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VOL 1 ISSUE 1 2010

M AG A Z I N E Fabulous. African. Black.


The return




N500 • £3.00 • $4.60 • R26

of the



M AG A Z I N E Fabulous. Afr ican. Black. PUBLISHER Familusi Babajide Akin EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo GENERAL MANAGER Nicola Odeku PA TO THE EDITOR Damilola Olaleye CREATIVE DIRECTOR Suby GRAPHIC DESIGNER/ ILLUSTRATOR Remi (Mista Skee) Abudu PHOTO RETOUCHERS Suby/Marcin Janskowski FASHION EDITOR Yoanna Pepper Okwesa FASHION DIRECTOR Tayo Sonekan BEAUTY&GROMING EDITOR Lola Maja DISTRIBUTION CONSULTANT PeterPaul Aipoh CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Dayo Adegoke, Isabella E.C. Akinseye, MB AkinyemiI, Lloyd Alara, Chidi Eke, Oseyi Ikuenobe, Harriet Khanaga, Imelda Ladebo, Fade Ogunro, Ademola Ogundele, Tolu Ogunlesi, Temitayo Olofinlua, Bayo Omisore, Kemi Tade, Bobby Taylor, Wana Udobang, Pip McCormac CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Toni Adefuye, Barrett Akpokabayen, Aisha Augie-Kuta, Jide Alakija, Yetunde Babaeko, Andrew Esiebo, Akin Folape, Jean Pierre Nakpane, Frank Nsoedo, George Osodi, Ada Emihe, Jake Fitzjones, Suby&Sinem


M AG A Z I N E Fabulous. Afr ican. Black.





The return of the


Music Reviews 12 FAB Movies 15 FAB Culture 16 FAB Reads 17 FAB Theatre 18 FAB Fashion 21-22 FAB Exclusive 99-103




MUSIC ISSUE eLDee Cover illustration: Mista Skee


eLDee: The Return of the Don 42-46


FAB Style Steal: Taio Cruz 25 Catwalk Trends 26-27 Hitting the Right Notes 28-41







FAB Blackberry chats May7ven 22-23 My FAB Life: Lemar 48-49 ‘The Revolutionary’: Fela Kuti 50-53 Seal: Funk Soul Brother 54-55 Movers and Shakers of Nigerian Music 56-57 ‘The Artist’: Lemi Ghariokwu 58-61 My FAB Life: Wanlov the Kubolor 62-63 Lyrically Fit Music? 64-64 ‘The Entertainer’: D’Banj 66-68 24-Hour Party People of Lagos 98-99


The Art of Living FAB 71 FAB Estates 72-73 FAB Ride 74 FAB Gadgets 77 FAB Finance 78 FAB Health 79 FAB Fitness 80-81 FAB Relationships 82 FAB Scents 83 FAB Grooming 84-85 FAB Dining 94-95


Into the Gambia 86-89 My FAB Travels: Steve Babaeko 90 My FAB City: Obi Asika’s Lagos 92



Tel: 0702 841 5331 • Tel: 0702 910 4311 • Web:

© Remi “Mista Skee” Abudu 2010

r e t t e L



ecember 2009. Heathrow. As I wait to board my plane for Lagos, I am watching a little girl sliding on the polished floor; running from a distance to fling herself on the floor and go further at each try. My initial thought is why would anyone let her slide on polished floors unsupervised, in the middle of a crowded airport lounge? My second thought, within seconds, is how with each slide, she is striving to go further than the last one… Human nature to constantly strive for better, faster, stronger; perfection, I muse. Fast-forward three months and back in London, signing off what has been a labour love: the very magazine you’re holding in your hands – FAB, which found life from a good idea nurtured into a great vision, that of creating a innovative, edgy, unique and unisex fashion and lifestyle magazine which spoke the language of a new generation of Nigerians who dare to think outside the box, a magazine by Africans for Africans, a vibrant showcase and celebration of Africa and Nigeria at their best – Fabulous, African and Black. In this our first issue, we aimed high to bring you a concept never dared before, merging the worlds of music and fashion in exclusive photo shoots with some of the leading names in Nigerian music. Like us, over a decade ago, Nigerian music industry took baby steps towards becoming the million-dollar industry it is today. And the last few years have seen African fashion rise to worldwide recognition. As African music and fashion continue, at times shoulder to shoulder, to inspire the world, as FAB, we aim to be a part of the African Renaissance.

Last year’s MOBO Best African Act winner Nneka and nominee eLDee grace our covers and Nneka’s courageous criticism of the ills of this world and eLDee’s honourable stand with Light Up Nigeria are mere proof that socially conscious artists can make a difference to the world. While our resident writer Tolu Ogunlesi explores Fela Kuti’s musical and cultural legacy, Oseyi Ikuenobe has a look at the 20 movers and shakers of Nigerian music. We hit the Lagos clubs at Christmas, eat out with Wana Udobang and chat to Obi Asika about his hometown, Las Gidi. And let’s not forget our resident girl about town, Bobby Taylor giving us the scoop on what’s hip and happening. And many more pages packed full of catwalk trends, grooming and beauty tips and the latest on gadgets, we aim to take you on a thorough journey with diverse editorials, exquisite designs and breath-taking imagery. As we prepare to take baby steps into the world of fashion and publication, we aim to continue to strive for perfection with each step. We do hope you’ll enjoy your first step with us and stay around for many more. Stay FAB, Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo


Be the Man



By Appointment Only

IKOYI, LAGOS: +2341 873 4756 | MAITAMA, ABUJA: +2341 872 0236 | LONDON, UNIED KINGDOM: +44 755 101 7845


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© Remi “Mista Skee” Abudu 2010



EAKS P S On Music, Fashion and a Fabulous Mix

xactly ten years ago I met the Nigerian music industry - or did she meet me? Oh well, the fact still remains that there was a meeting. I sincerely have reservations about seemingly tooting my own horn but it has become imperative that I do this to buttress a point, which would have been worthless if I had no genuine romance with music business. I have observed the industry grow, metamorphosing into what was “our dream” only 10 years ago - the dream shared by everyone at Trybe Records, a record label with a vision of creating a new sound, one that was to start a new movement that was quickly tagged Afro-hip hop, the model with which Trybe Records ran its operations and one that has since been adopted by many in the quest for excellence at the heart of every action taken. In the meantime, Trybe artists of yonder years, like eLDee, Sasha, Sid and 2shotz, have weathered the storm and become phenomenal in the industry. Alongside record breakers like Kennis Music and Storm Records, Trybe Records was indeed a catalyst for desired growth in the industry paving the path for labels like Mo’ Hits Records and Chocolate City. From music production to

publishing and distribution, the label created a blueprint, albeit on a smaller scale at the time. The business of music distribution in Nigeria was as a result of the management of Trybe Records (eLDee and FAB – yes, yours truly ran the administrative and management arm of this label for 2 years after which another label was birthed) convincing the “Alaba” cartel (notorious for dealing pirated works of international artists) to deal local music. It is indeed exhilarating to see this dream become a monstrous reality, little or no recognition bestowed on the individuals involved. In 2003, Zionic Records, which I set up to cater to gospel artists, started its operations and quickly became a part of an international team that helped with putting together a compilation of the best gospel music from Nigeria. Working very closely with Inclusion Records, based in the United Kingdom, The NU Gospel Compilation was released and distributed this in Nigeria. In the same year, we got involved with DKG Music in Los Angeles to help with promotions, marketing, distribution and sales of the KUSH album, The Experience. In 2004 we signed on and released Dekunle Fuji’s, the sophomore album. In 2005, we got involved with Word Records in Tennessee and with their local agent promoted and distributed five of Jaci Velasquez’s albums in Nigeria.

I have an undiluted passion for music and fashion and ventured into designing in 2001. Exclamations Couture (my brand of clothing) has become an international brand with a local heritage. I have been publicised more for my efforts in fashion, a result of me leaving the music industry to single-mindedly pursue fashion till it becomes as established as the music industry and can run by itself. Four years since my break from music, I still long for a comeback. Having followed the happenings in the industry to date, I still maintain strong ties there but it is almost evident that I cannot run a career in music and fashion and deliver excellence on both fronts. And now I proudly present to you FAB Magazine, a quarterly magazine that intends to showcase all things Fabulous, African and Black. With an amazing team of perfectionists, our promise is to deliver the best in editorial content and imagery whilst delivering a true blend of fashion and lifestyle. It is time for the world to see Africa as what it truly is...totally FAB! You hold in your hands our first issue, a brilliant attempt at marrying music and fashion (seemingly in a bid to stay connected to my first love). We hope to set trends at FAB and who to showcase FAB better than some of our music celebrities? FABness is our word, our way, our lifestyle...Get with it. FAB





SHOW DEM CAMP Show Dem Camp made up of Wale ‘Tech’ Davies and Olumide ’Gho$t’ Ayeni are set to show and prove. The duo initially met at Coventry University when several mutual friends set them up in a rap battle back in 2000 after they realized Tech could rap. So they set him up in a battle against Ghost, the current ‘Battle King’ in Coventry University at the time; neither of them will admit who won that battle. Fast-forward to graduation from Coventry University in 2005, Gho$t moved to the States and Tech got a job in Amsterdam. Their dreams of being full time rappers and part time CEOs seemed to be going to nowhere. Fortunately, in 2008, the duo took a trip to Nigeria because one of their business ventures, Dojoes, was organising the ‘Tuface and Friends Tour powered by MTN’. During the tour, they mingled with Tuface, Sound Sultan, Naeto C and 9ice while also studying what the fans were responding to. “Gho$t is here, I am here– we can move back at the same time, this is the opportunity we have been waiting for the past couple of years” were his Tech’s exact thoughts. So they immediately started recording tracks and studying the industry. While at it, the duo noticed that they started conforming and compromising their music content. After this realization, SDC decided to take a short break from recording which eventually led to them


recording all new material strictly with their own sound, but they invited other folks to bring the Nigerian pop element to the songs. Their first single ‘Tell Me Nothing’ featuring Tajie has a very jazzy and soul feel to it which was received well by the hip-hop music lovers. However, the average music fan in Nigeria only recently heard it after the video was premiered on MTV Africa. Their follow up single ‘Yawa On the Dance Floor’ is a more radio friendly track and has accomplished what it was made for: dance floor catastrophe. Several radio stations and club Djs in Lagos and Abuja are giving it a lot of airtime. Next up is their single with M.I called ‘Dreamers’ and then their collaborative album The Dreamers which features Tuface, Nneka and MayD. Topping the charts is all good, but Show Dem Camp have a better ambition. “We want to be in the Outkast lane, not trying to compete with anyone else” says Tech “Move the Nigerian music Industry forward and upgrade the standards by videos, quality of music and collaboration”. Expect a second album from Show Dem Camp in 2010 called Memoirs.

BOY WONDER: WIZKID “Who is the guy singing?” was the question on most folks’ lips when they heard the very first word ‘Tobalowo’ on Mr Incredible’s ‘Fast Money Fast Cars’. Many were surprised to hear that it was a teenager crooner by the name of Wizkid. “I went to drop off stuff at M.I’s place on a Sunday morning and he just played the beat and said, ‘Wiz can you do something to this?’” recalls Wizkid who has been touring across the country more frequently after that feature. Now he is signed with Banky W who scooped him up based on the strength of his earlier work and two singles ‘You Fine’ and ‘Mamiwata’ which were posted on several websites. The teenage sensation knows his worth and believes in his ability. When you ask him where he is headed, his direct reply with no hesitation is “Wizkid is headed for the top, ain’t no stopping me!”



Sounds of

2010 By Ademola Ogundele

Banky W ft Naeto Naeto C, D’Banj, 9ice, eLDee and Muna – ‘Lagos Party’

Sound Sultan ft M.I – ‘2010 4/5’ This track leaked on 01/01/10. Sound Sultan must have been waiting patiently for 2010 to come as he indicated in the lyrics ‘When we ask out Government when dem go give us light? Dem say na 2010… we dan de wait 2010 since then, but now the waiting must ‘cause 2010 dan come.’ The song addresses the lack of constant electrical power in Nigeria. Sultan adds that he would like to be Moses but he fears what may happen to him as those who have tried that route in Nigeria are under the ground. This song may start a movement among Nigerians to demand light from PHCN. Although not your typical Nigerian pop track, you can hear a lot of Afrobeat elements, strong harmony along with strong lyrics that carry meaning. Towards the end, Sultan asks every Nigerian to bring out their “I pass my neighbour” (15k generators) and do this little exercise out loud ‘Shey Na Today Wey we dey wait, go buy candle go buy candle…’ and demands that the government ‘Light up Naija!’

Orleans/Cash Money (Mannie Fresh era) tune to it and Wizie laces it with simple lyrics to make it an all around party animal’s favorite track. In addition, ‘Holler at Ya Boy’ qualifies as a good cross over track, internationally. You may just start hearing it on American or Jamaican radios on your next holiday.

2face Idibia – ‘Implication’ After hearing this new track by Tuface, you will be convinced that he never went anywhere. The track starts off and remains fast paced which makes it easy to move and bob your head to. Tuface mixes three languages on the lyrics: his mother tongue Idoma alongside Tiv and English. The crux of the song is that if you are caught with someone who is in the middle of doing something, you can be implicated by their actions as Tuface sings “…As I follow the brother/ As he commit the disaster just because say I de there, I follow enter the yawa”… Very enjoyable track, recommended for driving and parties.

his unique flavor and immediately diversifies the sound with his delivery. Muna adds the feminine angle of what goes down in a true Lagos party as she spits ‘A party ain’t a party till I’m up in that party rocking Roberto Cavalli/ sippin champagne and Bacardi’. eLDee then adds his touch as he paints a picture of how he is going to spend his money in the club. On the last but not the least featured verse, 9ice aka Adigun mesmerizes us with his deep Yoruba lyrics neutralised with some English towards the end. The song owner, Banky W. decides to add a new verse at the very end as he tells us all his aliases ‘Mr No 1, Mr Capable, Mr Never Run, Mr I don’t give a damn where you haters come from, Mr Too Much Money Lapo.’ In other words, the crowd at a Lagos party seems to consist of sexy women and fresh men - ballers popping champagne bottles all night.

Proto ft eLDee – ‘Shayo De Go’

Wizkid – ‘Holler at Ya Boy’

Banky W ft Naeto C, D’Banj, 9ice, eLDee and Muna – ‘Lagos Party’

A sure party track and if worked correctly on radio, this may just become a national anthem among partygoers in 2010, especially the ‘If you see me drive by, holler at ya boy’ part of the chorus.

For those outside of Lagos, when you see the Lagos Party video, you will see what a Lagos party looks like. However, Banky brings big names to his remix and they all deliver and prove why they are all who they are.

‘Holler at Ya Boy’ starts off like it’s an R&B joint, but it’s far from the blues as it picks up very well and gives you what you expected from a Wizkid track. The sound has that New

Proto’s flow grabs your attention every time he comes on in between the hook ‘Make we de shayo de go, De shayo de go until we Kolo’ laced by eLDee. The beat, the local flutes and most of the elements in the song make it extremely radio friendly, but don’t be mistaken: the lyrics are not gibberish. Although he grew up in New Jersey, USA Proto not only knows and but also can accurately enunciate words like ‘Nne’, ‘Ume Nnem Kai La No’ ‘Nne Bia…’ and other Igbo phrases.

Naeto C starts with his playful flow that fits exactly over the instrumental sort of like plug and play devices on a PC; D’Banj brings

Expect this song to cause havoc on the dance floors as you party at different clubs and lounges in Nigeria in the near future.FAB


FAB MUSIC REVIEWS “Soldier of Love” Sade Epic Sade’s long awaited (a whole decade, to be more precise) has finally arrived. Released by Epic, the album, her fifth in a career spanning over 25 years, is her first studio release since the 3-million-selling Lovers Rock in 2000. Soldier of Love, like its predecessors, offers the languid soul sound we have come to know and love, created by Sade ad her collaborators, Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman and Andrew Hale. While you may be familiar with the soothing saxophone and the gentle keyboards, Sade offers a something new in the title song, a nod to the Noughties perhaps: a thumping martial bass line. As with other Sade offerings, melancholy feel is palpable through the album. of “The Moon and the Sky” reeks of longing while “Morning Bird” is the epitome of mourning. Sade’s music glides at the same relaxed pace as her career and her sultry, smoky voice: languorous and soothing. It is almost too unbearable to think we may have to wait another decade until the Queen of New Soul strikes back. Till then, enjoy the sweet sensation that is Sade.

“The Hits” Seal Warner From the album we have all been waiting for to the one we probably weren’t expecting at all! Released in December ’09, The Hits is Seal’s second compilation in five years, following 2004’s Best 1991-2004. The album is released on two formats: a 1-disc standard edition which features 19 tracks and, for the true hardcore fans, a 2-disc deluxe edition which features 34 tracks. Going for a bit of an overkill, Seal?


Soulful “I Am Your Man” and fun disco style “Thank You”, are the newest musical offerings thrown in there amongst all-time favourites for good measure. The rest is Seal as we’ve come to know him. While the four most remembered Seal hits, “Kiss from a Rose”, “Killer”, “Crazy” and “Fly like an Eagle”, provide a grand opening to the compilation, and “Future love Paradise” reminds us just why Seal still soars high like an eagle, “Love’s Divine”, “Don’t Cry”, “I Can’t Stand the Rain” just serve to further highlight the beauty of Seal’s soulful vocals. To those who still think of Seal as a pop singer, his response is in the form of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (on the deluxe album), where Seal’s mastery of the genre shines bright. A solid collection and a fitting documentation of the hits from a man who has long ago put his seal on the landscape of 20th century music. Overkill? Certainly not!

“Oh Africa” Akon feat. Keri Hilson Universal/Interscope Akon’s “Oh Africa” music video directed by Gil Green premiered on January 31 coinciding with the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. Featuring Akon and Keri Hilson, it showcases vibrantly-colored African visuals and has cameos from football players Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba as well as 16 young music artists from around the world. The single is collaboration between Akon, singer Keri Hilson, the South African Soweto

Gospel Choir and 16 aspiring musicians from around the world who won the chance to appear. The proceeds of the single go towards helping children in South Africa through charities, including Akon’s Konfidence Foundation. Hypnotic drum beats, Ms Hilson’s dulcet vocals, and the inspirational sounds of Soweto Gospel Choir spell a winning success for Akon.

“The Way Love Goes” Lemar Epic Released on 15 February, as a teaser for his upcoming greatest hits compilation, a Stargate production, “The Way Love Goes”, is not the most memorable musical offering from the illfated reality talent show Fame Academy’s most stellar graduate. Its contemporary pop-R&B feel and club-friendly beats might keep you swaying for a while, but the hook proves too forgettable to set the pulse racing. It’s Lemar soulful vocals that save this wellmeaning tune and remind us why he’s one of the most genuine success stories of 20th century TV and one of the finest soul brothers in British music, having racked up ten Top 40 singles and three platinum albums since 2003. Definitely a reason to look forward to The Hits due out 1 March!


