ART X Live! 2018, a dynamic live art and sound interactive performance within the ART X Lagos project is set to be an electric exploration of Africa’s rich musical history with a celebration of our heroes’ past – the icons, legends and sounds that have shaped the continent’s contemporary musical landscape.
The second edition of the dynamic one-night only show, which intersects music, visual art and live performance, sponsored by Absolut and Budweiser, will bring together the fastest-rising alternative musicians and exciting young artists of the Lagos underground creative scene to deliver an unpredictable sonic and visual performance.
This year’s edition zeroes in on three distinctive eras of the continent’s musical legacy – the 80s, 90s or early 2000s and will feature Nigerian musicians BOJ; Teni the Entertainer; Ghanaian Amaarae and Odunsi The Engine (Creative Director), who will be delivering great performances rooted in an exploration of a particular decade.
Each artiste will perform a live set, accompanied by visual artists capturing a sense of nostalgia, and a reunion of emotions that traverse the past and present sounds of Nigeria’s music. Expect to rediscover, dance and immerse yourself in Africa’s formidable music scene in a way like never before.
According to Tokini Peterside, “ART X Live is not just for the musicians but serves as a safe space to showcase and celebrate the amazing creative talents available in Africa. This year, we have Odunsi The Engine; BOJ, Teni the entertainer and Amaare, a group of young creatives each breaking the mold and creating unique sounds for themselves alongside incredible visual artist, Tomisin Akinwumni. This year’s ART X Live! Will be a phenomenal body of work, a one-of-a-kind fusion of music and art curated by Lanre Masha.”
She continued: “Expect to rediscover, dance and immerse yourself in Africa’s formidable music scene in a way like never before.”
ART X Live! Is part of ART X Lagos, the first international art fair in West Africa founded by Tokini Peterside. The fair showcases and supports the breadth of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora.
In a chat with Odunsi ‘The Engine,’ who is also the Creative Director/Producer for the project said, “I feel great! It’s a great opportunity for me to display what I do apart from being a studio artist and it’s a platform for me to show what is in my mind and executes it.”
The singer, who expressed his readiness to entertain guests, also used the opportunity to explain how he arrived at his stage name, ‘The Engine.’
“It was a nickname given to me by a friend; there’s nothing more to it. I’m always sad when people ask me the question because they are expecting some deep answer, but there is nothing more to it,” he noted.
On his genre of music, he explained, “I have a style, not a genre; my style is Afro-futuristic. So, it’s like a mixture of urban, R’n’B, and hip-hop but with roots in Afrobeat and highlife.”
Though he got involved in music at a very young age, 2014, Odunsi’s professional music career kicked off in 2016.
“I used to go to a studio when I was in high school, just because I wanted to be around music and I had been listening to music since I was a kid, because of my older siblings. I had always been around it, and later in high school I stumbled on one of the software used to create music and beats and I started messing around with it,” he recalled.
Meanwhile, being a producer is of great advantage to ‘The Engine.’
“I have more attention to detail than I would have probably had if I was only an artiste,” he noted, adding, “that’s just because for me I started to make beats, and I had to listen to a lot of music to get inspired and to recreate the things I had heard and that helped mold me as an artiste.”
On his part, Lanre Masha, who is also on the bill for Art X Live! Said, “Without giving too much away, I’ll say that this year’s theme is centered around a nostalgic sonic feel. It’s the Sonic Archives, so, just be prepared to be taken back and relive some of favourite moments in African Music. Expect, good music, fun and a trip down memory lane.”
Describing himself as a simple guy, who enjoys art, music, culture and design, Masha said, “I’m avid lover of music; I participate in culture, and an observer of design.”
Recalling his decision to return home after school in the United States, the artiste said, “Around 2009, I visited Nigeria for the first time and that experience made me feel really alive and at home. Then the next five years I was in America, and that thought and that feeling just kept playing in my head. Around 2012, I quit my job and decided to follow my instinct, and my gut that there was something here for me,” he enthused.
As the curator for the project, Masha is obviously excited, as he said, “I’m super excited about this year’s show especially because of Odunsi being a creative engine. I love his energy, his talent, what he has been able to accomplish at such a young age musically, and his music growth, where he is today, it’s a really dope project. I’m a huge fan of him, Teni, BOJ and Amaarae.”
Drawing similarities between music of yesteryears and now, Masha explained, “I have a belief that there is nothing new under the sun, so there are always elements and parts of each era. It happens almost in every other field, even in fashion, in design, and any other world. You have to take from the past, and that’s why I really love the name and the theme of this show, They knew before the new. I think is on point with what we are trying to create,” he said.