Thursday, March 13, 2008
Oshinowo, Orji dance on highlife stage
BY CHUKS NWANNE
IT was double celebration at the Great Highlife Party held last Sunday at the O'jez Restaurant, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. The monthly show, also known as Elders' Forum, was used to celebrate the artist, Kolade Oshinowo, and actor Zak Orji, two people who have distinguished themselves in their chosen professions. Oshinowo recently clocked 60 while Orji celebrated his 50th birthday.
Organised by O'jez Entertainment, in collaboration with The Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), the event attracted friends, relatives and professional colleagues of the celebrants.
Elder Steve Rhodes, Pa Femi Asekun and Ambassador Segun Olusola — the three grand fathers of the country's art — who are considered the 'three legs' of highlife party, were present. So, was Richard Bezuidenhout, winner of Big Brother Africa 2.
While paying tribute to the celebrants, the Secretary-General of CORA, Toyin Akinosho, said the contributions of the two to the country's arts was invaluable.
The grand elders of the forum, Rhodes, Asekun and Olusola performed the traditional ritual (prayers).
Veteran highlife musicians such as Fatai Rolling Dollar, Alaba Pedro, Tunde Osofisan and Maliki Showman kept the atmosphere lively with refined highlife tunes that took most of the guests down the memory lane.
Che Chukwumerije was also on stage, belting out his palmgroove beats to the admiration of the crowd.
Since his graduation from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where legendary veterans such as Bruce Onobrakpeya, Yusuf Grillo, Demas Nwoko, Uche Okeke and others had their art training, Oshinowo has had a distinguished career, not only as a painter, but also as a teacher. The testimonies of lecturers and students of the Yaba College of Technology where he taught from 1974 before he retired voluntarily after 34 years of meritorious service in February this year, speak volumes of his creative ingenuity, commitment and good sense of administration.
Arguably one of the country's best actors, Orji, the Enugu State native, is one-time president, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). He has been a major act in many Nollywood films. In fact, the actor and musician was voted AGN president due to his ability as an actor, director and producer on one hand, and his good reputation on the other. Through his efforts and creativity in the movie industry, he has helped give Nollywood a recognisable image both at home and abroad.