Press Release

London celebrates highlife music and the pioneers of indigenous West African music

This summer, highlife, the popular West African indigenous music will be celebrated in London. Organised under the auspices of Majestic Restaurant in London’s south east, Highlife: Forward to the Past is a month-long schedule of different activities.

The event is also to reflect on the lives and times of musicians that have featured prominently within the highlife circuitry. These include but are not limited toAmbrose Oladipupo Adekoya Campbell, ET Mensah, Ebo Taylor,Joe Mensah,Alhaji K Frimpong,Dr Abimbola Victor  Olaiya, Rex Lawson,Osita Osadebe, Prince Nico Mbarga, Oriental Brothers and Orlando Owoh. Others includeRoy Chicago, Oliver De Coque,Fatai OlayiwolaOlagunju (aka Fatai Rolling Dollar), Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Koola Lobitos, ECArinze and other departed highlife greats.

Programme outline

  • Exhibition of highlife memorabilia, posters, traditional musical instruments, photographs etc at Majestic Restaurant, 330a Coldhabour Lane London SW9 8QH. This will take place through the month of July 2015.
  • Every Thursday evening, a DJ set will be playing original and rare highlife tracks alongside a live Afro Jazz band.
  • A symposium entitled: “Highlife Music and its Impact on New Generation Musicians” is billed for Thursday 23rd July 2015 from 5.00pm to 7.00pm.
  • On Thursday 23rd, a London-based Afrobeat band will entertain after the symposium. Heavily influenced by the music of Fela Kuti and music from West Africa, particularly Nigeria, the band, Eegun and the AfroLondoners features Dipo Kuye (aka Eegun, frontman), drummer Giles Narang and bassist, Josh Bradley.
  • A memorial concert of highlife musicis slated for Saturday 25th Music will be provided by the All Stars Band– a stellar ensemble ofmusicians as a tributeto the pioneers of highlife music whose musical talents have inspired generations.Eegun and the AfroLondoners will perform again on Saturday 25th July. The concert will be preceded by an exhibition, African music DJ set by Duncan Brooker and the public presentation of the highlife booklet: “Celebrating Highlife Music and the Great Pioneers”. The day’s events start at 12.00noon and last into the early hours of Sunday.

Notes to Editors

  1. Highlife, the West African popular music and dance, originated in Ghana in the late 19th century and later spread to western Nigeria, flourishing in both countries in the 1950s.
  2. By the mid-1960s, however, highlife had lost much of its audience to guitar-centred popular styles such as Juju music.
  3. Highlife as a music form, though, has not waned in relevance. The thematic concerns of the doyens of highlife music continue to ring true and appeal to life situations, especially in the black Diasporas.
  4. All Thursday events marking “Highlife Music: Forward to the Past” are free of entry and take place at Majestic Restaurant, 330 Coldhabour Lane, Brixton London SW9 8QH (http://majestic-restaurant.co.uk/) The African-themed eateryis upwardly mobile and prides itself with customer-centred innovations as the cornerstone of the drive to boost its clientele. With its hospitality and entertainment drive, Majestic Restaurant has carved a niche for itself as London’s watering hole for professionals, elites and revellers alike.

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