505050: A Jazz Festival to Remember

505050: A Jazz Festival to Remember

Recently, music lovers were treated to an unforgettable experience at the 2017 Lagos International Jazz Festival (LIJF), themed 505050JAZZ [email protected] Special Edition, to commemorate Lagos’ 50th anniversary. Held at Freedom Park, it was certainly an unforgettable experience as they were thrilled to live jazz music from 50 artistes.

Afrocentric Musician Elfreda Performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

Organised in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, by Inspiro Productions, the three-day festival coincided with the end of the Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). Prior to the main festival, three session events and three empowerment workshops were conducted at various venues in the city including the SPAN Academy of Jazz & Contemporary Music, the posh Renaissance Hotel, GRA Ikeja, Southpaw Lounge Gbagada, and at Industry Nite at Spice Route in Victoria Island, Lagos. This year the festival committed to raising funds to support two charities namely the Down Syndrome Nigeria Foundation and Sesor Foundation for Internally Displaced Persons.

Afro gospel singer Kenny Kore performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

The festival started off with jazz and jazz related artistes like; master percussionist Samson Iroko; fellow of the London School of Music and saxophonist Olumide Shobowale; soft rock and alternative music guitarist Nathmac; Piano Duke; master bassists duo D-Bass and Joshua Fashina (Agbar Joshu); Ajaga Master Ade Piper; Clintonic the violinist; Celeste; Wole Jesutomi; and trumpeter Jesse Ibidun.

Multi percussionist Aje Band performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

Day two of the festival was even more electrifying with artistes like; Afro Gospel sensation Kenny Kore; ace saxophonist Dotun Dina; Afro-highlife trombonist Femi Slide; Nathan; Oluchi; multiple percussionist Aje Band; and saxophonist Justin Ige.

Bright Gain featuring Jojo Body Beats performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

The grand finale was the best day of all, with live performances that wore well into the early hours of the morning. It featured a unique selection of artistes including; the Organic Jazz Band; Bass Master Bright Gain and Jojo Body Beats; Afrocentric musician Elfreda; Afrobeat highlife multi-instrumentalist Seun Olota; KenBaze;  Damilare Sax; Afro-jazz highlife guitarist Adeh; and the delectable Moyeen. The audience went wild and sang along when popular fuji musician Obesere mounted the stage before midnight, dishing hits from his expansive repertoire. The event ended in spectacular fashion with fuji star Malaika and his orchestra of African percussions among other brilliant acts.

Fuji icon Malaika performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

When asked about the inclusion of fuji artistes in this year’s lineup, festival director and Lagos International Jazz Festival (LIJF) founder Ayoola Sadare said “we decided to look inwards to recognise and honour our own indigenous music and musicians that are making a mark no matter the genre. The likes of fuji, apala, sakara, juju, Afrobeat, highlife and others are our own jazz or what we have termed “Naijajazz”. Other countries celebrate their musicians on their stages and we shouldn’t be the exception.” Sadare further stated “as a tourism-based international event, we are developing a tourism and cultural offering that visitors can’t get anywhere in the world except on our stage.

Paramount King of Fuji Obesere performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

As the festival progresses hereafter, we hope to be able to add more of our rich cultural and indigenous genres from all parts of the country to the offering so that international patrons who should form large parts of our audience can experience and enjoy our own blend of contemporary indigenous music. The jazz component will not be removed but complemented with these various genres. It’s dynamic, innovative and of course relevant. It also allows the music to reach other audiences that it would not normally get to. Many collaborations and partnerships have already been formed from this festival and we are satisfied”.

Tosin Aribisala performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

Helping Hands International, PMAN, Freedom Park, Megapluxglobal, Configure systems, Efizzi worldwide and Ultrasight proudly supported the Lagos @ 50 Special Edition of The Lagos LIJF. Media partners include Omenka Smooth98.1FM, Women’s FM, Metro FM, Radio One and Top Radio.

Naijazz Highlife Trombonist Femislide and his Band performing at the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2017, [email protected]

Oyindamola Olaniyan holds a B.sc in Botany from Lagos State University. Broadly experienced in this area, her core expertise includes social media management, content development and brand identity.


  1. This article aptly covers the festival. Well done!

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