KemKa The shape of things to come FLAGSHIP SHOP - IKEJA



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The Figurine Production year: 2009 Country: Nigeria Runtime: 203 mins Director: Kunle Afolayan Cast: Ramsey Nouah, Omoni Oboli, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Tosin Sido, Chief Muraina Oyelami, Kunle Afoloyan

Currently doing the rounds at international festivals, the movie directed by Kunle Afolayan, starring Ramsey Nouah, Omoni Oboli, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Tosin Sido, Chief Muraina Oyelami and Kunle Afoloyan himself, tells the tale of two friends and a girl – all down on their luck who suddenly have their lives changed after one of them discovers ‘Araromire’; a mysterious figurine in an abandoned shrine which, according to ancient legend, bestows seven years of good luck. A very crafty well-scripted tale, the movie is visually pleasing to the eyes and holds the audience captive for the entire 2 hours running time. You will want to see this movie to find out what happens after the seven years of good luck ends. The African movie market needs more movies like The Figurine. MUST WATCH FAB MOVIE OF THE YEAR. Out now

Ije:The Journey Production year: 2010 Country: Nigeria Runtime: 100 mins. Director: Chineze Anyaene Cast: Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Clem Ohameze

Ije, directed by Chineze Anyaene starring Genevieve Nnaji,

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Clem Ohameze, tells a tale of two sisters Chioma and Anya and the different paths they take in their journey to adulthood. While Chiome lives a loving life in Nigeria, Anya is accused of killing three men in a Hollywood Hills mansion—one of them her record producer-husband. Chioma travels from Nigeria to Los Angeles, and with the help of a young, unproven attorney, discovers that the dark secret her sister wants to keep hidden might be the only thing that can win her freedom. Release date March 2010

Avatar Production year: 2009 Country: USA Cert (UK): 12A Runtime: 161 mins Director: James Cameron Cast: CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Zoe Saldana

The James Cameron’s inspirational idea of a 3D space adventure was conceived fifteen years ago when the means to realise his vision did not exist yet. So ambitious an idea in fact, he had to build the technology to make it happen. Avatar is set in 2154. The world is dying. When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora where he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered

throughout their rich woodland that will save the earth. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intelligence for the co-operating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora. While the plot meanders in the mid-section and the characters are not fully developed, incredible visual effects, cutting edge computer-generated imagery and Cameron’s high-testosterone camerawork make this a visual feast with spellbinding moments. MUST WATCH FAB MOVIE IN A 3D CINEMA. Out now

Invictus Production year: 2009 Country: USA Cert (UK): 12A Runtime: 133 mins Directors: Clint Eastwood Cast: Julian Lewis Jones, Matt Damon, Matt Stern, Morgan Freeman, Patrick Mofokeng, Tony Kgoroge

From director Clint Eastwood, Invictus tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), to help unite their country. Newly elected President

Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match. Out now

Iron Man 2 Production year: 2010 Country: USA Cert (UK): TBC Runtime: n/a Directors: Jon Favreau Cast: Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the highly anticipated sequel to the blockbuster film based on the legendary Marvel Super Hero Iron Man, reuniting director Jon Favreau and Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. In Iron Man 2, the world is aware that billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is the armoured Super Hero Iron Man. Under pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military, Tony is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armor because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, Tony forges new alliances and confronts powerful new forces. Release date – May


FAB CULTURE FROM CONGO WITH LOVE 12 February – 11 April The National Theatre, London Speaking of his visit to Congo with Oxfam in October 2009 with the aim of running a series of photography workshops, celebrity fashion photographer Rankin says, “If I’m honest, I expected to be depressed and scared. The statistics were harrowing. Five million dead. The worst conflict since World War II. I wondered how people got up in the morning to face all this misery. But the country confounded all my expectations. I met fathers, mothers and kids who were getting on with life, making it through, even having a laugh and joke.” The end result is a huge family photo album – heart-warming portrayal of country and portraits of her people in recovery, accompanied by equally poignant stories of the people pictured. For more information or to donate to Oxfam’s work in the Congo, visit

CHRIS OFILI 27 January – 16 May Tate Britain, Level 2 Galleries Manchester born Nigerian artist, Chris Ofili is back with major mid-career retrospective at Tate Britain, showing 45 paintings covering a period from the mid-1990s to the present, including signature pieces such as Afrodizzia (2nd version) 1996, The Holy Virgin Mary 1996, Blossom 1997 and No Woman No Cry - the piece he created in the aftermath of the Stephen Lawrence murder, as well as new work brought directly from the artist’s studio in Trinidad. Having won the Turner Prize in 1998, the 41-year-old artist is without a doubt one of the UK’s most famous homegrown black talents. Since his emergence in the mid 1990s, Ofili has built an international reputation with his intensely coloured and intricately ornamented paintings that bridge the sacred and the profane, popular culture and beliefs. Ofili credits his love of Hip Hop culture, especially bands such as Public Enemy, KRS 1 and Eric B & Rakim, as the inspiration behind many of his works. Ofili’s works show many parallels with Hip Hop and sampling culture, remixing and re-mastering modern inspirations from art and music to create his own unique takes. He draws on his surroundings to inform his art and commentates on the state of play, exploring areas such as racism, ethnicity and identity. Lyrical content is very important within Ofili’s work and he has regularly used hip hop titles in his works and exhibitions such as, Devils Pie by D’angelo, The Healer by Erykah Badu and Pimpin aint Easy by Big Daddy Kane. “I


was drawn to (William) Blake’s image first as a watercolour…At the same time I was interested in how Snoop Dogg could sing quite vulgar lyrics with a sweet, smooth West Coast voice, in the coming together of the rough and the smooth. I was curious about trying to make older ideas contemporary and new, and somehow have a relationship to hiphop culture,” says Chris Ofili, in an interview with Ekow Eshun, published in the exhibition catalogue. Following his move to Trinidad in 2005, ofili’s newer work displays an interest in Trinidad’s landscape and mythology, capturing the vibrant colour and poignant spirit of the island – swathes of imperial purple, sea green and citrus orange. Speaking of his new home, Ofili has said, “It has a mystical quality to it. The landscape is hilly, the vegetation is dense and you have a constant feeling that things are happening on the other side of the hill or deep in the forest.”


S D A On your Bookshelf RE

RACLES ATES, ORDINARY MI AFRICA: ALTERED ST By Richard Dowden Books Ltd Published by: Por tobello 9 200 : ion Year of publicat Pages: 448 village school ica in 1971, teaching at a Dowden first arrived in Afr ependent as Africa Editor of The Ind in Idi Amin’s Uganda. Later he has visited , of the Royal African Society and now as the director foreword, the in e, ntr y, and Chinua Acheb nearly every African cou ica’s Afr to self him ted t he has commit gives him high praise: tha advancement. Altered States , raw and unsentimental, Journalistic and compelling of Africa. Even decade long experience documents Dowden’s two sharp and n his engaging anecdotes more palpably electric tha Nigeria to m fro nt tine r corner s of the con observations from all fou for Africa. e lov e ens imm his is to Somalia, Uganda, from South Africa sh to a vast d of taking too broad a bru Conscious of being accuse ce is not ien aud his t tha k s in the boo continent, Dowden explain wh an o, ver y , it is the dismissive Europe the Africa veteran; rather grin of many years ago much to the cha much like Tony Blair did five the world”. of nce scie as a “scar on the con Africans, considers Africa —Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo IMAGES RICAN AMERICAN POSING BEAUTY: AF T EN THE PRES FROM THE 1890s TO more than a ghost story, llis Wi although the ghost par t act By Deborah s as a pedestal . Co thr & ough which other import n rto ant stories pan out. The cha Published by: W. W. No racter s are not har 9 d 200 to : find. Beloved, the baby gho Year of publication st keeps haunting us; telling us that Black or White, eve ryone needs to know how Pages: 244 not to be inhuman. Everyone needs nd that images of black fou llis to know that the depth of lov Wi ah bor De 0s, e can lead to s the res As a student in the 197 murder of the Beloved by to red the Lover. And of course larger culture. Determined , Beloved del ing ive Pos e rs beauty did not exist in the mo om re— bec as it ends up as a book abo d a lifelong quest that has ut the past that still speaks volumes in the pre this imbalance, Willis starte sent. Maybe that’s why the book was mentioned as best work Beauty. of American fiction for 25 yea uty bea an eric rs. Warning Am tho ican Afr ugh of , Toni Morrison’s language images is ver y poetic so you nee Posing Beauty showcases Josephine Baker patient but and y lida d to be Ho ie Bill as h as suc soon as you get that righ through the ages: Subjects t, you get lost in the story. mad Ali take us to the ham –Te Mu mit and ayo vis Olo Da a finl gel ua illuminate the past; An helle Obama shington, Lil’ Kim and Mic SARAH LADIPO MA civil rights era; Denzel Wa NYIKA’S IN DEPEND ENCE Published by: Cassava represent the present. Rep ublic s, her rap tog pho d dre Ye hun ar of publication: 2009 re than one Featuring the work of mo ans to Pages: 255 umptions about what it me ass our ges llen cha uty Posing Bea n-Onabanjo . There’s a sense of involvem be ‘beautiful’ —Sinem Bile ent a reader feels from the opening lines of D this book. Much more tha VE BELO n being a love story betwe TONI MORRISON’S en the two cha rac ter s (Ta yo and Vanessa), this is a Published by: Vintage love story between the wr and her iter cou 7 ntr 200 y, : Nig eria. She takes the reader Year of publication s through stages of the character s’ lives as the y encounter obstacles in Pages: 352 their love life. She does this well even as she takes a look at the history is more than a el nov ing inn e-w Priz r of the nation and the issu Toni Morrison’s Pulitze e, es in the way of the bir th of ery, lov a truly independent nation afraid to take a look at slav Ma nyi ka . wr slave story. Morrison isn’t ites ely fro sol is m the heart and succeeds in ich unique point of view wh having a heart-toheart conver sation with and responsibility from a the ut abo her reader s. –Temitayo Olofinl in history. It is a book ua her s though ver y rooted some of the issues of e ctiv spe per x ple com ch Mu h. black experience, a wit ggle nal, especially) people stru (psychological and emotio



FELA! And the Afrobeat goes on Venue: The Eugene O’Neill Theatre, New York Dates: 24 November 2009 – 20 June 2010 Dubbed as “the best Musical 2009” by USA Today and described as “an ecstatic phenomenon” by Time Out New York, since its premiere on Broadway on 24 November, FELA! The Musical has proved the hottest ticket in town and continued to draw audiences in their droves. Heavily supported by the heavy weights of the entertainment industry including Jay Z and Will Smith, based on a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, the directorial debut by the Tony Award winning Jones, FELA! marries the biopic story of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti with his music. Set designer Marina Draghici transforms the stage into Fela’s beloved club, the Shrine and FELA! unfolds as a night at The Shrine. Nigerian troops have invaded and destroyed the Kalakuta Republic, torturing many in Fela’s entourage and throwing his beloved mother, a significant political activist, from a second-story


window, killing her. Enter the rebellious king of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, dressed head to toe in powder blue with swirls of white braid. “This story, I wan tell you, this story ’bout how things are,” he sings, the words projected on a corrugated wall behind him. The first act recounts Fela’s early years, from Nigeria to London and back, and then to the United States. The year is 1969, marking the height of the Black Power movement, when Fela is introduced by his love interest to political philosophy. The second act re-evokes the tale of things to come following his return to Nigeria: constant harassment from the government culminating in an attack on his Kalakuta Republic compound. The demanding title role of Fela is played by Kevin Mambo and Sahr Ngaujah; the latter won an Obie Award for his magnetic performance in the title role in Fela Off Broadway in 2008. He acts, sings, dances, he plays saxophone, drum and trumpet. He dazzles! For a moment, you may be fooled into thinking he is Fela re-incarnated.

Jones is also responsible for the play’s dazzling choreography which offers some of the most exuberant and hypnotic dancing you’ll ever get to see on Broadway, lithe bodies gyrating, rotating, whirling to the frenzied rhythms provided by the on-stage band, Antibalas, a Brooklyn-based Afrobeat collective. Those in the audience are invited to join in the dance as directed. Beyond the politics, the controversy, the music, the beat, the dance, there is one section that is possibly the most touching – the dream sequence where Fela, all clad in white, goes in search of his mother Funmilayo who has become an orisha (departed spirit who leads us from above) of the rain. Lillias White’s singing is truly mesmerising and haunting all at once. A dazzling tribute to the legendary musician that is Fela and one that makes you get up and dance, all the while remembering that Afrobeat goes on. Price: from $55 Info:



Boxing Kitten


You don’t need nine lives to be a knock out in a Boxing Kitten number, just ask Me’shell Ndegeocello, DJ Rashida and Erykah Badu, fans of the “ethic rockability” fashion label. Headed by Ms. Maya Lake, the brand’s aesthetic is informed by classic silhouettes, West-African textiles and strong black icons such as Josephine Baker and W.E.B. Dubois. (Pics 1&2)


Street Etiquette Most hip hop heads will know that the term “street etiquette “ is from a Nas tune. But the two young black Bronxites, Travis “Trav” Gumbs and Joshua “JKISSI” Kissi, behind the popular street style blog for men, are inspired by more than just hip hop. Theirs is a style that’s “a mixture of class and sophistication with a gritty, urban twist”. As they explain “our Street Etiquette is our love for HipHop, Hood Art (graffiti) and most of all our love for incorporating different styles of fashion into our urban style.” Monday might wake to see the boys kicking it in a pair of APC jeans and while come Friday they are dapper in corduroy jackets. With commentaries alongside regular pictures of their outfits, the blog is versatile, fun and a welcomed addiction to men’s style blogs. (Pics 4,5,6 & 7)

Zainab Sumu Oversized chandeliers, African totems, beaded masks and sitting stools covered in bright prints, you might forget you wandered into an LA boutique upon entering Zainab Sumu’s new fashion emporium. Hailing from Sierra Leone, with pitstops in London, Paris and NY, the former sales manager for Commes des Garcons stocks a range of international designers, from Duro Olowu and Manish Arora to Balmain, Junya Watanabe and Ohne Titel. The cosy store is located on Melrose Avenue. (Pic 3)






Shirley Liz Ephraim


Any reservations you might have regarding the versatility of crocheted fashions will change once you set eyes on the designs of Shirley Liz Ephraim. The Nigerian-born designer, now based in New York, uses distinctive materials such as organic cotton and naturally hand-dyed silk yarns to create beautifully hand-crocheted jewellery. From her twisted crochet necklace with exposed strap to the draped crochet chain number, her pieces, explore texture and drapery. The designer’s work has been featured in 2009 Oscar-nominated film and the independent movie, DARE. All her materials are produced and ethically sourced through Fair Trade Collectives. (Pic 8) 6




Tina Kalivas One season she draws her inspiration from the Afghan desert landscape and the next she takes her cues from Miles Davis; Australian designer Tina Kalivas is influenced by different cultures and lifestyles. For her newest collection, Polyrhythms 2009, she looks to the African continent for inspiration. The colourful collection shows the designers talent in manipulating shapes and dimensions, with origami like dresses made from bright prints, tie-die tops with ruffles and tailored pants with a dash of print. Her collection is definitely for those who like to make a lasting impression. (Pics 9&10)



B: How are you,May? jo crazysexycool&FA *Sinem Bilen- Onaban ut nk u hun, driving out n abo Mayberry7: Am well tha B: Where u off to? FA ol& yco jo crazysex *Sinem Bilen- Onaban eting my editor quickly. should b home by then. Me ins… 25m me e Giv : y7 err Mayb t? may be asleep in 25mins righ Actuallly we can continue...u h I don’t go to bed Na B: jo crazysexycool&FA *Sinem Bilen- Onaban tor? What editor? before midnight :) Your edi programme. I run a media owl like me. Editor for my e Mayberry7: Cool night ady. Tonight we r editing “Th alre ducing a few shows pro are We y. pan com ing. tion yth produc iews...ever and entertainment, news, rev Dj Abrantee Show” - music ll we expect a May7ven zysexycool&FAB: Sha cra jo an ab On en Bil *Sinem if TV soonish Ms Media Mogul? ld be this side of the year ding our minds..Yes. It cou s. But I ject pro ny ma Mayberry7: Ohh so u rea too on ing lot behind the scene, tak I can be bothered… I do a m. ble enjoy it which is the pro other plans either side zysexycool&FAB: Any cra jo an ab On en Bil *Sinem of New Year’s? . ays will have to wait and see x? Mayberry7: A alw B: So how do you get to rela FA ol& yco ex zys cra jo an ab On en Bil m *Sine take Mayberry7: I don’t. B: If you had a chance to jo crazysexycool&FA an ab On en Bil m ine *S would you want to go? g a holiday right now where t of taking a break is makin a clue. Many but the though e hav n’t uld the Wo do : to y7 off err Mayb may take a day off to Vegas next week and me very very nervous. I am casinos. Dubai... B: Wow! Off to Vegas... jo crazysexycool&FA an ab On en Bil m ine *S Business or pleasure? ss. Mayberry7: Only busine

In a bid to help your Blackberry addiction with a healthy helping of Blackberry chats, this issue we catch up with the UK-based Nigerian singer, songwriter, producer, multi-talented, multi-tasking superwoman, May7ven.

Blackberry Chat

Mayberry7: Thank you! Xxxx

*Sinem Bilen- Onabanjocrazysexycool&FAB: Ok babe enjoy!

Mayberry7: Yes o! ;)

*Sinem Bilen- Onabanjo crazysexycool&FAB: Well you know now, what happens in Vegas... ;)

Mayberry7: Thank you...Never been before so gonna be naughty and do all the things am not suppose to tell anyone about LMAO=D

*Sinem Bilen- Onabanjo crazysexycool&FAB: Good luck in Vegas!

Mayberry7: No problemo! Thank you for yours.

*Sinem Bilen- Onabanjo crazysexycool&FAB: Good luck May, thank you for your time.

Mayberry7: Musically to be the most successful female (Nigerian born) artist in the world! Successs = Record sales, Top 10 Hits and Best Music Videos ever produced…

*Sinem Bilen- Onabanjo crazysexycool&FAB: Musically what would you want to achieve before you die?

Thanks, I just think God gave me a lot and I must do much with it all.

*Sinem BilenOnabanjo craz ysexycool&FA Mayberry7: So B: May breaking ld more singles in into the States? the states than an Mayberry7: To yw here else... be honest my fav ourite place apar New York...Top t from La Campa floor Trump towe ign Beach Resort r ho tel...the only plac *Sinem Bilen... is e I feel sane. Onabanjo craz ys exycool&FAB Mayberry7: I : How come? guess I meet peop le like myself ther 100 things (be a e....nutters! Whe singer by night, da n you say you ca ncer, writer, entr you like yeah mul n do epreneur, archite ti-skilled....You te ct, this that, they ll someone that one? look at in the UK, they sa y why not just fo cus on *Sinem BilenOnabanjo craz ysexycool&FA greatest achievem B: What do you ent to date? consider your Mayberry7: Bi ggest achievemen t, no 57th Street New t musicial... Develo York and 40 Gro pment Project I svenor Place,Vict did on 9 West floors and space. oria... I designed, constructed and built *Sinem BilenOnabanjo craz ysexycool&FA talents. B: Woah! You’re a woman of man Mayberry7: y

n e v 7 May












Style FAB


Image © Gety Images

Yoanna Pepper Okwesa

TAIO CRUZ British-Nigerian singer is definitely cruising down the red carpet in his all black ensemble. The leather biker jacket, skinny jeans and canvases give him an urban, smooth yet rough and ready look. The vintage tee breaks the black and with the retro shades shows off his individual and unique style. We just love Taio’s bad boy cool look. Credits: Black Leather Jacket - Burton, £99 | Black Jeans – Burton, £35 | Black and Gold Leather T-shirt – French Connection, £20 | Black Trainers- Clarks, £45 | Black Sunglasses- River Island Stockists: Burton: | Clarks: | French Connection: www. | River Island: +44 208 991 904













11 1) Jean Paul Gaultier, Photography by P. Stable 2) Etro 3) Black Pepper Thokosomi 4) Fabiani, Photography by SDR Photo 5) SPURR 6) Black Pepper Thokosomi 7) Etro 8) Etro 9) Black Pepper Thokosomi 10) Artistic Soul Photography by SDR Photo 11) Etro 12) Etro

13 Shades of Summer Vibrant and fresh summer shades are the colours for men’s fashion this season from cool greens and turquoises to warm creams, oranges and pinks. Against the depressing back drop of last years economic low, designers seem to be expressing optimism for the future by adding excitement to the male wardrobe with flashes of warm and eye tempting colour in all aspects of men’s clothing. Make sure you grab yourself a cool coloured, springtime blazer and keep your silhouettes sharp.

Masculino This season tailoring for men is all about the cool and the classic. Quality tailoring always looks the business and is every man’s office armour. Designers have taken inspiration from the traditional, well groomed man for their suits with defined shoulders and cuts that give you more space but are still creating


FAB TRENDS FOR MEN Yoanna Pepper Okwesa

the slim line silhouette. This is not to say that you cannot be adventurous with your suits, take risks by mix matching shirts and ties and wearing unconventionally, shaped waistcoats.

Say it Louder Prints are well packaged for men this season. A must have for now and for all year round is a graphic print t-shirt. Don’t be afraid to go mad with quirky paisley, cheeky checks or even fancy florals.

Office To Night Out This season high shine suits are so cool and designers have transformed it into a functional piece that can be worn casually for the office and with a quick change into a pair of sharp shoes, can be worn in the evening for that dinner with your misses or a drink up with your pals.

Greys Anatomy This season designers have experimented with every shade of grey, creating smooth and sophisticated looks. The colour grey is also great for customization especially with prints and colours. Grey teamed up with hot pinks, greens and blues always looks a treat.




HITTING ALL THE RIGHT NOTES Suited and booted in the best Nigerian fashion houses have on offer, the leading men and rising stars of Nigerian music hit all the right notes on and of stage.

