Saturday, April 05, 2008
When two seasoned artists are billed to mount the highlife stage- on the same day- to mark their birthday anniversary, then one should expect a large turnout of guest, if not a crowd. Yes, the first experience was the edition that had veteran artist Kolade Oshino and frontline actor Zack Orji-that edition recorded large crowd.
However, the 78th edition of the monthly Great Highlife Party held last Sunday at the Ojez Restaurant, National Stadium, Surulere, to celebrate filmmaker Tunde Kelani at 60 and actor Sola Fosudo at 50, was another big bang! The hall was full to its capacity; even the lobby too. In fact, Ojez management had to source for extra seats from anywhere to accommodate the crowd that kept growing bigger and bigger every minute.
Last Sunday’s edition of the monthly highlife revival initiative also called Elders Forum was special. Oh yes, special in the sense that both celebrants graced the occasion with almost their entire family members, with each cheering their own whenever their names were mentioned. Dressed in a traditional outfit, Kelani was the first to hit the venue with his wife and very long entourage. Few minutes after he ‘colonised’ a section of the hall, Sola Fosudo made his way into the venue, followed by his wife, family members and friends, immediately, highlife tune rented the airwaves.
As usual, the regulars were present at the show, except for Elder Steve Rhodes, who was conspicuously missing in the fun-filled show; well, Chief Femi Asekun was present to conduct the rituals, a traditional prayer session offered for every celebrant at every edition of the show. Ambassador Segun Olusola joined in the celebration half way. Aside the in-house band that succeeded in taking most guests down the memory lane with refined highlife tunes, other veterans who performed at the event include Tunde Osofisan, Maliki Showman, Alaba Pedro and Fatai Rolling Dollar who had an energetic performance, striking his guitar with dexterity, even at 80! Meanwhile, Che Chukwumerije had his turn on the stage; he actually opened the show.
Oh, Femi Asekun, you need to see how the old man turned the audience wild in excitement when he managed to clutch one of the microphones in his hand. Not long he started singing, the dance floor was full with guests, dancing and responding to Asekun’s songs, which he rendered mostly in Yoruba. The anchorman, veteran broadcaster and music critic Benson Idonije was caught up in that wind of excitement. In fact, it took Idonije time to stop that particular session; he enjoyed it, yes, he actually confessed.
As for paying tribute to celebrants, hmmmmm, this is one function exclusive to the Secretary General of CORA, Toyin Akinosho and he does it in style. Trust Toyin, in just few minutes, the Chevron staff, sorry, former Chevron Staff practically x-rayed each of the celebrants, pointing out their achievements one by one off heart. Anyway, Toyin has a way with history. Just hang around him, he’s definitely going to feed you with the history of Lagos, especially his growing up in Ebute-Metta or his numerous experiences in Cape Town.
Both Kelani and Fosudo were sooo grateful for the honour done to them. Happiness were written all over their faces as the dig it on the dance floor with their wives, and latter joined by their family members and other guests. The Great Highlife Party is a highlife revival initiative of Ojez Entertainment, with the active collaboration of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA).