it.
“I love jazz and it’s super cool and relaxing, said Laurence Brasseur Lonqueu to our correspondent David Taylor. “But, what I’ve heard so far, well, I wouldn’t say it’s very jazzy. It sounds more rock, more pop, but after that, it’s fine. I love it, we are outdoors, we have a good time, I hope a lot of people came! “
The Lagos Jazz Festival attracts jazz musicians from all over the world and offers local players the opportunity to learn more and improve their craft.
Although the genre remains American, jazz lovers in Lagos continue to celebrate its West African roots.