Blazer: N35’000 and Shirt: N8’000 from David Wej Jeans, Tie, Shoes and Belt: Stylist’s own Eyeglasses: Artist’s own


Blazer: Exclamations Couture-N100’000 Shirt, Jeans and Shoes: Stylist’s own Pocket Square: Exclamations Couture: N5’000 Sunglasses: Artist’s own


Banky W


Blazer: N35’000 and Shirt: N8’000 from David Wej Jeans, Tie, Shoes and Belt: Stylist’s own Eyeglasses: Artist’s own


Banky W PHOTOGRAPHY: Suby & Sinem

T-shirt: Simon Parchment- POR Jacket, Hat, Glove, Chain and Watch: Artist’s own


Naeto C


Hat,V-Neck, Waistcoat: Stylist’s own Trousers: Exclamations Couture: N10’000 Shoes: Ties Etcetera- N35’000 Watch: Stylist’s own Sunglasses: Artist’s own


Naeto C


Suit: Exclamations Couture- N100’000 Shirt: David Wej- N8’000 Tie: Stylist’s own Pocket Square: Exclamations Couture-N5’000 Eyeglasses: Artist’s own


Whiz Kid

PHOTOGRAPHY: Nusinic Photography- Nsoedo Frank STYLIST: FAMILUSI-AKIN BABAJIDE for The Looks Company RETOUCH– FAB Magazine

Suit-N55’000 and Shoes-N22’000 from David Wej Shirt: N10’000 and Pocket Square- N5’000 from Exclamations Couture Watch: Artist’s own


Crown: POR and Tunic-N25’000 from Exclamations Couture Shoes: David Wej: N18’000 Beads: Stylist’s own




Tunic: Alvince Couture-N35’000 Jeans: Stylist’s own Scarf: Exclamations Couture-N7’500 Shoes: Exclamations Couture-N25’000


Shirt: Alvince Couture-N15’000 Cravat: Exclamations Couture-N7.500 Sunglasses: Stylist’s own Watch: Stylist’s own Satchel: David Wej-N12’000



PHOTOGRAPHY: Nusinic Photography- Nsoedo Frank STYLIST: FAMILUSI-AKIN BABAJIDE for The Looks Company RETOUCH– FAB Magazine

Shirt-N5’000 and Tie-N5’000: from David Wej: Suit- N100’000 and Pocket Square-N4’000 from Exclamations Couture


Hat-N5’000 and Beads-N12’000 from Ties EtceteraGlasses: Artist’s own Buba (Top), Sokoto (Bottom), Agbada and Shoes: Stylist’s own


Duncan Daniels

PHOTOGRAPHY: SubySinem STYLIST: Yoanna ‘Pepper’ Okwesa RETOUCH– FAB Magazine

Hat: Beyond Retro- £35.00 Waistcoat: Beyond Retro-£15.00 Necklace and Briefcase: Stylist’s own T-shirt, Jeans, Watch, Sunglasses, Bracelets and Trainers: Artist’s Own


Iceberg Slim


Jacket: Oscar Cuznagy-$115.00 Jeans, T-shirt, Trainers, Watch, Chain and SunglassesArtist’s Own





DON The return of the Don, after the smashing hits of “Bosi Gbanga” and “Big Boy” of 2009, with Is it Ur Money? mixtape about to drop and the Light Up Nigeria campaign going on full throttle, may signal more than just a musical change for Nigeria, as Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo finds out. There are artists, then there are artists; there are those who storm in, out of the blue, all guns blazing, rock the scene with a mega hit only to fall off the radar for good after a year in the spotlight, or worse, end up producing a less than impressive sophomore effort which makes fans almost wish they had fallen off the radar for good… Then there are those who enjoy the sort of longevity, the holy grail of the entertainment business sought by many, yet reserved for the select few. Then there are those who see beyond the hits, those who possess not just ideas, but vision, courage, and unprecedented talent - the vision to change the shape of things to come in their corner of the world and create a new sound which will define the sound of a new generation, and the courage to leave it all behind in the name of personal progress and the talent to return home to enjoy instant success all over again like they’ve never left. Nigerian singer, songwriter, music mogul, eLDee is one such artist.



© Remi “Mista Skee” Abudu 2010

Settling into fatherhood (eLDee’s wife Dolapo gave birth to a baby girl in November), fronting the Light Up Nigeria campaign and promoting his new mixtap, eLDee is much too short on time, yet graciously agrees to a half day shoot on a bleak and rainy December afternoon – so graciously that we just about overlook his six hour delay getting from South to North London. Sheepishly, he offers his apologies, shaking the raindrops off his coat and settling down to a meal of Chinese as he chimes, “Alright, let’s do this!”

Photography by Suby&Sinem

Soon I find ‘Let’s do this!’ perhaps can sum up eLDee’s attitude to life, whether it’s a life-changing move to the States, or trying on accessories he initially considers too flamboyant, or to ‘walk the walk’ as well as talking the talk for Light Up Nigeria as he leads the crowd marching to the Governor’s office in Lagos one October morning, while enthusing “Let there be light” to the CNN cameras. eLDee talks music almost incessantly during our interview, music and Light up Nigeria, to be more precise; clearly the very topics he is passionate about. “Light Up Nigeria is a campaign encouraging the youth to speak up against the power situation in Nigeria,” explains eLDee and continues, “Everyone knows how ugly it is, how much of a deterrent it is to Nigeria’s development. If the power situation could be fixed, 50% of Nigeria’s problems will be solved as investment will come in and investment will create competition and competition will eventually make things better. A lot of companies, who have chosen to come to Nigeria to do business, have to deal with the overbearing cost of diesel – just running a business is a huge challenge. It also affects general productivity in the country. Sometimes there is no electricity for 2 or 3 weeks, even for months in some places. How do people learn? We have badly equipped libraries so the only way people can learn anything is on the Internet, but how do you use the Internet if there’s no light? We’re trying to get people talk against the power situation in Nigeria. If we make it a priority, then if not this government, whoever the next government is, will see it as something that’s really important to fix.” “How can the layman on the street help?” I ask him. The answer is simple, eLDee explains, “We’re running a bunch of programs – there is a petition which encourage people to bombard the government with letters. If we disrupt the postal service for a couple of months, maybe they’ll take us seriously. When they go to the office and see stacks of letters from across the country, maybe they’ll see it’s an important issue. It almost feels like we’re being led by illiterates in a sense, because one can’t make any sense out of the fact that there is no power and people think it’s okay. Now we’re raising a new generation of people who are used to not having any power who probably think it’s ok to not have power. That’s what we need to correct.” eLDee is brutally honest about Nigeria’s shortcomings, and is keen to point out the importance of the role artists, especially those who have lived abroad, play in making a change. “Productivity to me is the key to sustainability. If people can’t be productive and learn new things and develop themselves, how do we move forward? So when you’re used to living in America and move back to Nigeria it’s like what am I doing here? But I also understand that the reason we are in Nigeria now is to change Nigeria because we have had the exposure and the privilege of living in place where things actually work. We play key roles in the struggle so running back to the States wouldn’t be smart.” So he


…I also understand that the reason we are in Nigeria now ause c e b ia r e ig N e g n a h c to is d e exposure an we have had th ces la p in g in v li f o e g e il iv r the p . k r o w y ll a tu c a s g in th e r whe

Photography by Suby&Sinem

were instant hits, followed by their debut album, now a cult classic, L.A.G. Style. eLDee came up with a collaboration of all the artists on the record label, named them Da Trybe and solidified Trybe Records as a force to be reckoned with in the Nigerian Music Industry. History was officially being written; with the unique blend of traditional forms of African music with hip-hop, a new era of Nigerian music born. “I was one of the pioneers of what is today the modern music,” eLDee agrees, effortlessly acknowledging the epaulette bestowed on him by the industry professionals and the media; what is refreshing is there is not a hint of arrogance, but calm confidence of a man who knows what he is doing and is doing it well.

has thought at least on occasions of running back to the States? No, he assures me, “I grew up in Nigeria and didn’t leave till I was 20” – a fact he considers distinguishes him from your average JJC. Born Lanre Dabiri in Kaduna, eLDee’s love for music was shaped by parental influences from an early age. “The good thing is my mum and my dad listened to two different kinds of music which helped me create a good perspective on different sounds and genres,” eLDee explains and adds, “My dad was into jazz and a lot of the traditional music like juju and fuji - my mum was more into Afrobeat a lot of Fela and a lot of Nigerian mainstream artists like Christie Essien and Onyeka Onwenu and a lot of international disco.” “Music started for me in 92 when I was in high school,” eLDee continues, “I first started off dancing when I was in high school, then I started performing, then I started writing my own stuff and making my own music.” It was the union between eLDee and his high school friend Kaboom teamed up with Freestyle, the legendary group Tybesmen was born. Their first two offerings, in 1999, “Trybal Marks” and “Shake Bodi”

Perhaps it was with that confidence, at the height of fame and fortune, eLDee didn’t think twice about heading to the States to continue his professional development. “I was self-taught in video production, editing photography and I wanted to do a couple courses to develop myself in the States on a professional level,” eLDee explains. While in the States, eLDee recorded two more critically acclaimed albums, Long Time Coming in 2002 followed up with Return of the King in 2006. It was his professional work outside of his music that finally made eLDee realize his time in the US was coming to an end; having worked on some high profile projects including work for major companies such as CNN and Coca Cola as well as the grassroots beginnings of Barack Obama’s campaign, eLDee increasingly “felt like I was giving a lot to that industry and not back to Nigeria.” Back home for good since 2008, eLDee has slipped back into an otherwise fickle scene of the Nigerian music industry like he has never left, first with the monstrous 2008 hit “Bosi Gbanga”, then his 2009 club banger “Big Boy” from the album Big Boy which was released in 2009 and received 17 nominations in different categories of various award shows including best video, best album, best cinematography, hottest single, best artist and the most recent MOBO award nomination in the “Best African artist” category. What is his perfect recipe for the hits he continues to produce one after the other? eLDee’s answer makes it sound more like basic maths than quantum physics, “I think it all lies in the music and understanding the market. I also surround myself with people who already have an idea of what the mainstream sound is like and have that taste so they know how to make the Nigerian music appeal to the mainstream. We have to keep the African element cause that’s what makes you unique.” eLDee is currently promoting his mixtape Is It Ur Money? set to raise the bar in the industry once again with star-studded collaborations, including international stars such as Yung Joc, and homegrown talents such as Tuface, Banky W, 9ice and Ruggedman amongst many more stellar names. “I need to put out a lot more music than I have right now and use it as an opportunity to work with people and throw ideas around,” eLDee says, explaining the decision in releasing a mix tape before another studio album. Whilst some of the material is new, he is keen to point out the remixes will also offer a new sound. “It’s similar but different in terms of sound. I believe in growth; change is the


All people know about Nigerians is scams, g so we’re tryin e to change thth k image and I ntin entertainme to is that the pathway change.

only thing that is constant. I think it’s going to have a little more of a mainstream sound to it, still keeping the Nigerian in the lyrics.” A true music mogul in the real sense, with over a decade of experience in the business as a singer, songwriter, video director and producer, eLDee was never content with just focusing on his own musical output introducing into the scene fresh talents such as Sasha, 2Shotz, olaDele; and creating a platform to help aspiring artists still remains a passion for The Don of Nigerian music. (His newest recruits, both American based, are rapper Proto and Airis who, eLDee promises, will bring a fresh hybrid sound with her album scheduled for release in 2010). Another passion is to put Nigerian music on the international map. “The one thing I’ve always stood for is the more we are, the stronger the force. We are the most populous black nation in the world. Having those kinds of numbers, we should have some sort of an influence,” eLDee reasons and explains, “We have the Jamaicans who have exported their culture and it’s all over the world. You go anywhere and you can understand the Jamaican culture and there is Nigeria that is ten times the size of Jamaica and people don’t even know what’s going on. All people know about Nigerians is all scams, so we’re trying to change the image and I think entertainment is the pathway to that change. The more people we have doing it on a professional level, the more music we can put out there; the bigger the force essentially. I am happy it is getting to a point now where we can go to the States and some of the American artists see value in doing music with us because that definitely means we’re doing something right; either the music has stepped its game up or people are starting to see numbers make sense.” Making Nigeria a major player in the international music scene is on the agenda for the multi-talented music genius, along with campaigning to “light up Nigeria” where power is no longer a luxury but a basic human right; then there are albums to produce, videos to shoot, songs to write, new talents to hone, and a baby girl to raise. Are there enough many hours in the day, we muse, but somehow, as eLDee good-humoredly puts his Chinese down to get ready for the shoot, we hear him say, “Let’s do this!”, we are reassured that there is no other man up to the task than The Don himself. FAB





LIFE British-born Nigerian soul sensation Lemar is back with a brand new single “The Way Love Goes” and his fifth album to date, The Hits, a collection featuring some of his greatest over his 7-year long career in music after his appearance as a fresh-faced ‘newbie’ on BBC’s Fame Acedemy as well as three brand new recordings; “Coming Home,” “You Don’t Love Me” and an exciting exclusive re-recording of “What About Love” from 2003’s Dedicated album, featuring JLS. One talent show, five albums, 2 BRIT awards, and four MOBOs later, we catch up with 32-year-old who put soul back into the British pop to find all about his FAB life. Speaking of his collection as “the end of a phase but beginning of a new one” Lemar says, “I’ve definitely grown and evolved. The more you do something, the better you get at it by default so I have definitely progressed,” and continues, “Not sure what the new phase will be but I want to be more experimental with my music and my voice.” Having proved himself to be an enduring talent as opposed to many one-hitwonder casualties of reality TV, Lemar has now got his eyes set on acting. “I attended a few casting while in LA when I was recording my last album. I’d love to do acting, but I don’t want to do anything by half. It’s something I’d like to take up when I can invest more time and energy.” Constantly touring over the last seven years, 14 February 2010 was the first time Lemar got to spend Valentines Day with his significant other, Charmaine Powell. “At last, yeah!” Lemar says, “We had a nice quiet one at home and didn’t do anything special but in my opinion, it’s the small things that count.”

FAB thing about being a musician? Performing on stage, touring. I would say travelling, but since it is to do with music, definitely touring is the FAB thing about being a musician.

FAB ideal date? My ideal date would be with my daughter, when she is 18 or 19, so I can tell her about how men operate.

FAB guilty pleasure? I’d have to say travelling again.

FAB London hangout? The Hospital. It’s a private members club in the middle of London where you can eat, drink, relax, get together with friends, play games – there is a games room, watch TV and generally chill. Really great hangout!

FAB song of all times? Marvin Gaye – “Sexual Healing”. Definitely my number 1 song of all times.

FAB collaboration? I would love to do a collaboration with Alicia Keys which will hopefully happen. She has got an amazing voice and I think our voices complement each other and that would be great. But other than that, I am open to any future collaborations because you never know what you’re going to get.

FAB thing about being African? The sense of community and family is definitely the best thing about being African.






Father, the


Afrobeat and the By Tolu Ogunlesi

Spirit By the time Fela died in 1997, of complications arising from AIDS, he had produced not less than 40 albums, and Afrobeat had found a devoted following across the world.

Weapons of the Future


ent by his preacher father to England to study medicine, twenty-year-old Olufela Ransome-Kuti changed his mind and settled for music instead. It was in England that he, for the first time in his life, realised he was “African”, and that his skin colour marked him out as different. In an interview years later, he recalled seeing vacant houses with signboards that read: “House for rent: No coloureds, no dogs.” After five years in England (during which he formed Koola Lobitos, his first band) he returned to Nigeria. The move back home would be just like that of his cousin, Wole Soyinka, three years earlier. (Soyinka would twenty-six years later become the first African to win the Nobel Prize for literature). In 1969 Fela decided to tour the United States. It turned out to be even worse than England, in terms of racial tensions. Of that sojourn, Fela said: “America took me by surprise completely.” What is more, visa issues (for his band) meant that the quest was a “complete failure.” But even whilst proving to be the rock upon which his grand dreams would be dashed, America was also to provide the definitive turning point in Fela’s career. He met Sandra Smith (later Sandra Isidore), who introduced him to the writings of the fiery African American civil rights activist Malcolm X, and to the philosophy of the 1960s AfricanAmerican nationalist movement, The Black Panthers. The political awareness that would form the backbone of his future music can be traced to his experiences in America. He cut short his tour and returned to Nigeria in 1970, to launch the Afrobeat style that would go on to put Africa on the world music map. Koola Lobitos transformed into Africa 70.


But arguably the greatest legacy he left, his real “weapons of the future” were two of his sons: Femi and Seun, the eldest and the youngest respectively. Between them both, Afrobeat and “Felasophy” are today alive and well, albeit in varying forms, and reaching audiences that missed the first Golden Age. Femi, the older of the two was born in London in 1962. His mother was Remilekun, Fela’s first wife. Seun was born 20 years after Femi, to Fehintola, one of Fela’s dancers / backup singers. Seun was only 15 when his father died, but had been singin g on stage as part of Fela’s band since he was nine. By the time Fela died, Femi had already established a name and a band (Positive Force) for himself, and it therefore fell on Seun to take over Fela’s Egypt 80 band. This he did with the support of Baba Ani, saxophonist and long time band member and Fela associate. This arguably makes Seun the more direct inheritor of the Afrobeat legacy. But it would not be totally appropriate to tag Femi and Seun “Afrobeat musicians.” Just as their father, decades ago, synthesized the unique Afrobeat sound from highlife, funk and jazz; the sons are also evolving – even if tentatively – their own styles, simultaneously building on and departing from their father’s trademark sound. “Afro-beat is just my starting point,” Femi told the New York Times in 1999. Seun, having inherited the Egypt 80 band, does live performances of his father’s classics, but has also started to define his own musical course, releasing his debut album, Many Things, in 2008. “I don’t see a conflict in continuing my father’s legacy and finding my own voice at the same time,” he said, in an interview published on the Cartell Music website. One thing is certain – the two sons will never be able to step totally out of their father’s shadows. They seem to have come to realise this, and have accepted it as the fate that they have to contend with. “If people

© Remi “Mista Skee” Abudu 2010

But arguably the greatest legacy he left, his real “weapons of the future” were two of his sons: Femi and Seun, the eldest and the youngest respectively. Between them both, Afrobeat and ‘Felasophy’ are today alive and well, albeit in varying forms, and reaching audiences that missed the first Golden Age.


Apart from the obvious fact that they belong to different generations, and do not play the same style of Afrobeat; the truth is that Fela’s shoes are more than big enough for his two musician-sons to play in

Photograph ©Andrew Esiebo

say I’m in my dad’s shadow, I don’t care. It’s a good place to be. He was a very great man. But I don’t think that’s who I am – I’m an artist on my own,” Seun said, in a 2008 L.A. Record interview. “How do you as a son live up to such a big name?” Femi asked, in a recent interview with Nigeria’s NEXT newspaper. But in practice he does not seem fazed, and he has two Grammy nominations (2003 and 2010) as evidence.

Larger than life Fela was an all out rebel, a rabid critic of Nigeria’s military dictatorships, its capitalist barons, and its foreign religions (Christianity and Islam). No Nigerian musician went in and out of jail as much as he did, for everything from sedition to violating currency regulations to possession of hard drugs. Fela also formed a political party, Movement of the People, and sought to run for the Presidency of Nigeria. Writing in the Observer Monthly Magazine in 2004, Peter Culshaw describes him as “the ultimate rebel, a spiritualist, Pan-African revolutionary and a prodigious dope smoker and polygamist.” Time Magazine, in the profile accompanying Fela’s listing (alongside The Beatles) in its ‘60 Years of Heroes Issue’ in 2006, described him as “compulsive and rebellious, a kind of gifted and outspoken teenager who never quite grew up” and also as “a musical shaman, a political ideologue whose ego and genius were as large and colourful as Africa’s most populous country itself.” Fela was truly a larger-than-life character, a drama King with a flair for subversive word play. Newton Aduaka, the Paris-based Nigerian filmmaker recounted to me an incident that happened at a Fela concert he attended in the early 80s, at one of Lagos’ beaches. “There was a


7-Up flag flying, there was a Nigerian flag flying, and as soon as he came on stage he said take those two flags down... one is a colonialist flag, the other flag belongs to a country that I don’t belong to.” The only thing that matched Fela’s talent for making fans, was his talent for making foes. The man who designed most of his iconic album covers, Lemi Ghariokwu, recalls the disagreement that put an end to their relationship for nine years. “Fela didn’t respect nobody, but the few people [Fela] respected I was one of them, until our egos clashed later,” Lemi said of the altercation that put an end to their working relationship. Fela, unsatisfied with the cover the designer created for Sorrow, Tears and Blood in 1978, tore into the 23 year old publicly at a press conference. It wasn’t until 1987 that they reconciled, and Lemi went on to design the covers of Beasts of No Nation (BONN) and Confusion Break Bone (CBB). Femi has also publicly spoken of his father’s initial denigration of his music when he decided to leave the Egypt 80 band (in the early ‘80s Fela renamed Africa 70) and carve out his own path. Fela refused to speak to him for years afterwards.

Carrying on The sons, like their father, are ‘fighters’. After Fela’s death, a rift emerged between them, with Fela’s band members siding with Seun against his elder brother. The rift degenerated into a bizarre court case, which saw

Seun is the one more likely to replicate his father’s brashness of speech and manner alongside his style of dressing, while Femi has not shied away from revealing his emotional pain to the world

Photograph ©Akin Falope

Both sons also share with their father a strong cynicism about the institution of marriage. Femi, like his father, started out monogamous, but that ended with his 2003 divorce. Seun has hinted that he will never consider getting married.

Femi facing accusations of being jealous of his younger brother. While carrying on their father’s anti-establishment stance, Femi and Seun have thus far avoided some of their father’s excesses: the blatant womanising (Fela married 27 wives in one day in 1978), the public veneration of weed (Seun still smokes; Femi says he stopped in 2006), the brushes with the law, and the strident denial of the existence of AIDS. Until his death in 1997 from complications arising from AIDS, Fela denied the existence of the disease. In his book, Fela: From West Africa to West Broadway, Trevor Schoonmaker writes: “In a sad irony, Fela’s final song was called ‘C.S.A.S. (Condom Scallywag and Scatter)’, a song where he claimed the use of condoms to be ‘un-African’. Yet Fela died from the illness he never believed in...” Femi on the other hand has been a vocal HIV/AIDS campaigner, since his father’s death. He has performed at concerts to raise awareness and funds for the work of NGOs, and appeared in commercials. His 2001 album, Fight to Win, contained a track titled “Stop AIDS.” For his work in the fight against AIDS, UNICEF in 2002 appointed him as its Special Representative. At that time he said: “One of the most important actions for people in influential positions is to raise the alarm around AIDS loudly and clearly.” Tragically, his father never realised this.

Fela strove to cultivate an image of himself as invincible, immortal even. And this showed in his names: Fela (“he who emanates greatness”), Anikulapo (“one who has death in his pouch”), with which he replaced “Ransome”; and Kuti (“one who never dies”). Seun is the one more likely to replicate his father’s brashness of speech and manner alongside his style of dressing, while Femi has not shied away from revealing his emotional pain to the world. Of the period a few years ago during which his mother died and his marriage crashed, he told Remix Magazine: “it was the hardest time in my life. I’d lost everything I really believed in, my family… it has changed my way of thinking. My beliefs had been taken from me.” Femi has already established an international career, while Seun is still in the early stages of one. There is often the temptation to compare both of them, in a bid to establish who the better musician is. Apart from the obvious fact that they belong to different generations, and do not play the same style of Afrobeat; the truth is that Fela’s shoes are more than big enough for his two musician-sons to play in. “My father didn’t just influence Nigeria – he influenced the world,” Seun once said. In other words, trying to define Fela’s legacy as a contest between his sons is a diminishment Abami Eda’s genius does not deserve. FAB



© Remi “Mista Skee” Abudu 2010


SOUL brother:


Born Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeol a Samuel in 1963, Nigerian soul singer , better known as Seal, was an only child to his parent s who had moved there from Nigeria and divorced when he was still an infant. Raised in Paddington by adoptive parents till 196 7, aged four he was reunited with his parents and rais ed by his father from the age of six, afte r his mother fell ill and returned to Nigeria. Desperate to sing and fed up of his father’s strict discipline, aged 15, he ran away. A few odd jobs later, at McDonald’s and in electrical engine ering, he joined a funk band called Push and toured Jap an, staying in the Far East after the ban d’s demise.


met producer Adamski is big break came when he ski’s 1990 number one and he debuted on Adam , the self-titled debut album single “Killer”. Along came er Aft e. alf million worldwid which sold three-and-a-h Seal gradually began work es, gel An relocating to Los d in 1994, which e again titled Seal release on a follow-up album, onc grooves. Building on ker slee nding rhythms with pou ut’s deb the d lace rep ce music that fills his of rock, soul, folk, and dan the already rich mixture his follow-up. wider variety of styles in first album, he enlisted a of the Year and Grammy Award for Record “Kiss from a Rose” won a forming single on becoming Seal’s best per Song of the Year in 1996, male pop vocal eived a Grammy for best the US market. He also rec became an l Sea . lion shifted a neat 5 mil performance. The album victory, Seal set my am Gr his of on the heels international smash. Hot ased in 1998. um. Human Being was rele out to create his third alb f years on a follow worked for three and a hal After Human Being, Seal his Los Angeles a creative block, he sold up album. Suffering from nths in London England. After eighteen mo home and moved back to which was 3, 200 in d um, Seal IV release he produced his fourth alb on in the United at he had been working entirely different from wh t 1991-2004 was hits album entitled Seal: Bes States. In 2004, a greatest sic “Walk on clas vid of the Bacharach / Da released, including a cover e Sugar”. An Lik s “Lip g son & the Bunnymen’s By” and a cover of Echo an extra CD with available which included edition of the album was dio album, System, e of Seal’s hits. His fifth stu acoustic ver sions of som s, glistening layers ove with hypnotic dance gro a throwback to his roots beats, followed nic ctro ele tar, and up-tempo of synths and acoustic gui g a duet with his d ‘Wedding Day’, Seal san in 2007. On the track title zing”, released e album’s first single, “Ama wife, model Heidi Klum. Th le Pop Vocal Ma t Bes was nominated for the on 25 September 2007, Awards my am Gr l nua the 2007 50th An Performance Grammy at music maestro um produced by renowned Soul, Seal’s sixth studio alb sic songs, clas of tion lec d in 2008, is a col David Foster and release featuring the ter, Fos vid Da er duc nadian pro produced by legendary Ca

Kiss from a Rose” won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1996, becoming Seal’s best performing single on the US market.

es Brown to Reading and Jam tis O , en re al another G l A ooke, Me” secured Se ow Kn ’t wor ks of Sam C on D u tegory . The single “If Yo Performance ca name but a few Male Pop Vocal st s stellar hi Be r of fo n n io io at at ards. In celebr w Grammy nomin A y m m ra G of l mpilation his nd Annua al released a co at the 2010 52 Se , 09 20 r be Decem music career, in d The Hits. le tit , ts hi st greate rnering over 15 two decades, ga an th e mmy or m s an that sp ding three Gra With a career s accolades inclu ou er el m nu od d rm an pe s le ried to su million record sa l superstar mar children an internationa is al and have three Se , 05 ds 20 ar in aw d rie ar or m t go y couple Johan Rile Fyod Heidi Klum (The Dashtu Samuel a ol e de th A of er e th Gün mains on together : Henry uel) and still re Lou Sulola Sam d an l ue m Sa o Taiw rs. FAB can soul brothe greatest of Afri


few the past r r e v o d u e lly matur erian music in o t 20 a e r s a h h ig ry to highlig ic indust lebrate N The mus d as a way to ce to take the timeian music scene. year s, ane, we would like r s on the Niger any order of e fir st issu over s and shake t, neither it is in the impact thes of the mot a top 20 char sible to measure e all exper ts in This is n nce as it’s impos scene - they ar ahala’! impor ta ve on the music we don’t want ‘w d ames an in n w e n ar tists haft and of cour se h in rt l bring foback, relax, and jousic. il w their cra 0 1 0 2 a doubt, he time being, sit nts of Nigerian m t u o h it t W ut for the hottest tale b s it h w f ne bration o our cele


0 2 c i s u M a j i a N f o s r e k a h S d n a s r e v o M e


Oseyi I



This young talented vocalist has come a long way since his backup singing days for FAZE. His debut album Free Me announced that he’s here to stay and we see good things in his future.

If you had not heard of this lawyer turned multi-talented artist, you have probably started to take notice after she grabbed a couple of awards at the Hip Hop World Awards in 2009. With her new album Wonder Woman, she brings a fresh sound that should appeal to music lovers of all ages.

After bagging the Hip Hop World Award in 2008, his chart topping album Talk About It has propelled this Jos native and his Chocolate City label to the top of the Nigerian Hip Hop Scene. His much-awaited next album is due to drop in 2010!

BANKY W Born in the US, and raised in Lagos, Banky W has become a major player on the music scene. A talented and award winning songwriter, producer and vocalist, Banky W’s new album The Banky W Experience is set to seal his continued dominance in the industry.

eLDee eLDee has continued to build on the pioneering work from his days in the Trybesmen. Trybe Records continues to sign and develop new talent, and he has found success with collaborations with artists from within and outside Nigeria. His new mixtape, Is it Your Money? is set to shake things up a little more.


OBI ASIKA Obi Asika of Storm Media and Entertainment Group is one of the biggest players in the Nigerian entertainment industry. The Storm Record label has dominated the Nigerian music scene and the reach of his entertainment empire continues to grow. He has been in the business for nearly 2 decades and shows no signs of slowing down.

TUFACE IDIBIA This former Plantashun Boyz award winning singer has definitely capitalized on his introduction to the world after “African Queen” brought him to prominence in 2006. He took home the Best R&B Award in the 2009 MTV Music Awards, and has become a permanent fixture in Nigerian Music.








Born in Paris, and raised in Lagos, Asa blends international and Nigerian musical influences to create her stunning sounds. Her vocal range is unique and has a way of calming the mind and soul after a hectic day; and her lyrical genius offers a lot more than your generic hip hop fodder. Her self-tilted debut album has brought her to prominence within and outside Nigeria and we hope to see more from this young talented lady in coming years.

Another one of the truly talented producers to come out of Nigeria in the past couple of years, Dr Frabz calls himself “the producer with the magic fingers”. He did some amazing work on Banky W’s new album The Banky W Experience as well as with rising star Omawumi and phenomenal rapper Neato C, and continues to bring his talents to every project he works on.


This award-winning producer has been quite busy lately cranking out hit after hit. His CodeTunes unit has produced music for many prominent artists, and continues to keep him on the forefront of Nigerian music. He released his much-anticipated album ID.Entity in 2009.


P Square is proof that good things come in pairs. These identical twins have been performing since their secondary school days in Jos. Back to back awards at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2008 and 2009 shows that they have not slowed down since their award winning and chart topping single “Do Me” made them known worldwide.

SASHA Dubbed as the “First Lady of Hip Hop”, and known for her keen sense of style, Sasha has been dominant since her hit single “Emi Le Gan” was released in 2003. Now signed to Storm Records, she was the first female artiste from West Africa to be nominated for the KORA Awards, and recently won the Best Female Artist Award at the 2009 Channel O Music Video Awards. Her new album Sashaspeaks will hit shelves soon, so watch out.

NAETO C The son of a former ambassador, Neato C has plans to become an ambassador for Nigerian music. He is well on his way after winning the Video of the Year Award at the Channel O Music Video Awards in 2009. He’s reported to be working on a new album due to be released soon



9ice’s eclectic and authentic sound makes it clear where he draws his influence from. He is continuing this musical tradition with his new album Tradition. This Lagos born singer/songwriter found international recognition after his performance at the “Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute” in 2008 and his win of MOBO Best African Act Award the same year.

“The hook master” is still going strong after all these years, and can be heard on so many hit songs, we’ve lost count. Sometimes called the “Nigerian Akon”, YQ has a unique ability of collaborating with other artists to create massive club hits. His new album is coming to a club near you.



This former rapper is one of the biggest DJs in Nigeria. His studio JATT Studio, and the “Road Block Street Carnival” have helped develop and expose talented Nigerian DJs and rappers. His new mixtape album hopes to replicate the success of his debut album The Definition.

The Silverbird Group is one of the largest media organisations in Nigeria, and the third largest media entertainment company in Africa. Owned by the three Murray-Bruce brothers, the group’s Rhythm 93.7 FM radio station dominates the airwaves in Lagos, and has been the vehicle for many artists to reach the public.



K-Solo is quickly becoming a hit-maker in the Nigerian music scene. He has been one of the more visible producers in 2009, with projects with Timaya, Klever Jay and Banky W. Expect to hear his influence on new albums by Timaya and Banky W in the near future.

Starville Entertainment is a relatively new entrant into the Nigeria entertainment industry, but has already started making waves. Describing themselves as a “young, bold record label, and entertainment company”, they hope to set the stage for talented Nigerian acts like Shank and Saucekid.

Don Jazzy, known to some as “the dude in the D’Banj videos” is better known as the reclusive genius behind MO Hits Records songs. Since he founded the MO Hits Label in 2004, his label has been a home to many young artists over the years, and has produced hit albums for D’Banj and other artists.






Rebel with a cause, Pan-African by choice, the king of Afrobeat art, Lemi Ghariokwu is not just the visionary graphic artist and designer behind 2000+ album sleeves in a career that spans over three decades, but also the true ‘Afrobeatnik’, outspoken and passionate speaking of the Africa he has known, the Africa he believes in, and the Africa he dreams can be help make reality through his art and the contributions of the new generation in their own little ways.


Yoanna ‘Pepper’ Okwesa met up with Ghariokwu at the Arc Gallery in London where he exhibited his latest body of work, Afro-Pop Art: Politics, Life and Lyrics to get a glimpse into his colourful world through his own words.

Art’s Own Kind I have been artistic from my childhood, I remember vividly about when I was 7 years old, I was down by the roadside in Agege, drawing a Chevrolet in the sand and the Chevrolet was passing by and it was about 6 inches close to me and I was shocked! People around started rebuking me, “Stupid boy, go and find a better past time!” I was one of the best students in art in primary school. In secondary school I was studying towards becoming a mechanic engineer so I took technical and science classes. In the meantime, I kept drawing; even in class in secondary school sometimes I got into trouble. The lecturer would be writing something on the board and I’d be sketching. By 1973 I finished secondary school, but I kept on drawing. It was the days of live broadcasts and I got a job doing live drawings and portraits of the presenters on TV shows like Youth Scene, the Bar-beach Show anchored by Art Alade, Youth Forum. One advertising company wanted to employ me but I didn’t have any qualifications. They said they would give me a two-week training. As a young person I was a bit radical though quiet, but within two weeks, I realized there was nothing they were doing that I couldn’t do. I handed the water, the paint, the brushes to the artists. I kept on doing what I was doing.

Turning Point The turning point in my life came in 1974, with two instances that determined my professional career, my professional destiny. There was the release of the Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon which was a big hit. In my neighbourhood I used to do portraits for people. There was a beer parlour next door to my parents’ house and the owner of the place asked me to a Bruce Lee poster. I made the poster with the main actors, Bruce Lee, John Saxon and Jim Kelly, and he hung it on the wall of his beer parlour. That’s first event. The second event was the release of Fela’s album Roforofo Fight. When I got the record, I was looking at the sleeve – it had a photograph of Fela with a microphone. The word ‘roforofo’ in Yoruba means mud and ‘roforofo fight’ literally means ‘mud fight’, so my spirit just said, “Why don’t you translate that in a drawing?” I drew Fela dancing but not fighting on mud. Then I put in the graphics. Because at school I had done technical drawing it was easy for me later to grasp the essence of graphics. There was a journalist called Babatunde Harrison – he was working for Sunday Punch. He was a regular at that beer parlour. He had recently travelled to America, the moment he got back and he came to the parlour he saw the poster. He asked who had done it and they said “One small boy next door.” He wanted to meet me so they brought him to see me. He asked to see the other drawings I had in my portfolio. He saw the Fela cover and asked if I could do covers. I answered in the affirmative reluctantly because I wasn’t confident but in retrospect I remembered I had done two covers previously. Incidentally two days before he and Fela were discussing the possibility of illustrating his covers because Fela’s lyrics were getting more socially conscious. I thought he was drunk, wondering, “Does he really know Fela?” He said he was going to bring Fela’s picture the next day for me to do a portrait and it would serve as a test. The next day he brought the picture. I suddenly realized he was serious. The very next day I had finished the portrait. He came, hailed a taxi and took me to Fela’s place. Like magic!


Ticket to Kalakuta and the Birth of ‘The Artist’ Fela’s place had a reputation – it was rugged and there is this tendency for you to be a little afraid to go into the compound. Tunde left me and said he was going to go drink in that neighbourhood. The moment Fela saw me and I was holding the portrait, he said, “You’re the artist.” I realized the guy was telling the truth he had discussed me with Fela. I tried to tear up the wrapper; I was nervous and my hands were shaking. As soon as he saw it he said two words; that was the first time I heard those two words, “Wow Goddamn!” He brought out his checkbook and wrote out a check for me. 120 Naira. In those days I used to earn 30 Naira; that was how much I charged for those portraits. My spirit said no. I said, “No Fela, I don’t want, I give it to you from the bottom of my heart.” He was surprised. He tore out a sheet of paper and he wrote out a gate pass, he wrote “Please admit bearer. Free of charge.” That was my ticket to Kalakuta. A few weeks later destiny called. The police attacked Fela’s place; he was hospitalized. When I heard about it, I waited for Uncle Tunde to come and drink at the beer parlour to ask after Fela. He took me to the hospital to see him. When we got there, there were twenty odd people so we had to inch our way and look for opportunity to squeeze ourselves in to get close to Fela’s bed so eventually we got close to him and he saw us. Tunde pointed at me. He looked at me and said, “The artist!” In later years when I told this story, I realized it was at that moment I accepted the role of the artist. When he said “the artist”, it just sank in. It was spiritual.

Alagbon Close: Union of Creative Powers He eventually recorded Alagbon Close to lampoon the police and asked me to illustrate the cover and that was my first opportunity. I was privy to the background of the song, watched rehearsals, and when he came back from the studio after recording he would perform it at The Shrine. I imagined a jailhouse and Fela in broken shackles to suggest his freedom. I actually cut out the Fela image in my original Roforofo Fight cover and pasted it on my work for the Alagbon Close cover. So each time I look at the cover of Alagbon Close I say it’s destiny because when I got the instructions to do that Roforofo Fight I didn’t know I was actually laying the foundation for the movement. It was a hit. For the first time in Nigeria they also reviewed the album jacket because it was a totally new concept. I didn’t need any other prompting to decide what my profession would be. I pioneered record designing as a profession in Nigeria and I was only 18.

Higher Learning I was encouraged a lot by my mum who could also draw. Later on I got a bit confused as to whether I should study art at a higher institution, so I sought Fela’s advice. Fela said to me I should not bother and that people like me are geniuses. If I were to go to a higher institution to study art, they would teach me Italian art and I’d have to learn it to make my grades. If I didn’t have a strong will power, it would be difficult for me to shake it off. The best thing he advised me to do was to buy books on art and read on my own and pick what I wanted to pick from it. I sought my mum’s opinion. My mum said she’d do her meditation and after her meditation, she said it was my destiny. The first book I bought was on September 1 1975 titled History of World Art. Later I read up on Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and all that. That’s why my style is eclectic. If you see all my Fela covers its like five different artists have made those covers, as a journalist I met

“Fela said to me I should not bother and that people like me are geniuses. If I were to go to a higher institution to study art, they would teach me Italian art and I’d have to learn it to make my grades. If I didn’t have a strong will power, it would be difficult for me to shake it off.” in Paris, Helen Lee, said. I did 26 covers for Fela in 19 years in a career panning over three decades – 70s, 80s and 90s. That’s how they know Afrobeat around the world now – a combination of art and music because art had to brand the music and the legend called Fela.

Brushes with the Law I was very lucky that sense as I wasn’t made to be beaten like that. I didn’t have those bones! I was going to Fela’s house every day for four years between 1974 to 1978, but I had my head screwed on tight; I lived my own life the way I wanted and didn’t get carried away by Fela’s environment or influence, so to speak. I didn’t attend the night shows for example, I was not nocturnal in spirit. I only attended the Sunday shows from 6pm to 10pm. Sometimes those things happened maybe late in the night, sometimes early in the morning I wouldn’t be there. The closest I got to a brush was that cartoon I did for YAP News in 1976. The government then gave the job to try and clear up Lagos traffic to the army who came out with this law that gave soldiers authority to horsewhip erring drivers on the streets. We felt strongly

against it. When I say we, I mean the youth political movement at The Shrine called YAP, fashioned after Young African Pioneers in Ghana established by Nkrumah. Fela was our leader and he had a press conference. What Fela said was very vitriolic but the next day the newspapers had watered it all down, so we decided to print our own newspaper and came out with this newsletter. Incidentally no one signed the story, but I did a cartoon for the cover page and I signed my name so the military authorities were really peeved, they sent some soldiers to The Shrine to arrest us but when they came they didn’t know we were the ones as we looked too young.

The End of the Union How did Fela and I part ways? That’s interesting… Our egos clashed. It got to the point where Fela rejected the artwork I did and I felt betrayed because I was totally committed to our venture of the process of mental liberation for our people through Fela’s music and my own art. I used to write comments on the back of the record sleeves of my covers – designer’s comment. That showed you the kind of respect Fela accorded me. He gave me so much freedom and believed in me. He knew I ‘overstood’, not understood, what he was doing; he allowed me to do what I pleased knowing it was for the right cause. When he rejected my art it wasn’t as if it was my ego or I was feeling it was sancrosanct but there were some personal issues and I felt he just wanted to punish me unjustly. I felt betrayed; I was broken hearted and I cried like a baby. I was 21. So I cried and I said to myself, “I am not going back to Fela’s house again.” I am cool headed, I just take it easy with things, I don’t like being quarrelsome. I can take care of sh*t, but not as many times as I had to… I read a James Bond book in the 70s where it said there was a saying in America, “The first time its happenstance, the second time is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.” In my case it would have been the tenth time so at that point I broke the relationship. It was I who stepped aside. We reconnected 8 years after in 1986. I’ll tell the story in my book. FAB


Photography Š Jide Alakija





Born in Romaniaana, and raised in Gh famed for his yle, extraordinary st ique un s as much as hi ubolor sound, Wanloc Kof the e on as d is haile and most refreshingof the s original artist debut times, his 2007 ady Green Card alre sic. considered a clas es Here Wanlov shar those with us a few of e his ak m at th things life FAB.

Fab thing about being a musician? Many women want born my pikins and I get to choose who. Musicians are really magicians that use sounds from the 9th dimension to cause chemical reactions in living things causing a chain reaction that causes physical reactions to all other things.

Fab on-stage look? Really really red speedos or white supporters… When I perform in my skirt, I can’t usually give the fans my all because I fear I might also show them my all by accident. A thought just crossed my mind: From now on I will wear underwear under my wrap when I’m on stage so I’m not conscious about testing someone’s marriage.

Fab off-duty look? Barefoot, short patchwork wrap skirt, and a snug t-shirt or bare-chested (if hot).

Fab holiday destination? Constanta…I love swimming in the Black Sea; it’s like a great lake full of mermaids.

Fab African meal? Fufu with snails, grasscutter and okro in a gingery peppery groundnut soup…or roasted plantain with groundnuts.

Fab Record/CD of all time? “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith / ‘No. 1 Mango Street’ by M3nsa

Fab read? 2000 Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah and The Stool by some Ghanaian Ayigbe guy.

Fab way to de-stress? Bottos watching and drumming…even better when done simultaneously; or reproductive wrestling.

Fab Valentine’s date ever? My only valentine date ever I can remember: I went with my first ever official girlfriend E to a Valentine Jam at another high school in Accra in 1995. My chauffeur and I got to her place in Osu and I went in to get her. She was almost ready, so put on some Tevin Campbel for me to listen while I waited: ‘I’m Ready’. This song was a lie in at least two ways: she was still getting dressed and the evening ended with just a dry lip peck. That night I saw the Talking Drums (one of the first Hiplife groups made up of Kweku-T and Abeku) perform for the first time. Then I got roughed up by an older guy from my hood who wanted to dance with my date and I didn’t have the items to say no at the time, so she danced with him to save me while I looked on in a mix of feeling punked, but relieved she at least danced that night because I didn’t have enough items to ask her to go dance with me anyway. The ‘I’m Ready’ song played in my head for weeks...

Fab thing about being African? Having big feet! I have Ashanti and Roma roots and I am a Ghanaian and Romanian national by birth, but I don’t consider myself African unless the word African is synonymous with Human Being…1lov FAB


Lyrically Fit? Nigerian Music:

Bayo Omisore takes us on a sojourn through the life and times of Naija music and asks today’s artists to ‘remember the children’.


n the mid to late 90s, millions of Nigerians came together under the auspices of Association for a Better Nigeria, or ABN, to ask the late General Sani Abacha to stay in power after ruling the largest nation south of the Sahara for close to five years. One senile man even threatened to kill himself if Sani did not heed the call to return as the civilian Presido. Our goggled Commander-inChief empowered several young Nigerians to organise the first ever million men march in Nigeria courtesy of Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha. However, despite the picture that was being painted for the benefit of the rest of the world, only Abacha’s family loved him. Everybody else was terrified of him. So when his maker called him home on July 8 1998, there were celebrations all across the country. In the same year, a new culture was beginning to take shape. Young Nigerians, mostly fresh graduates, were heading to recording studios and making Nigerian versions of Western hits. The champions of this genre, The Remedies, Plantashun Boiz, Maintain and Trybesmen called it Afro hip-hop for lack of a better label. Soon, these young men began to promote their music around the country turning an underrated new genre into a multimilliondollar industry ten years later. Today, the top five artists in Nigeria are worth several billions of naira (by my calculations anyway)! They have sold several millions of records and have fans all over the world. For the undiscerning minds, the point of the above illustration is simple: entertainers have been known to influence the behaviour of their fans, positively or otherwise. The most


“Artists are a special breed who express themselves through their music. Once he starts limiting himself by what he can say it reduces his creativity.”

popular politicians (supposedly the most powerful breed in their locale) could never draw the same crowd as the most popular musicians. No wonder then, that music has become a major factor in politics. Politicians, with all their money and power, realise that the real power lies with these ‘special’ people who wield control over the populace. This said, how much influence do musicians really have on their listeners in this part of the world? To say that our Nigerian artists are heavily influenced by music from the West would be stating the obvious. Over the years, we have been fed with the best from the West. As globalisation begins to take effect and the Internet becomes a global tool, American norms and cultures become the culture of an entire planet. Freedom of speech in the United States means that artists are allowed to say pretty much what they want to or are allowed to by their record labels. But the system that gave that much power also has the power to dictate what could be played on radio. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Nigeria. By the late 80s, rap music had begun to witness some remarkable changes in the lyrical content. From Boogie Down Productions (BDP) to Niggas With Attitude (NWA), the message may not have changed, but its delivery sure had. The Compton group (NWA) was as graphic as they could be in their descriptions of the goings-on in their neighbourhood. The American government responded by ensuring that their music could not be accessed by all and sundry. It worked! Only a million plus people bought their records. The success of NWA birthed what is widely referred to today

as ‘gangsta rap’ (Think 2Pac, The Game, 50 Cent). Fortunately, in Nigeria, the government was smart enough to establish a censorship organization. Unfortunately, it was run by old men who didn’t know Basketmouth from MC Basketmouth. While the American government struggled to ensure that lyrical content that was not meant for minors did not get to them, the same music moulded the way we talked and wrote our music. And since there was no one to check the music before it hits the airwaves, the consumers got it raw and undiluted. Which is not to say that Western influence is to blame for all our failings. For, since time immemorial, our musicians have injected lyrics inappropriate for minors in their music. But the Sunny Ades and the Ebenezer Obeys were smart enough to couch all that lewdness in metaphors and proverbs. Again, I’m sure there are others who either lacked tact or could just not be bothered to do the same. The amount of influence this ‘blessed’ cadre of people has over their fans in Nigeria is still questionable. Even though, thus far, they have been able to affect the way we talk and what we say, we still have a huge say on how we behave in public, perhaps due to the fact that we are moralists in this part of the world. At a time when Eedris Abdulkareem was the biggest artist in Nigeria, and one of the select few alongside Pat Utomi to carry the Olympic torch, he would beat anyone who dared get in his way. But his fans never laid a finger on Ruggedman when the latter attacked Eedris and his label heads on a record and on subsequent stage performances. That, if nothing

else, shows just how little influence the biggest of these acts have on the ordinary man on the streets. Still, this has nothing to do with the lyrical content of the songs and their effects on listeners, especially minors. Teenage years are formative years when a child decides whether he will heed the advice given by his parents or experience life by himself. Apart from the regular teen pressures of sex and drugs, which every young’un will have to face, there is the Third World factor, which comes in the shape of uncensored music. Music that sometimes celebrates the joys of smoking marijuana and having sex. The children are almost given no opportunity to make an unbiased decision. Lawyer and music aficionado Adewolu Adene explains it best: “Artists don’t raise kids, people do. The artist might be conscious of his role as a role model (pun unintended!) But primarily, he’s in the business to make cheddar. And from the days of Enoch and Methuselah to the days of the iPhones and iPods, sleaze has always sold. It is the duty of the regulators to set limits like they do in other climes with R-18, X-rated, PG and all. The artist will sing what he pleases. The regulator will forewarn of the content. The parents will raise the kids.” Unfortunately, the traffic situation in Lagos (for instance) ensures that parents have to leave home early and get home late, leaving the care of the kids to surrogate parents: teachers in school and entertainers on the tube. We live in a country where great emphasis is placed on Western education and dropouts were looked upon with disdain until a few years ago when the footballers started making ridiculous amounts of money just kicking pigskin about and 2Face made it cool to pursue your dreams even if it meant quitting school. This said, artists, who are unwitting role models, are also victims. They have chosen a career, which most parents will frown at until their progeny actually make something out of their lives. The onus lies on them to make money by any legal means necessary. This, in most cases, includes writing and performing sexually charged music. According to Peter Okoye of multiple award-winning P-Square, “(the fact that) we have younger ones that look up to us doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have something for the adults. Now if we’re doing something for the adults, we make it easy for them to understand.” On the other hand, Tunde Akinsanmi of StylPlus will not even tread that path. “We make sure that the content of our music doesn’t have any raunchy or negative message so anybody can listen to it.” He goes further to drive his point home. “The basic point is a lot of people look at what you do and they want to emulate, especially the minors when they can’t really tell the difference between what is good and what is bad.” Styl-Plus managed to sell an enviable number of records without sleaze or the hint of sex. Yet, even Tunde

understands the plight of his fellow artists. “Artists are a special breed who express themselves through their music. Once he starts limiting himself by what he can say it reduces his creativity.” Ace comedian AY makes the connection between content and upbringing, thus agreeing with Tunde. “I’ve always gotten that fundamental training from the very beginning and unconsciously I am always guided by the things my parents imbibed in me. However, if you do your research, everybody with a hit today is using a language people have been relating with. For instance, we have been hearing those words (koko, kolo) for a long time before they were recorded as music. But in music people will give it a different interpretation,” explains Tunde. But rapper OD views it from a different perspective. “It’s a dirty and ugly world we live in and I’m a victim as well. Sh*t was taught to me badly,” he explains, “For me, it’s about keeping it real. I feel me documenting stuff that happens around me the way it happens is doing what’s real. If I’m angry and I curse, a lot of people curse.” Does the poetic license give these artists the right to behave as they deem fit? Perhaps the most appropriate answer to that question comes from sprock (that’s soul, pop, rock) singer Con.tra.diction. “Artistes are only responsible to their consciences. I’m with 2Pac- only God can judge us!” But while some artists would breathe a sigh of relief and point to their poetic license if confronted, others such as 9ice and Olu Maintain would take the time to explain and defend, in some cases, the content of their ‘controversial’ hits. 9ice has been put in the dock for ‘supporting’ the use of marijuana in his ‘Ganjaman’ single off of his debut Certificate, defending his lyrics as follows: “I’m more of a conscious singer. If people listen to that song very well, (they’ll find) I was talking about it as a seed that germinates everywhere. You don’t need to plant it before it grows. So my question is, is there any positive thing to be known about this ganja asides from smoking it? But of course, those that smoke embraced the song more than those that listen to the lyrics. I was doing more of the questioning than praising the weed.” Unfortunately for 9ice, not so many people have the benefit of his grasp of the Yoruba language, so he might have to go on national television to explain to all and sundry what he’s talking about. Not so Olu Maintain. One of the most schooled artists on these shores, Olu knows exactly what he’s doing, which is evident in his defence of ‘Yahooze’: “There is no work of art that has not been subjected to criticism. It is your ability to justify and defend your work of art that separates success from failure. I’ve seen the age bracket that that song appeals to; I’ve seen an eight-month-old baby, twoyear-old baby, three-year-old, sing and dance

to this song. They don’t have an idea of what Internet is but the music has a fundamental background, a basis that they connect with. There is a connection between this song and the consumer. If even Jesus Christ, the son of the Almighty was criticized and crucified, who am I?” The influence urban music has on Nigerian youths is such that even children of wealthy and influential Nigerians have found their way into an industry that was once seen as the preserve of paupers and never-do-wells. Sauce Kid’s mum is a diplomat. Naeto C’s mother is the former Aviation Minister Kema Chikwe. Ikechukwu’s father is a Chief. The sons of the former and present Deputy Governor of Lagos State are in the business. Most of the above-named were sojourners in the West who returned home when they realised that music had become a major earner in their homeland. And their folks could not disagree. Not any longer! These days, our artists continue to advance like their Western counterparts. They show off their personal managers, business managers, publicists and lawyers like newly acquired accessories. They are more aware than ever of branding opportunities. They answer questions with all the care and diplomacy they can muster. They also feel the pressure to behave in a certain manner when they are in public. And, truth be told, music does have its powers. Not only has music influenced the way we speak (‘nothing dey happen!’, ‘yes boss’, ‘what’s your P?’), its influential power has reached into churches where worshippers now ‘yahooze for Jesus’! After all, there are two ways to look at this issue. In the first instance, it’s up to the artist to decide how far ‘out there’ he wants to go with his fundamental right of expression. He can be as artistic as possible in sending his message across, leaving his fans and critics with the arduous task of interpreting what EXACTLY their lyrics connote. Of course, there are other artistes who are either not smart enough or just couldn’t give a rat’s whiskers about tact or diplomacy in their lyrics. The bottom line for many artistes is the funds they might make in the immediate. But like Atlantic Records neo-Soul artist Musiq Soulchild said in “Givemorelove” from the Soulstar album, “The children need something with more substance…” Now if only every artist could think like that! So how much influence do these young Nigerian talents have on their fans? I guess we’ll know when Ruggedman’s clothing line 20th September, Ashionye’s perfume line and D’banj’s Koko Water, Kokomobile and Kokowear go into production and do the incredible numbers their Western counterparts have been known to do. Before then, let’s remember the children eh? FAB



LIKE A PHENOMENON Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo


Who knew that a young man from Ogun State, who discovered music with a harmonica at the age of 14 would one day become one of the most celebrated artists in Nigeria and beyond. No music issue would be complete without a look into the Kokolicious world of D’Banj – the man, the myth, the phenomenon. In the Beginning Born Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo in 1980 in the northern city of Zaria in Kaduna State, Nigeria to an artillery officer and a church dignitary. Although enrolled in a military school at the age of 11 and groomed to enter the military in his father’s footsteps, D’Banj discovered music through a harmonica he inherited, aged 14, from his late brother who tragically died in a plane crash at age 17. Although it was a struggle to gain his family’s blessing, which he documented in his song “All the Way”, D’Banj was intent on pursing a career in entertainment. “I don’t think I could do anything else but music,” says D’Banj, “Or I’d do comedy. Maybe I’ll join the army so I can just be something so I can sing and work. Too bad!”

The Music

Photography © Jide Alakija

While studying Mechanical Engineering at UNILAG (University of Lagos), D’banj continued his musical career with a number of collaborations, including the 2002 production“Kiss Me Again” with Ruggedman, which generated a lot of publicity. In December 2002, against his parents’ wishes, D’banj moved to London to further his musical career, soon after meeting JJC (aka Skillz which lead to new collaborations with JJC and 419 Squad and Don Jazzy. “I was in London working with JJC and 419 Squad and those were the people I was hanging out with. I made it first here. After performing in 2004, I went back home and didn’t know I was going to be big. I was going there to try and see if they would accept me.” And the rest, as they say, was history as Nigeria did more than just accept D’Banj. “In 2007 at MTV Europe Music Awards, I won the Best African Act; going back home I won Artist of the Year at Ghana Music Awards. Africa is a big continent; I do not even think about London, I’m sorry. A lot of people said that we are lucky in Nigeria and I say we are not. What’s luck? Preparation meeting an opportunity. We’ve been prepared in Nigeria. We’re constantly working. Whenever you are ready for us, you will see. UK charts, US charts, any chart, believe you me.” D’banj asserts.

The Entrepreneur Not content with just music and fame, over the years D’Banj has consciously built up a brand name which looks set to become international. From Koko Mansion to Koko Water, he has continued to widen his entrepreneual reach. “Five years from now I don’t know where I’ll be but I can tell you step by step that the Koko brand for me is one of the biggest brands that is coming out now in Africa. We finished the first ever Nigerian branded reality show, Koko Mansion. We’re already signed up for Seasons 2 and 3. A lot of people want me to do Koko Mansion Ghana and Koko Mansion Liberia. For me, that’s beyond the music. After my Globacom endorsement deal, I got together with the team and we now have the first ever celebrity phone.” With that, D’banj begins to introduce an impressive list of technical features of the 3.5G Koko Mobile. “You turn it on and you’ll see ‘File! Ose!’ It’s totally mine. Diddy has clothes but I don’t think he’s got a mobile phone,” he adds, smugly.


Photography © Jide Alakija

“I represent a continent that is over 800 million people, Africa,” D’banj explains, “So for us Jay Z, 50 Cent are good role models to look at but Africa is where it’s at right now.”

“I represent a continent that is over 800 million people, Africa,” D’banj explains, “So for us Jay Z, 50 Cent are good role models to look at but Africa is where it’s at right now.”

The Philantrophist In 2007 D’Banj was appointed as Nigeria’s first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace. Alongside this great achievement, D’banj has also used his resources to establish the Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development, in 2008, a non-governmental organisation designed as an outreach to the less privileged in the society. “I am using what God has given me to go out and do things… I will not wait for the government. We already help 4 or 5 students under our scholarship. For me education starts everywhere, from home, from your society, from your community, your organization, so we’ll continue whichever way we can because we’re doing our own thing.”

The Koko and The Kokolettes Having seen a variety of different attributes presented by the contestants of Koko Mansion, D’banj is confident that he is one step closer to finding his ideal woman. “For me it goes beyond how you look. You’ve got to just connect,” he explains before adding, in a mock Italian accent, “You’ve gotta be good!” Not surprising though, the inability to choose for a star who has ‘kokolettes’ throwing themselves at him every day. By his admission the craziest thing a fan has ever done to get his attention is “to pull the koko… to see how and if it was the long ting…” “And the same person asked me to sign… Too bad! I won’t finish that one, it’s not something I am proud of,” D’banj laughs. Confronted by our curious gaze, he is quick to add, “No no no no!”

Mo Hits Founded in 2004, Mo Hits Records is the brainchild of the musical genius that is Micheal Ajereh a.k.a Don Jazzy. Formerly one half of the dynamic duo of producers at Backbone Music in the UK, Don Jazzy had


produced for some of the UK’s top musicians but made the decision to return home to support what was than a fledgling music industry. D’Banj, convinced to return home by Don Jazzy (“Thank you Don Baba,” D’Banj says on the matter). Six years on Mo Hits’ first artist is the Vice President of the record company. “I’m already an executive director of the biggest record label in Africa, Mohits Records and we have wonderful talents from Wande Coal to Dr Sid to Prince to K-Switch and Ikechukwu is also on board now. You never know, I might be the one to fly out and instead of doing a collabo with an international artist like R Kelly, I might end up signing him to my label. That’s where Africa is right now. Predictions have said that Africa is the only place that you can sell platinum in the next 5 years.” Expanding the record Label, Don Jazzy between 2005 and 2007 signed four young artistes; Wande Coal, D’Prince, K-switch and Dr SID, yet there remains to be a First Lady. “I have to go out and search; there may even be a big competition, like the Koko Mansion. Most women still don’t want to go into music in Nigeria because of their parents and other factors affecting their decision. Once we clear that, believe you me, you will see the First Lady! Too bad!”

The Entertainer With his reign over awards ceremonies in Africa and beyond starting at the Kora Awards 2005, D’Banj remains one of the most decorated African artists, most recently swooping the Best Artist of the Year 2009 award at MTV Africa Music Awards, for the second time following his 2008 win of the same award alongside Best Male 2008. “Addictive,” is the word Nigeria PR guru Bobby Taylor uses to describe D’Banj’s personality; and there is no denying once he makes his grand entrance into a room or on to a stadium stage, no matter how small or how big his audience is, he is truly captivating. There is no denying that D’Banj is indeed, as he’d like to call himself, the “African Michael Jackson”. Or as D’Banj says, “When they call you Mr. Entertainer, you know now!”FAB





LIFE… By Chidi Eke

Re-examining what it means to live ‘FAB’ with a populist touch, in a world progressively segregated into the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots.’


epending on where one ranks in the pecking order of things, a fabulous lifestyle has different realistic connotations for each of us. At the very top of the chain is an endless milieu of privates – private islands, private jets, private parties with alfresco cocktail bars and the occasional private wilfulness. For the vast majority of mankind however, the sense of lavishness has had to be largely more… How shall I explain? Inclusive. Having to do with Premium Economy; and being calibrated by the glass, rather than the bottle. Then again, recent times have seen an overlap in the notions of luxury relative to status due to an increasingly knowledgeable and cosmopolitan Nigerian youth, who don’t just use “swagger” as an exhortation, but truly exemplify it. The fact is, if you belong to the

new generation of Nigerians today, anywhere between 21 and 40, chances are that you are thinking big. Really big. And more so, because you feel you probably have to. Gone are the days when a young man or woman is content – proud, even - to get by on an honest civil-servant’s salary; these days, living FAB has increasingly come to mean claiming all the perks of success after hard work - not necessarily in that order. And too often, it’s the standard by which we are judged. I should clarify here: there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting the finer things in life. Even the most monastic working man has let his mind wander casually over days of customized clothes, scenic locations and deeply gratifying servility. And it is a legitimate entitlement of anyone who can afford it. But I happen to believe that all the material acquisitions in this world cannot be an adequate barometer to measure the quality of life.

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury…” -Coco Chanel

For all the stately whips, the swanky clothes and high-end holidays abroad, the theory of the “good life” is still missing one key ingredient: the life itself - as the only accurate index, the sine qua non, of what we are really about. Living “FAB” will possibly always be a relative term, but in defining what it means to us, I feel it is important not to view it as a material question, or a moral question either. A fabulous life, essentially, should reflect the character of the heart and the essence of the soul with which we live it. Therein lies authentic style. Having said that, I look forward to my first private party in St. Tropez… FAB





or Freddie Achom, owner of the Mayfair Nightclub Jalouse, the wide open spaces of his loft apartment are the ultimate luxury, says Pip McCormac.

“I’ve always loved those moments in movies when a guy walks into his loft apartment, throws down his jacket and walks across a wide open space,”says Freddie Achom. “And that’s what I tried to re-create here.” He says he’s not the typical show-offy nightclub owner, though. ‘I don’t call my Ferrari a Ferrari, I call it my ‘red car’“ - but his Hampstead apartment, which he shares with his Latvian model girlfriend Linda Znotina and their daughter Tigerlily, was formerly owned by the grandson of Cubby Broccoli, producer of the James Bond films. Between hosting the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Leonardo DiCaprio at the club, Achom had his work cut out when it came to renovating the flat. The sofa was from, the rug was from and the chairs and wallpaper were made to order by Living in Space, the interior designers he called in to oversee the project. Achom’s bed was made from an antique mirror frame that was sawn in half, painted and turned into a bedstead. “I need my bedroom to be dark. It’s late when I get home from work, so it’s often already light outside when I’m trying to get some sleep,” he says. The mirror and bed in the guest room were found at an antiques fair and refurbished; for similar, try The wallpaper is by Meg Mathews, available from Liberty. “Meg is a friend of mine, she’s really cool,” Achom says. “This design had only been available as a fabric and I persuaded her to make it into a wallpaper, which has now been rolled out for sale. She designed the rock room at Jalouse, too.” Living in Space: Jalouse:


Š Jake Fitzjones



The C63 AMG is not just a car; it’s a vehicle that commands acknowledgement on a stage set at the highest level of design and engineering. This car can produce an amount of pleasure that can only be described as a raw spectacle, like riding on the back of a hungry lion. There are people who prefer action to just words, an image to text, and silence to gibberish. The C63 delivers a proud fighter, head raised high while munching down hard on pure adrenalin. A machine serviced at NASA, where nothing below perfection is accepted like a premier league managers’ positions. A red carpet should be placed beneath its 4 polymer compounded cylindrical Italian shoes. The C63 is an efficient athletic postman delivering a message to all who aren’t on the VIP list for the best 5 seats on any paved road in the country, a message that says when you have the best, you do not need to strain your vocal chords on letting other beings around your vicinity know what you have, where you are and just how much you like staying at the top of your game. With torque peaking at 600Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm, the acceleration is felt as almost effortless as your right foot reacts to gravity. 457 of the cleanest and most well groomed race horses professionally folded and tucked in nicely under the visually eye watering creases of the AU bonnet. The C63 feels so fluid and beautifully balanced like a Chinese Olympian on a balance beam. It responds to the drivers actions with an added sharpness and a degree of precision like a SWAT team sniper, even though the C63’s ride can be firm, it doesn’t feel too harsh or noisy, even when you are throwing it around like a


By Lloyd Alara

masked Mexican wrestler. It is without a doubt a serious machine that commands respect of the highest level, so only drivers that believe that them themselves are that of a high rank, a leading role, a boss; should sit in the best chair the Mercedes can manufacture. Its rival the BMW M3 might come across as being the nicer all round sensible package but the thrill and ectasy that you get from the C63 is one that no other rival can replicate. Having your heart forced fed to you at a hard touch of a peddle is a feeling that only one car in this class can carry from the back store room. The AMG cabin is beautifully crafted while still packing a punch like stepping into a sauna constructed from the finest teak wood and nappa leathered arm rests. When equipped with the Multimedia Package the C-Class is transformed into a mobile sound studio and movie theater, similar to that of a Bang & Olfsen showroom. The latest models have an increased builtin hard drive storage capacity, leaving 6GB of space for music which around about 1,500 songs, more than enough for multiple motorway journeys that would normally leave you listening to the same CD on repeat or left alone with the simple radio that just won’t deliver the acoustic trance needed for a busy mind. With the car in Park, the system can also play DVDs through the pop-up LCD screen and cinematic Logic 7 surround-sound system. The rear-wheel-drive C63 AMG is powered by a 6.3 liter V8 that pumps out 457 hp and 600 Nm of torque which is more than enough

to put creases in your back, but the seating positions are so comfortable that you won’t mind having to iron twice. It’s stocked with a seven-speed automatic paddle shift aluminum transmission, that allows the driver to operate three individual shift modes that permit fine tune adjusts to the shift speeds for comfort, sporty and high-performance driving modes. C63 AMG Specifications: Engine: V8 6.3 liter Horsepower: 457hp at 6800rpm Torque: 600Nm at 5000rpm Maximum Revs: 7200rpm 0-100km/h: 4.5s Top Speed: 250km/h Fuel Consumption:

City: 1/100km


Urban: 1/100km


Total: 1/100km


Fuel: Super Unleaded CO2 Emission g/km: g/km 319 Pros Solid sport feel, electrifying handling, smooth ride quality, unbelievable raw and immense AMG engine, impressive Multimedia package, excellent German build quality. Cons Interior could have more flair, no manual transmission available.


FAB Gadgets

If Audi made musical instruments, what would they look like? Voila! The Bosendorfer Audi Design Grand Piano redesigned by the Audi Design Team in Munich, with its clean-cut, sharply chiseled lines. While the lid extends without a break down to the base, the keyboard has no wings at the ends. This technical masterpiece made its debut at Audi’s 100th anniversary celebration at the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt on July 16 and is now available to the public for a neat 100,000 Euros. No embellishments, just music – vorsprung durch technik. Teaming up with Audio Technica, Crystal Roc merges technical excellence with stylish glam to produce the first ever commercial crystallized headphone. Priced at £349 and available exclusively online at, Crystal PRO700 is adorned with over 5000 individual Swarovski Crystals and the quality of sound matches the incredible look – the ultimate ‘bling’ for the star in you! A state of the art alarm-clock brought to you by our friends at the Danish high-end electronics company Bang & Olufsen. Inspired by Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, it is no wonder that the

shape resembles more of a flute than your good old alarm clock. BeoTime’s three separate LCD displays show the present time, alarm time and wake-up source; which means you can either select its default chime or sync it with your favourite music, radio station or TV program to wake you up. An indisputably unique piece for the minimalist in you, but you may have to sleep on the £300 price tag though. Harman Kardon’s GLA-55 twopiece speaker set is for those who’d like to combine technical supremacy with visual impact. Designed for use with computer, laptops and portable media players, GLA-55 packs a punch not only in style stakes but audio standards with Atlas woofers and CMMD tweeters. This two-piece setup, priced at $999,99, is meant for fashion-forward desks and bedroom nightstands, but perhaps not for the faint-hearted! LP2CD is a product that has the power to make you either very happy or very sad – happy that you kept you dad’s old vinyl collection in the box room all these years, or very very sad that in a moment of spring cleaning

madness you chucked it out/ sold it at a car boot sale/dumped it in a charity shop (Select as appropriate). If you are of the latter, kindly skip this section. If you are of the former few, here is your chance to convert your grooves into digital sound files and store on an inbuilt flash memory that can handle up to 80 minutes of music at once. Once you’re happy with the final edit, slap a CD in the tray and burn your new recording. At £349.95 though, it’s not exactly an impulse buy! Perhaps more of a collector’s item admired rather than a gadget to be had; not only is Goldmund Reference II the most expensive turntable set in the world at the princely sum of $300,000 but a rarity as the US-based luxury audio company manufacture only five a year for five years. The Goldmund Reference II comes as a whole with a neatlooking 1 meter-tall table upon which the turntable rests, with the touch-controls are embedded in this tall table. The whole ensemble weighs in a very hefty 250Kg. Then there’s the technical specification… If statements full of flourish such as “liquid nitrogenrectified belt” or a “ball-circulation

linear carrier” don’t make much sense, don’t worry – just remind yourself that at $300,000, it must be doing something right.

BUDGET BUY This latest offering from Nokia scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2010– Nokia 5235 – is certainly one for those who like to carry their music wherever they go. ‘Comes with music’ our friends at Nokia assure us and with millions of tracks in the Nokia Music Store available for free download for 12 or 18 months, and yours to keep, forever, it sure comes with a whole lot of music to last you a while – 33 hours, to be more precise. With support for up to 16 GB of additional memory, you can store up to to 3,400 of your favourite tracks. Nokia 5235 boasts all the standard features expected of a mobile phone these days, but with up to 18 days standby time, it sure will give Blackberry and i-phone a run for their money. Estimated to be on offer from 145 Euros, it doesn’t break the bank, either. And hey, did we also mention, it ‘comes with music’? FAB



YOUR FINANCES 10 Fail-safe Ways to save your finances

While financial forecasts promise green shoots of recovery from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, it is perhaps still not time to throw the financial caution to the wind. Here are some fail-safe ways to ensure you ride the remainder of the storm and recession-proof your finances.

1. Don’t panic Financial savoir-faire lies much in the ability to keep your head when all about you losing theirs. Amidst the doom and gloom of headlines and the scaremongering of anyone with an opinion on economy, it is easy to at on impulse and get out of any investments in a bid to cut your losses. Think before you run: Selling your second home or your stock-market shares when the market is depressed means once the economy improves, you have no chance of getting your money back. So sit back and ride the storm.


Cut up your Credit Cards Time to take out a pair of scissors and cut up all the plastic you have. The era of lavish shopping sprees and impulse buys on credit is long over. Considering it was our penchant to put purchases on high interest credit and store cards and taking out loans we could not afford to pay back that got us into this mess that is the credit crunch in the first place, it may not be a bad thing after all. The bonus is you’ll find yourself spending less; a recent survey showed that those who use cash when shopping spend a sizeable 45% less overall than those who shop with a credit or debit card.


Sort out your Debt Work out every single debt you owe and map these out on an inverted triangle, with the smallest at the bottom and the largest at the top. While ensuring you pay the minimum amount back for larger ones, make extra payments for the smaller debts. Each time you clear a smaller debt, move up another rung of the ladder. Not only will moving up the rungs of your debt ladder clearing them one by one give you a sense of accomplishment, the size of your triangle and the amount of time it takes you to move up the rungs will probably put you off the idea of getting into debt for life.




Save Save Save

Get your Hustle on

Set up a regular monthly standing order into high-interest savings account. You will not notice the monthly amount going out, but you are sure to notice the neat sum effortlessly accumulated in your savings account, for a rainy day or an emergency expense.

Fortunately, we’re natural born hustlers, a skill that is much more valuable in the bleak financial landscape than at any other time. We’re not necessarily talking your groceries or filling up your tank, but spot any opportunities where you can ask for money off. Whatever you save, you can put away in your savings account. No harm in trying!


Keep your head down With unemployment rates still on the rise, no one’s job is guaranteed. One way to avoid becoming one of the casualties of credit crunch as employers tighten their belts is to make sure your employer is getting value for money. Keep your head down, give 110% at work and keep your job.


Monitor your Spending There are certain expenses we make we can easily avoid; although they may not seem much, when added, it is easy to see just how much they drain your purse of spare cash that can go towards your savings. Your morning coffee or your take-away lunch at the office are just a few examples. Once you make a spreadsheet of expenses, you can keep track of any unnecessary expenditure that can be cut back.


Drop the Efize Before you reach out for that designer item or consider throwing yourself that 30th birthday party you’ve been dreaming of for a whole decade, ask yourself just how essential your purchase is: Do you really need it or do you just fancy something new. Give yourself a 30 day cooling off period before you re-consider your purchase; during this period you will either realise you can do without, which means you did not need the item in the first place, or you will find the same item cheaper elsewhere. Either way, what is not urgent is worth waiting thirty days for.


Take calculated risks Calculated is the operative word here. Study the market, examine your finances before you jump the gun. If you have money to invest, it is much wiser to buy property or stocks at a time of depression when house prices are down and the market is falling than vice versa. When you see an opportunity, take a calculated risk and it will pay off once the market has recovered.


Get Insured When the going gets tough, it is best not to leave anything to chance and leave yourself wide open to potential risks. Speak to financial advisor and consider types of insurance policies available, from health insurance to protection against redundancy. Prevention is always a lot easier than the cure.

Matters of the


With Valentine’s Day in February followed soon after by the Mothering Sunday in March, the first quarter of the years seems to be the season of love in all its forms.Yet, while we focus so much on the matters of the heart, we often do forget to look after what matters the most: the heart. Statistics of heart disease are truly shocking. According to research by WHO (World Health Organisation) cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, with more people dying annually from CVDs than from any other cause. As cliché as it sounds, if you look after your heart, it will look after you; so here are a few tips to ensure a happy heart, not just on Valentines but for life.

heart disease. A lower calorie intake would mean not only a healthy lifestyle but also a healthy heart.

1. Exercise

4. Eat less fat

Exercising three times a week will ensure a healthy ticker. If you don’t have the budget to join the gym or the commitment to get out of bed early for a rigorous jog, there a simpler ways to get your weekly exercise: take the stairs instead of the lift or do a spot of dancing in your living room. Anything to get that heart of yours ticking goes!

The way to a happy, healthy heart goes through a diet rich in mono-saturated or polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in seafood and olive oil and low in saturated and trans fats, which are commonly found in animal produce, such as meat, milk and butter. So time to take it easy with the lamb chops and treat yourself to succulent seafood instead!

2. Cut down calories

5. Eat more fibre

Excess calories in the body turn into fat, increasing the risk of weight gain, and in turn

A diet rich in high fibre food such as wholemeal bread, fresh fruits and vegetables

Key Facts:

3. Lower your sodium intake Lower salt intake means lower blood pressure, in turn lower risk of heart disease. Opt for a diet moderate in salt and sodium, and instead enhance flavours with herbs and spices.

• Cardiovascular disease is the world’s biggest killer. • People from an Afro-Caribbean background are twice as likely to suffer a stroke than the rest of the population.


GADGETS i-calorie If you are the proud owner of an i-phone, here’s some great news: In addition to numerous applications taking care of anything from your travel itinerary to your music collection, Apple now has a new application for the health-conscious – the i-calorie, a calorie counter that will add up how much

and nuts and seeds keeps not only heart disease but a variety of other ailments at bay, from bowel cancer to constipation. Time to chuck out the processed food in your cupboards and opt for high-fibre food to get the most out of your body and your heart.

Food for the Heart Tomatoes Are a good source of antioxidant vitamins C and E, flavonoids and potassium, which regulate blood pressure.

Aubergines Provides a rich supply of heart-protective vitamin E and potassium.

Garlic Helps regulate blood cholesterol, reducing risk of heart disease.

Pomegranate Slows down the damage caused by cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.

• The UK has one of the highest rates of death from heart disease in the world - one British adult dies from the disease every three minutes.

you’ve eaten every day. All you have to do is tap in what you’ve had for each meal and the exercise you’ve clocked up, and i-calorie will work out how well you’re doing in the calorie stakes.

via USB and uploaded to a personal web page, a record is kept of activity, and compared to targets. Philips DirectLife says this “monitoring, measuring and motivating...more active lifestyle changes”. Go on, monitor, measure and motivate yourself to keep fit!

Philips DirectLife

Hula Hoop Good things come in tiny packages! This mini gadget is not just your average pedometer but a pocket-size personal trainer. It records daily movements; and once the info is transferred to a PC

No time to exercise? No space? No problem. 50s favourite Hula Hoop is back! Reportedly the secret behind Beyonce’s perfect hourglass figure and Michelle Obama’s slim waistline, Hula Hoop is the key to flat abs. Hey, what can be more fun than twirling around ten minutes a day in front of your TV?


lung function. Yoga’s plethora of breathing exercises are known to calm the entire body and intellect and provide a coping and stress management mechanism needed to survive and thrive in today’s hectic and over-crowded urban cities from Lagos to London and New York to Tokyo. Still others are drawn to the social benefits gained from regular attendance of group yoga classes. Group classes give people the opportunity to meet, keep in touch and network with new and existing friends.

Yoga practitioner since 1996 and the name behind DaYoga Studios in V.I., Dayo Adegoke introduces us to the way of life that is yoga. The word Yoga conjures up different images to different people. Ask the person next to you what they knows about yoga and you are bound to get a myriad of responses that range from the curious to the absurd, from the open-minded and willing to explore to the ignorant and downright negative. When people discover I am both a student and teacher of yoga, some can’t help but ask “What is yoga?” while others proceed to tell me either what they “know” yoga to be or to tell me stories of previous encounters with yoga or what they have heard about yoga from others. I always find these stories interesting because of the insights into the storytellers’ personalities and the extent of knowledge amongst the general populace about yoga and other non-conventional Eastern philosophies and ways of life. Perhaps a selection of comments I have received during various encounters, presented below, will give you a better idea. New student: “I always thought yoga was a bunch of people sitting around doing nothing.” After a 90-minute yoga class, the same student “felt like she had been put into a washing machine, churned upside down and spat out.” In other words, yoga had found new meaning and was now much more than people loafing around, with nothing better to do. A relative: “Yoga? You are practicing yoga? Yoga is evil!” An inquiring student: “Do you people do Astral travels?” This individual wanted to know if we “left” our bodies during yoga class. I was not sure how to respond to this question, so I recommended, as usual, that he take a class. Come to think of it, I think that all human beings are capable and do leave their bodies on a very regular basis. Don’t you? It happens when we dream of that new car, when our vivid imaginations take us to exotic places we have never been. It happens when we visualize in our minds things, places, goals and objectives. It happens when we are wide awake and our mind wanders often right in the middle of a conversation or work. It happens when we are not attentive or when our minds are not fully present or when we chose not to focus on the present moment but rather on the past or future. Another new student: “Can yoga help me lose weight?” Which brings us back to the question, what is yoga? I am often reluctant to answer the question because I believe that yoga is a “personal” practice and experience. By this I mean that yoga can and will mean different things to different people. No two people can have the same experience with yoga; rather the yoga experience will always be unique to each individual. For some, yoga is a way to keep physically fit. Yoga’s physical exercises (also known as asana in the Sanskrit language) can help to keep the body supple, strong, flexible, agile and toned. With thousands of poses to stretch, strengthen the body, yoga asanas can be easily modified for all people regardless of age. From the toddler to the 90-year-old, yoga has exercises to improve the wellbeing of every age group. Others find pleasure and benefit from yoga’s breathing exercises (also known as pranayama) which may help improve aerobic capacity and


Lastly, others are drawn to the meditative aspects of yoga which are often practiced in concert with breathing exercises. Focusing on the breath is known to promote introspectiveness and may help to improve concentration while calming our over-stimulated minds which are prone to wandering. The benefits spill into everyday life and often include productivity growth as we are better able to focus on and complete one task at a time. Yoga may hold the potential to help us realize, in the words of talented designer, Ugoma Ebilah - also a devoted yoga practitioner - our “bestest” selves through a lifetime of practice. It is because of the multi-pronged nature of yoga that I continue to be reluctant to answer the question, “What is Yoga?” Perhaps the answer is that I don’t know or cannot know what yoga is to anyone but me. Perhaps the answer to the question is best illustrated by the words of Pattabhi Jois, one of the great sages of yoga: “Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.” So, no matter what I say, no matter how well I can define yoga, no matter what stories I tell, yoga ultimately boils down to practice, to personal experience. Yoga is about getting on your mat and just as importantly, how you live life “off the mat.” Ultimately, I always suggest that the best way to find out about yoga is to take a class and figure out for you what Yoga is (or is not). More than likely, after even as little as 30 minutes doing yoga, you will be better informed. Complete a 90-minute class and your knowledge increases in proportion. For me, yoga is more than just a way of exercising. It is a way of life. It is how I keep my body young, flexible and strong. In addition, my yoga practice helps to keep me present and focused on my life’s purpose which is to serve community, country and the world around me through the full utilization of my innate talents; the dissemination of knowledge related to wellness. The gradual and imperceptible physical improvements in strength, toning, flexibility and concentration gained from regular yoga practice serve to affirm the words of Nigerian author Sefi Attah, “everything good will come” with patience and dedication. These small improvement and victories mirror everyday life where we set goals and strive to achieve them through effort, setbacks, failure, reassessment of goals and re-focused effort. So, what is Yoga? I only know what Yoga is to me. FAB





By Dayo Adegoke


“Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.” Ludwig Van Beethoven

Scented roses. Glasses of red wine. Lit candles. Holding hands. Secret stares at one another from the corners of the eyes. Two lovers. One room. An almost perfect romantic scene. One thing is missing though: Music. Music will take this scene from the physical to the ideal. Those sounds will express unsaid words locked in the embers of your heart, setting off romantic fires! The master lyricist Shakespeare wasn’t too far of the mark when he wrote “if music be the food of love, play on give me excess of it.” But this works only with the right songs. In this romance, what’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander. Your ex-girlfriend loved Mariah Carey to bits, all you needed was just one track and she was all yours; you may as well set yourself on fire if you think Mariah Carey works for all women. Before you make your choice of songs to thrill her, it’s very important to take some factors into consideration. Is she conservative—would she rather stay indoors than go on a night out? Is she the expressive type—would she shout that she loves you from the top of Burj Dubai, the tallest building Pastor in the world? Or are you not 100% sure where she fits in? -Reverend Ms: Here is our quick guide to female species and what hits the right notes when it comes Is she the religious type? The sister that would rather have you go to the to the ultimate romantic church first to celebrate God’s love before playlist? folding up after a real hot dish? For her the church Ms service is the best way to celebrate your love. Conservative Let’s thank God for love. There are different ways -Phlegmatic: to thrill her of course. And there are songs to do it She just loves her peace. And she gets it well, “1000 Miles” by Mark Schultz, “Falling” by Paul most times alone. With her, we advise, go for the Baloche, “Bless the Broken Road” by Selah. Cece classics. Blasts from the past like “I Believe (When and Bebe Winans have some fantastic Christian I Fall in Love This Time It Will Be Forever)” by Stevie love songs that won’t make her ruffle in her Wonder, “All you Need is Love” by The Beatles “I’ll Make seat. And no worries, she just needs to Love to You” by Boyz II Men should make her yearn for hear two words in them: God you. For the more contemporary, try songs that give the and love! relaxing effect that she desires like James Blunt’s “You’re Ms Beautiful” or Paolo Nutini’s “Last Request”.


Set the


Rule: Don’t be too experimental. You may find enjoy-life-as-it-comes: Madam Conservative’s songs quite “old school”, but hey it’s not your night, it’s She loves life. She loves to enjoy all that life has hers. Make her the Queen, and to offer. Dance a little, talk a little, kiss a little; and of course some fooling around. Ms Strike-the-balance-withyou are at her service. fun-always is not hard to please. If you ask her, she already has an idea of the love song she’d tell her first son to play to woo his first love. For her almost every kind of song does it - blast from the past or contemporary hits – as long as it is really cool and sexy. However, you may have an extra-thrill factor if you can figure out the songs that really knock her out. She has hordes of favourites, but amongst these, there a select few she simply adores. So come on, find the expressive songs that will allow her do all that she wants to! One thing, allow her be herself and say all she wants. You may as well keep quiet the whole evening: let the songs and her words do it. And if you didn’t hit the right notes? You’ll know immediately because she’ll be By Temitayo Olofinlua at the CD rack to make her selection.

Music to

These are not fast rules, so don’t be lazy

— do more research. Some snooping around will not hurt. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve known her for a while. If not, you have more work to do. Ask her friends. Look up some old school notes. Set her up with some songs and see how she reacts. Observe when you talk about certain songs or just ask her. It’s a plus for you if you get the right songs that can wrap both of you in the air of love. Whatever your choice, remember music makes melodies where a thousand words may never reach.


It’s a

Man’s World,

too! Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo

When we hear the words, “scent”, “perfume” or “fragrance”, we often can’t help but think of women; but lo and behold, with the rise of the metrosexual male, such stereotypes are a thing of the past. Our men are more fragrant then ever and outdoorsy, sexy or zesty, there is a fragrance for every man. CKFREE by Calvin Klein (£35 for 50ml Eau de Toilette)

ELEMENT by Hugo (£35 for 60ml Eau de Toilette)

The latest for men from Calvin Klein is an aromatic warm woody, casual fragrance for the modern man who lives life to the fullest and enjoys leading life his way. Distinctly masculine and super fresh!

The ultimate fragrance for the active urbanite on the go who breathes, dreams, lives big cities, bright lights. The fresh, spicy notes of ginger, coriander leaf and cedarwood is gives Element its truly urban edge.

HOT WATER by Davidoff (£35 for 60ml Eau de Toilette)

ONLY THE BRAVE by Diesel (£34.50 for 50ml Eau de Toilette)

Following on the success of bestselling Cool Water, Davidoff ’s new fragrance is sexy and spicy. Kicking off with Oriental freshness, the scent culminates into a finale of smouldering warm notes. Guaranteed to ravish the senses of the woman in your life with its primal masculinity.

The bottle sculpted in the shape of a clenched fist is a sure sign the latest offering from Diesel is sure to pack a punch. A dynamic, contemporary fragrance with masculine Oriental wood notes, does just that!

Classic Scent: LE MALE by Jean Paul Gaultier (£34.50 for 75ml Eau de Toilette) The essence of masculinity captured in a bottle sculpted in the shape of a perfectly formed male torso. A fresh, sexy fragrance inside – with perfectly balance notes of mint, vanilla, lavender. A true modern classic, in form and in essence.



The Modern Man’s Guide

to Soft Kissable

Skin By Lola Maja


o groom or not to groom.. That is the question. In truth a lot of men want to look their best but just simply don’t know how. Some people’s concept of skincare just about stretches to washing their face with a bar of soap followed by a splash of aftershave for good measure. A group of friends were once discussing the things they found most attractive in a man. One of the points they all agreed on was that he definitely had to be well groomed and take a pride in his appearance. As simple as it sounds, you’d be surprised how many “gentlemen” out there in this day and age have absolutely no clue when it comes to taking care of their looks. A quick glance around the bathroom cabinet or bedroom shelf may reveal a mass array of products which have sadly been abandoned, sitting in a corner attracting dust since the last millennium. These doomed items were bought for them by a loving spouse/mother/brother/friend (insert name) as a gift for Christmas/ birthday/Valentine’s (insert reason). You would think they’d get the hint after all this time. Now, on the other hand, we also have the other end of the spectrum: the new age metrosexuals. Their bathrooms hold more products than most females I know. These guys shop and collect products like they’re going out of stock. Plus they’d be the first to give you a lecture about falling asleep with your make up on (not only is this terrible for your skin, but deep down they’re probably worried about foundation and eyeliner being left on their white sheets!). There HAS to be a happy medium. I don’t want to fight for space in front of the mirror every morning, but at the same time it would be nice to be able to share the occasional face mask, indulge in a massage and get matching his & hers manicure/pedicure sessions - minus the paint job of course! I refuse to let the atrocity of un-moisturised, dry, ashy white hands and feet anywhere in my sight. This is 2010, there are certain things that are simply are unjustifiable. I know many people who suffer terribly with skin conditions, whether you’re rich and famous or you’re the average guy around town.


With treatment and the right products, you can counter balance any outbreaks, look good and feel great about yourself. All it takes is the resolve to develop and use a good basic skincare routine. Not only will it improve the current condition of your skin but also help delay the signs of aging. Let’s face it, you may think you look “rugged” but she’s thinking you look tired, unkempt and old! Good skin isn’t dependent on your schedule or your status; it’s a lifestyle choice. You either do something about it or you don’t. You never see Richard Branson looking haggard and let’s be honest, he’s a pretty busy guy. So let’s start with the basics. First things first: The most fundamental skill that every man should know without being told is how to achieve a perfect shave, it’s simple, it’s child’s play, right? WRONG! The art of shaving is a glorious male tradition. A craft that used to be passed down

from father to son, but like many traditional skills, it is dying because we don’t seem to have the time in our busy modern lives. Razor bumps, in-grown hairs and dry uncomfortable burning skin are all common side effects that many man experience after their regular shave. But if you’re willing to follow a few golden rules then you’re on your way to achieving smooth clear skin that will leave your cheeks screaming to be kissed!

Prepare the Skin The ideal time to shave is just after a hot bath. If you decide to shave at any other time of the day make sure to wash your face first to remove the surface dirt and lessen the chances of infection developing within open cuts. Did you ever wonder why the traditional barber shops always applied a hot towel to your face? It’s because the warmth opens up the pores and softens the hairs, thus causing less irritation to the skin. It’s a good idea to use a transparent oils or gel that will allow you to see exactly where and what direction you’re shaving. King of Shaves Hybrid Oil lubricates and moisturises but rinses off like a gel (£4.99) while their Alpha Oil contains antibacterial ingredients which are ideal for acne prone skin. If you’re feeling like a bit of a fancy pants, you could indulge in the Ted Baker Skinwear Shave Oil. This formulation contains aromatic oils to lubricate and moisturise your skin (£9.00)

During the Shave Shave in the direction of the hair growth or what is more commonly known as the “grain”. It takes a little more time, so take each section step by step so avoid letting the products dry out on the skin and make sure to keep the remaining parts of your face moist. But okay, I’ll be honest: It’s not the end of the world to go against the grain to get at those stubborn hairs. Just remember that shaving against the grain causes friction against the skin and contributes towards those very same in growing hairs! When shaving, it is best to begin with the sideburns, cheek, and neck. Use your free hand to hold skin taut and flat and finish with the lip and chin areas. You’re going to usually find the hair is a lot coarser around here, so leaving these until last allows the oils or cream to soften them as much as possible.

cause face rash as the quality of the blades used in disposable razors is not as good as in reusable blades. I personally wouldn’t recommend the electric shavers. If you take the time you’ll get a better result the traditional way.

After Care After your shave, treat your face with a good quality non-alcohol-based aftershave balm or moisturiser. Traditional aftershaves were almost 100% alcohol based, with a little added fragrance to soften the mental anguish. They were originally made this way in order to close the pores & prevent any infections from cuts and nicks from the dodgy old razor blades. Life doesn’t have to be so traumatic anymore. After shaving, you can now treat yourself to a good quality non-alcohol based aftershave balm such as the Aramis Lab Series Razor Burn Relief (£25) or if you want to really treat yourself, once a week you can use try out the Elemis Post Shave Recovery Mask (£25.55). It’s a masculine mask, in masculine packaging with a masculine aromatherapy scent, so you don’t have to hide it away just in case any visitors stumble across it. Right, so after all has been said and done, you now have the perfect wet shave routine down to a T. You’re using the right products for your skin type (Dry, Oily or Combination/Normal). There is one more choice left to achieve that silky smooth, bump free finish: Magic Shave Razorless Hair Removal System specially developed for black men (£2.99). The skin-conditioning formula features cocoa butter and natural oils, and in my opinion, it truly does work. I’ve recommended it to numerous clients who may have tried the powder version before in the past, but the ease of the cream now comes in two different levels, mild and regular. Using this method, you can avoid irritation and inflammation of the skin almost entirely. The cream dissolves the hair from the root therefore there’s no fuss or bother, you simply smooth it on and then wash it off. I would recommend this method for anyone who suffers from serious in growing hairs; however I would stress the importance of never shaving or applying a depilatory cream onto an open wound (ouch!). Now that you’re equipped with all the tips at your disposal, happy shaving! FAB

It’s really really important to use a high quality, non-disposable razor. Using a good razor can go a long way towards eradicating bumps. Disposable razors are much harsher on your face and more likely to






The stereotypes marring Africa’s reputation as a holiday destination are plentiful. Some are under the impression that all she has to offer are all-inclusive Safaris. Others, possibly influenced by Joseph Conrad’s imagery, believe her to be home to uncivilised cultures, infested streets, scheming thieves…. The Dark Continent, need one say more! For every one of these stereotypes, there are many beautiful, exciting and inspiring places to prove otherwise, one of them is The Gambia.

each division is divided into further sections.The Gambia is blessed with a pleasant sub-tropical climate with two distinct seasons: a cooler dry season during the months November to June, when the country welcomes the Hamataan, and from July to October the weather is wet with the arrival of nocturnal heavy rains. But come what may, an average midday temperature of 27 degrees can be depended on throughout the year. Politically, The Gambia is relatively stable and with a currency known as Dalasi, the country’s economy has traditionally been reliant on the export of agricultural products, particularly groundnuts. Tourism, though, is fast on the rise as one of the Gambia’s most important resource. While predominately Muslim (85%), The Gambia, is home to various Christian denominations and many Gambians still uphold some traditional beliefs alongside their practiced faith. Some, for example, carry amulets thought to ward off evil or bring good luck in small leather pouches called gris-gris (pronounced ‘gree-gree’). Travelling in the Gambia is relatively safe but many roads are still fairly rudimentary so one should be aware.


erhaps best known as the ancestral home of African American author Alex Haley, renowned for his awardwinning novel Roots, The Saga of an American Family, The Gambia, nicknamed the smiling coast of Africa, is the smallest country on mainland Africa.

Littered with golden beaches, buzzing with music from radios and old men’s traditional Koras and rich with markets touting bright batiks, handcrafted pieces and eye-catching jewellery….Gambia offers everything needed for a memorable retreat. But before we smear on our sun-screen, touch-up on insect repellents, adjust shades and sunhats and board a bush taxi (a cheap and collective mode of transportation around The Gambia) introductions are first in order.

The facts: Bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, and with a shape dictated by the meandering Gambia River,The Gambia is 180 miles long, but only 21 miles wide.The English-speaking country, home to over 1.5 million people, can seem at first glance a lot to take in geographically, mostly in part due to the slithering River Gambia and the fact that the country is an enclave of Senegal. Sectioned in five divisions: Lower River (Mansa Konko), Central River (Janjanbureh), North Bank (Kerewan), Upper River (Basse), Western (Brikama), and one city, the capital Banjul,


First Stop: Banjul, Bakau, Serrakunda Now, with introductions out of the way, let the journey begin. Our first stop: Banjul, Bakau and Serrakunda, only few miles from each other. The country’s economic and administrative hub, Banjul is The Gambia’s beautiful capital which once served as a trading post. A pleasant warm air and a medley of music, buzzing traffic and chatting voices envelope you as you land in Banjul International airport. The beautiful cocoa faces of young athletic men offering to help with your bags are a common sight as you make your way out of the airport to roads lined with bright flowering plants brightening up dusty-coloured buildings. Banjul offers many attractions, including the Gambian National Museum, the Albert Market, Banjul State House, the Banjul Court House, and, of course, the Arch 22. An impressive sight, the Arch was built to commemorate the 22 July 1994 peaceful coup. Amazing views alongside a museum can be enjoyed at the top. Banjul itself is not so much a place to stay than it is a city to be taken in on a warm adventurous day. The best hotels are in Bakau and Serrakunda. West of Banjul, approximately a 20-minute drive away, is Bakau, the most developed town in The Gambia. Attractions include the famous Katchikally Crocodile Pool, a sacred pool where women once bathed in hope of falling pregnant. Then there are of course the sights of the bustling port where hundreds of fishermen in their wooden pirogues offload their catch. The craft

Photography Š George Osodi


Photography Š George Osodi


market and the Botanic Garden should definitely not be missed. The Garden is so serene and beautiful one could wander around in it for hours. The town also boasts a range of 5-star hotels and restaurants, among the many include Ocean Bay Hotel and Resort in Cape Point. Within a beachfront setting, the hotel, where former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan once stayed, is charming to say the least. As you pull up to the luscious driveway centred by a marble sign announcing the hotel, there are bell-boys in perfectly-starched blue suits to open the doors for you. The main lobby exudes a comfortable and homey air, with various brown couches and striking art spread around the friendly halls. The rooms, in a range of sizes, are furnished with dark wood. The staff is friendly and helpful; even willing to help you safely wrap up your treasured paintings found at the nearby art market. Other hotels worthy of a try include the quaint and friendly Kombo Hotel in the Serrakunda region; Serrakunda, boasts impressive tourist attractions including a big mosque and batik factory. Do make time to wander around the Bijilo Forest Park in the Senegambia area. The Senegambia region is also well known for its lively and happening nightlife, with a

When in Janjanbureh, be prepared to leave behind luxurious comforts of hotels in Bakau and Serrakunda and be ready to be one with the nature. In other words camps, rather than deluxe hotels are more the nature of things in this neck of the woods. Of the few in the area, The Bird Safari Camp stands out. Set up by an English man over a decade ago, the camp offers guests a choice between African-styled huts and safari-styled tents by the bank of the river. Both are equipped with an en-suite shower, a bed and a toilet and wash basin. Interestingly, water is pumped directly from the river and lighting is provided in the evenings by kerosene lamps and candles, though there are now plans to run the camp entirely on solar. The camp also touts a swimming pool and offers a range of night entertainment including local musical bands.

Juffureh: In Search of The Roots

Photography © George Osodi

Let’s pack up tent and leave Janjanbureh for the popular tourist destination that is Juffureh. Juffureh can be reached by hopping on a ferry from Banjul to Barra and then proceeding by road for about 50 minutes. Alternatively, one can go down the river from Janjanbureh, the choice is yours. Located next to Albreda, this town is a must for most travellers interested in the slave trade and tracing their roots, as this is where author Alex Haley traced his ancestor Kunta Kinteh, who was brutally taken away as a boy from rural Gambia and enslaved in the USA. The compound of the remaining Kinteh family still stands in the town. The predominately Madinka town forms a vital part of the biannual Roots Homecoming Festival held in the Gambia. The festival, established in 1997, with programmes held across the country, is designed to attract people of the African Diaspora and is aimed at providing an authentic slice of Gambian culture through music and dance, arts and craft exhibitions, fashion shows and educational workshops. The town is 30km inland on the north bank of the River Gambia (in the North Bank Division) and offers a range of cultural sights and activities, including

broad selection of restaurants and nightclubs. Now let’s board a ferry for a slower pace.

Janjanbureh: At One with Nature Our next destination is the lovely and warm town of Janjanbureh. Formerly known as Georgetown and referred to by locals as McCarthy Island, this town was founded in 1832, and is now the capital of the Central River Division. The island is accessible by a pull-ferry from the south bank, and small boat ferries or government ferries on the north bank. It is a must for nature-lovers, especially those who love bird spotting. The Gambia boasts 560 different species of birds living within six protected areas aggregating about 40,000 hectares nationwide, under the protection of the Department of Parks and Wildlife. The town is also home to Gambia’s main prison and The Wassu Stone Circles which lie 22km northwest of Lamin Koto, on the north bank across from Janjanbureh. According to legend, The Stone Circles have magical powers; place a smaller stone on one of them, close your eyes, make a wish and wait… In due time your wish shall be fulfilled.

The Juffureh Museum of Slavery, which since 2006 has held a model of a slave ship. It is definitely worth taking a boat to James Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses Fort James, which played a vital historical role during the slave trade. Before heading back to Banjul to fly home visit the Makasutu Eco-tourism Cultural Forest Park in Kembujeh village in Western Region. Promoting biodiversity, the green park was set up initially as a reforestation plan by,two English men, James English and Lawrence Williams. It has now grown to offer a five-star lodge run to coexist with nature. The amazing serene grounds where baboons are known to wander, is also home to Mandina, a five-star eco lodge where you can rent out a range of houses, some even on the water and leave all else behind……As you have seen from taking in the quietervillage streets of Janjanbureh, green with cashew and mango trees that offer shelter to adventurous children to the gregarious markets stands of Bakau, Gambia offers a well-rounded and memorable vacation.

Getting to Gambia: There are various tour operator chartered flights to The Gambia, mostly active from November to April. Some charters operate throughout the year such as The Gambian Experience, a UK-based tour operator to theGambia, as do scheduled airlines that serve Banjul International Airport. We recommend the SN Brussels Airline with flights through out the year from Gatwick with a quick stop over in Brussels before heading to Gambia. Flights start from £300. For more information on Bird and Safari Camp visit www.hiddengambia. com and navigate to Bird and Safari camp. For information on Makasutu Park: www. For information on Ocean Bay Hotel: And for general information, please visit the official website of the Gambian tourism Office:




FAB catches up with frequent flier and the Creative Director of 141 Worldwide, one of Nigeria’s leading adver tising, agencies to find out what his travel journal has to offer

One item I my i-pod definitely take w , with ne ith me w w mater seen, albu ial loade hen on vacation ms I have d on it – is n’t had a tr unks for chanc movies I h sure since aven’t I swim a b e to listen to. And to pack lig m it when o ht, I also ta n holiday… y swimming ke my cop books I h Although ies of Har ave not h I ad a chan ce to read vard Business Revie tr y y first vacation was in November 2004, Anythin . w and g that will when I travelled to Germany for the make m I am on y v a b c ag ation. An birth of my first son. It was also my first my office d anythin heavy stays beh knows tha ind whe g work-r experience of winter and I got to see snow t unless so n to call me elated! E m . e v o e cing n r yone at experien e from ’s Apart time. first dying, you for the ’re not su I often t pposed winter, the whole trip was an eye-opener as ry to brin g fr b had om the a c k m I got to have the first hand experience of travel; before 2004, I e morabil places I’ ia and sm ve been to. all art p not even been to the Benin Republic. My mos ieces t memo r a b w le e did a lo holiday t My idea of paradise used to be Paris – I love Paris because t of trav elling wit o date was in 20 Cologne, Germany of the art culture and galleries, but recently Japan has become my 0 hin Euro to pe – a bu 7 when the same Paris, thro s thing in 2 u ri idea of paradise from all I heard about the country. James Clavell, g de fr h B elgium. W 010 altho challengin e’re hopin om ugh it mig g as I also the author of Shogun set in feudal Japan. He was a prisoner of g to d h t prove to want to g whereas m be a bit m o o to South war in Japan during World War 2 and captured the Asian culture y wife wa ore A frica for th nts to go Germany to Germa e World C while I go successfully in his novels. I’ve been reading his works over the last n y. up to P erhaps sh weeks late South Afr e’ll go to r. ica and jo year and would definitely love to travel to Japan in 2010. in her a c ouple of My wors t holiday My favourite travelling partner is definitely my wife w Christm as going as a few to my vil – hands down; even though she takes me to all these shops years ag lage, Kab the gettin Even it?” like you “Do me o. It wasn asks and clothes g ba, dur on there that where she tries ’t so muc w h a a d s h the holid ing a nightma to queue when I say no, she still says “Oh but I think it’s good. I’ll buy it!” re. There for fuel at ay but up taking wa Akure for 12 to 14 four hours s no fuel and we low, is crime – h Accra love I o Accra. to u was n rs. and the jo My last vacatio urney end My ultim ed ate trav electricity is constant, food is cheap and roads are not so bad. e l luxury always w would b anted to e a cruis travel by just close e-I ship. I rea my lly don’t lik have like to hav eyes and open the e flying. I m when I e alcohol tr y to and not re get to my when I dri destinatio member nk, I feel si anything, b n. I’d ck. ut unfor tu nately



Photography © Yetunde Babaeko



1. Why Lagos?


OBI ASIKA I was born here, but that’s not the reason. I only really discovered Lagos from the summer of ‘86 when I spent my summer holidays here and made several friends who have become lifelong friends. However Lagos is closest to New York which is most likely my favourite city in the sense of the energy, the hustle and the ‘never say die’ attitude of Lagosians. Our record label has made several Lagos anthems (“Made in Lagos”, “Eko Ile”, “Stylee, Gidi”, “Lagos City Hustler”, “Gidi Babe”) and I am proud to say we always push that agenda of representing the city. Lagos is undergoing a significant transformation under the present administration and it is I miss everything, even the stress, great to see the city begin to regain its definitely the people; with all the issues we rightful position and becoming more have in Nigeria there is something to make functional. you laugh out loud everyday. I miss just being with my people and tend to feel somehow disconnected from things when I am out of the city or the country. Kiss the Wife and get some Nigerian Food, either rice, chicken stew and beans or some local stuff; I’m ibo so I would go for something like ofe owerri or ugba or some other delicacy, the first thing that lets you know you’re home is the cuisine and then the drinks and Lagos has some really good hotels of course my friends and but you can’t go wrong with the new family. Southern Sun on Kingsway Road and the

2. What do you miss most when you are away?

3. What is the first thing you do when you return?

4. Where is the best place to stay?

Protea in Ikeja Gra is very nice as well. There is a good spread of quality hotels on the island and in Ikeja. Lagos is still very expensive but there are some good quality hotels: Eko Suites, The New Federal Palace, Victoria Crown Plaza, The Lagos is like any other city in the world, I love The Lobby Bar at Southern Sun, Oakwood Lodge in Lekki. don’t go to the bad areas late at night. If also Reeds, then old faves such as the golf you’re street smart and sensible you will not section at ikoyi Club – although I have not have any problem, but if you ever have to been for years, it has great ambience – and stop in traffic, try and keep moving. Lagos then the pool bar at the new Oriental is a unique place, the largest black city Hotel and the ever ready Eko Hotel in the world, it never stops and pool bar, not to mention all the if you make it here you will bars in town, such as No 10 Eko Hotel, Yellow Chili has make it anywhere. and others. the best Nigerian Food and ambience and for takeaways for Nigerian food, you cannot go wrong with Jevnik; both of them are in Victoria Island. It all depends on the occasion: Lekki Art Market by Jakande, a great spot for formal La Scala@ Muson is most to buy gifts, knick knacks and everything from likely still the best, also Villa Medici in music, DVDs, Rolexes and all sorts. You Victoria Island, then Reeds has good have to go to a street market if you food and a nice ambience; Il come to Lagos and this one might Sorrisso for excellent Italian be the most welcoming, also food, also in Victoria island. there are great little deals In terms of actual clubs, I’m feeling to be had. the new ones, especially Tribeca and Rehab, then of course Auto Lounge has been very popular and so has Insomnia. This Christmas gone, it seems like 10 new spots opened up. There are other hot spots on the mainland as well but the island is where I tend to party when I do.

10. What would you tell them to avoid?

5. Where would you meet friends for a drink?

6. Where are your favourite places for lunch?

9. Where would you take a first time visitor?

7. And for dinner?

8. Best place to club it up?



Photography © Jide Alakija


TheTaste of the Sea on a


By Wana Udobang

love water. I love the sea. But most of all, I love seafood. The delicate texture and warmth of oysters, the bite of a squid ring, the aroma of the sea in tenderly sautéed prawns and the succulent softness of a scallop… In Lagos,however, finding a restaurant with unadulterated seafood can be much more of a challenge than finding the clichéd needle in a haystack. With our strong buds for spice and merging so many jarring flavours, the taste of the sea in shellfish can be obliterated in one aromatic whiff.

which consisted of yam, plantain and sardine stew. Just before I got even more confused they brought me the main Marmundo menu. The sheets were enclosed in a leather book casing bound together by two pieces of wood. Though the first page was a health manual on the benefits of different sorts of fish and marine life, the menu boasted dishes like seafood chowder, prawn avocado salad, lobster fricassee and all sizes seafood platters. The African and American specialties included char grilled catfish, Mexican prawns, and Eko Akete all accompanied with Spanish rice.

After hearing a commercial for a newly opened seafood restaurant on the island Marmundo Seafood Restaurant and Lounge, highlighting their expertise in all aspects of edible marine creatures (From lobsters to muscles and crabs; you name it, they had it in their culinary repertoire), I decided to venture on an aquamarine gastronomic odyssey.

I had been craving a pasta dish where I could indulge in the taste of a selection of all my favourite marine creatures, lightly cooked in a creamy sauce with that hint of fresh basil and parsley, stirred into a nice portion of ardent linguine and topped off with a healthy sprinkle of parmesan cheese. As my eyes strolled to the pasta section, I spotted what I had been looking for. It was there but in what I assumed could only be a typo, it read: “seafood tagliatalle with penne”. Again I was engrossed in another state of confusion; tagliatalle is a type of pasta, and so is penne! Trying not to dwell on such a blatant error, I called the waiter and made my order, only to realise he didn’t even know what tagliatelle was. I decided to give him a break and said, “Just use spaghetti instead”. I went further asking what sorts of seafood will be present in my meal, to which he replied “everything”.

Marmundo had a swanky décor, though not depicting anything close to the somewhat spacey or rustic nature of your typical seafood restaurant. The walls were white, with cream linen draped across the tables. Table cloths were folded into the shape of a Chinese fan, the tables still drenched in different shapes of wine glasses and cutlery with no room for a plate. In their with their crisp white uniforms, the waiters were well-presented and cordial. Taking a look at the menu, I became a little confused by the breakfast selection of American breakfast, English breakfast and African breakfast


I was offered two warm brioche rolls to keep me going till my spaghetti seafood medley arrived. Once I was done masticating the first, just

Photography © Jide Alakija

about to dip my knife to slice open the other to watch the creamy dollop of butter melt, I realised it had been warmed up in a microwave. It felt like rubber. A gastronomic atrocity! Ten minutes later my food arrived. Before me was a trunk load of spaghetti drenched in a salmon coloured sauce pouring out of a fish shaped plate, and garnished with a sprig of parsley. As I dug in, all I could taste was fried croaker fish flaked into the spaghetti and jumbo prawns chopped into the sauce. I didn’t see any baby shrimps, scallops, not even muscles or squid. I couldn’t make much of the colour, either. There was no taste of the sea. My meal had been cooked in tomato puree; the prawns were dried out, despite the sauce, and then loaded with cream. I was chomping down a concoction of leftover fish and spaghetti… With décor prawns.

its natural taste and flavour should not be overpowered or overcooked. Eating seafood is like ritual – the space should embrace the essence of the sea, not just sport one aquarium or a boring oversized seashell. Seafood should complemented with lemon, butter, fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, light cream and sometimes ginger. Fish should be lightly cooked, gently pan-fried, or baked en’papiout or cured or even deliciously raw, without killing the taste of the sea. Paying my eight thousand Naira bill for my troubles, I walked out. The disappointment was akin to looking forward to meeting that much admired elder only to find they are full of sound and fury, short on real substance. Next time if someone suggests a taste of the sea at Marmundo, my advice is, just say, “ Grazias No Por favour”. Thanks but no, please. FAB

In an effort to get my mind off the contents of my plate, my thoughts wandered on to seafood as it ought to be served. Seafood is delicate;


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LAGOS BY NIGHT Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo

19/12/09 It’s six days before Christmas, night time in VI and streets are abuzz with the raw energy that only Lagos can carry off with such aplomb to make all other metropolitans off the world recoil, abashed at their comparative lackluster vigour to party the festive season away – night after night, street after street, time after time. Christmas 2009 and I finally am “home”, to experience the fun, festivities and frolicks of the city that literally never sleeps and party it up with the Lagos glitterati; ‘cos as they say, “There ain’t no party like a Lagos party!” Our first stop is Get Arena for the muchpublicised party to celebrate the official launch of Christian Audigier into the Nigerian wine market. With striking rock-n-roll-street-stylemeets-Hollywood-glam bottle designs, and a wide variety of wines and champagne to cater for every palate, Christian Audigier is an international brand which fuses taste and style seamlessly and frankly, we weren’t expecting anything less from the launch party. What a stellar affair it was, with a guest list that read like the Who’s Who of Lagos. Once inside we bump into eLDee who treats us to a quick glass Christian Audigier bubbly at the VIP section, as within minutes we’re out following eLDee’s ride to Aura, where he’ll be performing live shortly. I can’t help but note that Lagos streets are a hundred shades muted at night time; all sounds, sights, smells ferociously attacking your senses and demanding your attention are quieted once the night time falls. Aura is only a short ride around the corner. Andre Blaze and about a hundred cameras welcome eLDee as he is rushed to the VIP


area. It is now 2am and I can’t help but nibble on the finger food laid out in front of me. Another thirtly minutes and eLDee hit the stage; the crowd is in frenzy by the time he’s through with his three-song set. Tribeca is only next-door, so it’s only right to pass by and see what’s popping. We walk in the middle of the empty street (a world away from the daily go-slows) ignoring the hundred and one boys trying to sell you anything from chewing gum to parking space. Tribeca is lush, with the warm breeze caressing sizzling skins as we sit inside the gazebos overlooking the cerulean pool. As FAB team, we hung out with our amazing PR queen Bobby T, and the lovely Nollywood ladies, Rita Dominic, Omoni Oboli. Lagos, pool side, hot Hip Hop and Naija beats… Ain’t o party indeed. 4am. Last stop, Rehab. A private party is still going strong inside, but being a tame Londoner myself, I have no energy left to even stand straight, tattering on my 4-inch heels, let alone hit the dance floor. At this point I am part marveling at the swimming pool outdoors in the courtyard and part begging Babs to hit the road; though my pleas are left unanswered for another hour – Babs, the party rider, is more likely to hit the dance floor than the road. Finally at 5am we call it a night.

24/02/09 By Lagos standards, we are such slackers, considering we’ve had a five day long lapse in between clubbing, so by Thursday we are getting antsy. Time to hit the clubs. Our first stop tonight is Marquee on the roof top of Mega Plaza – crisp and clean décor, floor to ceiling wide windows that allow you a great vista of the Lagos skyline and the outdoor space – Marquee is über-cool!

It is Tiwa Works’ All Black Everything pre-party and Tiwa welcomes us shortly after to give us our tags for the party of the year on Sunday everyone’s been waiting for. Soon after, we are on the dance floor with the FAB Bobby Taylor team, Moriam Musa and Zizi Cardow. Within two hours, the dance floor which had been totally deserted is now full – bodies harmoniously moving to the beat of the music as the DJ. We go outdoors and enjoy the scenery for a while as we gist about the days ahead and Bobby tweets she is “hanging out with Sinem and Babs at the Marquee.” See the beauty of Marquee is, while you can enjoy the pumping music at a volume which I presume is a health hazard to humans, outside on the roof top, you can have decent conversation. We should make a move. “Places to see, people to network with,” I remind Babs. But Marquee is addictive! By the time we leave, it is 2am. We head straight to Tribeca. Wande Coal is at a table with his entourage, good-humouredly obliging fans who interrupt him every now and again (by my calculations, every two minutes) to pose with them for images. DJ Neptune’s on the decks and the music is banging. The plan is to make our way to Insomnia to check out the crowd there; but it seems on Christmas Eve, the Lagosian party crowd are saving themselves up for the weekend and my feet are telling me to do the same. With that we decide to call it a day.

27/01/09 As a relative newbie (I’ve only been initiated into the Lagos club scene last April after all!), I have let a nasty flu get the better of me. Bed-ridden for most part of the Christmas day and recuperating on Saturday, I am determined to make the most of my last opportunity to go

out and play before I fly back to the UK. And the rumour has it Tiwa Works parties are quite the events to go and play at! Tribeca – for the third time in six days, here we come. Following a late start tonight, we get there shortly after midnight. As we walk over to the poolside, the heavens open up and it’s pouring down, the crowd scarpering indoors for refuge. But hey, what’s a little bit of drizzle to the 24-hour party people? I bump into a few old friends, make a few new friends. So far, so good, but there are places to see. With that, we are off to Auto Lounge. It seems the party is full swing there as well. The crowd is buzzing with electric energy; there’s hardly any room to even move, let alone dance. We catch up with a few friends, but preferring the music and the space at Tribeca, we decide to go back soon after. Not before helping ourselves to a miserly portion of suya – well, in any case miserly for N1000 a pop! Back at Tribeca, it seems more people are arriving than leaving. With different music playing indoors and outdoors, we’re spoilt for choice. This time, with the drizzle gone, we opt for the gazebos. Shortly after, we spot Obafemi Martins and Peter Odemwingie. Time for some

stargazing, I guess, as I make my way down to their gazebo where they are partying it up with Jim Iyke and introduce myself. Hey, it’s Lagos after all; you can’t blame a girl for networking! 5am. Just when I start wincing in pain inflicted on my feet by the aforementioned 4-inch heels, I see the crowd bee lining for the poolside. M.I. is in the house! There is no way I am giving up a front row “seat” even if it means I may end up falling into the pool (It’s M.I.’s phone that falls in after all). After a spectacular impromptu performance from Mr Incredible, Banky is now on stage. As he belts out “Strong Ting”, I can almost feel every single pair of ladies’ eyes gazing adoringly at Mr Capable. One of the freshest new names in Nigerian music, Whizz Kid, soon joins him. Holla at your boy!

to be in the limelight. Babs is once again on stage, this time with Kel – a firecracker of a performance. Soon after we join Banky, M.I., Kel, Whizz Kid, Lami, Banky’s manager Segun Demuren and Tiwa; I haven’t seen Banky and Segun since April so it feels good to be back with friends, back in Las Gidi… We make our exit around 5.30. In about an hour, it’ll be light. In about an hour, thousands of Lagosians will hit the road again on yet another Monday morning, in about an hour, Lagos will turn up the heat and the volume, the sounds, the smells, the sights back with a vengeance. I feel like Cinderella, leaving the party all too soon; but I’ve got a flight to catch, a magazine to put together, and an article to write on the 24 Hour Party People. FAB

Sure enough, there ain’t no party without a rendition of “Lagos Party” and the crowd whole-heartedly sing along to what is set to be one of 2010’s greatest hits and a true Lagos anthem. Before I know it, Babs gets an invite to join Banky on stage and the two are crooning away. Kel takes to the stage soon after and totally rocks the place, albeit looking reluctant












Ball d’Orange @ Victoria Crown Plaza Hotel, 28 November 2009




A stellar event hosted by Tope Olagbebi, the founder and CEO of Lagos’s leading interior design label, Sixth Sense, boasted the very buzzwords that define the label, “boldness, brilliance and panache”. The event held at Held at the Victoria Crown Plaza Hotel in VI and presented by Stella Damasus-Nzeribe to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Sixth Sense saw leading names in business, fashion and style, dressed to the nines, with a “touch of orange” come out to play.













Christian Audigier launch @ GET Arena, 19 December 2009

Zebra Garden Party @ The Life House, 18 December 2009

The “high fashion” label of wines and champagnes, Christian Audigier arrived in Nigeria in style as Connoisseur Exchange Limited (Connxchange) intorduced these premium wines and champagnes to the African Market with a private launch in Lagos, with 250 carefully selected guests. A visual and culinary feast, the launch brought together the Nigerian glitterati out to party the night away, enjoying the delectable taste of Christian Audigier.

Another Christmas, another spectacular Zebra event as Ms Zebra, Ugoma Ebilah and friends saw 2009 off in style at the Life House in VI. Doubling as a platform to highlight issues of interest to the label, from environment to culture, the night was a celebration of culture, fashion and arts with an inspirational performance by Nneka, Yinka Davies, Mike Aremu, Mfon, Awoko and Irie Band, catwalk shows featuring Limited Edition Zebra and a debut show by Irie for Men and a photography exhibition.

All excess proceeds from the 2009 Zebra Garden Party will be donated to this year’s nominated charities: The Orderly Society Trust and The Tocatina Music Development Fund.














Bring it to Life @ Jade Palace (Club Volar), 5 December 2009 Big Dreams record label landed in Lagos with a larger than life launch concert at Club Volar headlined by American hip-hop acts, Ron Brownz and Maino and Nigeria’s own M.I., Kel, Banky and co. The public relations manager of the label, Uju Obidison, observed that the Nigerian entertainment industry has grown over the years and said, “Big Dreams has come with that touch that will bring deserved placing for Nigerian music and help market it on an international level. The planned launch is



aimed at entertaining interested members of the public with different genres of music in a conducive atmosphere.” Zegna launch @ Sofitel Lagos Moorhouse, 13 February 2010 Ermenegildo Zegna, the world’s leading multinational in men’s luxury clothing is arrived in Lagos, Nigeria. As 2010 marks the 100th Year Anniversary of Zegna and coincides with Nigeria’s 50th year celebration, what better time to launch the luxury brand in Nigeria? Ahead of the store which is due to open later this year, OX3 and Zegna hosted the exclusive intimate cocktail event to usher in

the introduction of the Ermenegildo Zegna into the Nigerian market. MNET Face of Africa @ Eko Hotel, 6 February 2010 Zambian Lukundo Nalungwe, 22, won M-Net Face of Africa award after she beat nine other contestants in a pulsating contest held at Eko Hotel in Nigeria. Rosonna Hall (Zimbabwe), Ernania Rainha Manuel (Mozambique), Marvis Chinelo offor (Nigeria), Thembi Kobedi (South Africa) and Lukundo herself were the five finalists shortlisted by the panel of judges who included the M-Net Face of Africa inauguaral winner Oluchi Omweagba-orlandi, ThisDay



editor-in-chief Nduka Obaigbena, Arise Magazine Helen Jennings and fashion stylist Megan Kruger. Hosted by Studio 53’s Fareed Khimani (Kenya) and former Face of Africa Kaone Kario (Botswana) with a guest appearance by last season’s Face of Africa Kate Menson (Ghana), the finale included entertainment from Nigerian superstar D’Banj belting out his hits “Suddenly” and “Fall in Love” and the soulful South African songstress Lira, who dazzled the audience with her stylish green silk dress and brilliant performance of “Feel Good” and “Believer”.


The two-hour show, screened live from Lagos to 47 countries across Africa, M-Net proved a fashion feast with a record 26 designers, including some of Nigeria’s leading names, Zizi Cardow, Frank Osodi, Odio Mimonet, Fati Asibelua, Folake Folarin-Coker, Ituen Basi, Adebayo Jones, Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi, Lisa Folawiyo and Yemi Osunkoya, showcasing their designs the snazzy black runway alongside their counterparts from across the continent led by featured designers John Kaveke (Kenya) and David Tlale (South Africa)and including Anna Getaneh (Ethiopia), Kofi Ansah (Ghana), Anisa Mpungwe (Tanzania), Gloria WavaMunno (Uganda), Chakirra Claasen (Namibia),


Cathy Kathunzi (Malawi), Koketso Chiepe (Botswana), Liz Ogumbo (Kenya), Taibo Bacar (Mozambique) and Angela Mulenga (Zambia). And let’s not forget the international players, Christian Lacroix, Versace and Emmanuel Ungaro and US-based Nigerian jewelery designer Chris Aire. Crowned by Oluchi at the grand finale of this spectacular show by M-Net, the eighth and newest M-Net Face of Africa, Nalungwe won USD 50 000 along with a modeling contract from O Model Africa and skincare products for 12 months from Iman Cosmetics. FAB


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FAB Magazine Online Vol 1 Issue 1 - Men 1  

FAB Magazine Online Vol 1 Issue 1 - Men

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