Black is Gold concert soothes Kaduna
The Black is Gold concert, which took place at the Bilhat Garden in Kafanchan, Kaduna state, at the end of October, was lit up by displays from a cast of Arewa (northern Nigeria) music stars, DJs and comedians.
On the bill were Ibi, Cinch, Rockbaze, Kheengz, J-black, Shama, K-ruff, Jebo, DJ Marathon, DJ Salmz, DJ K1, Mc Mama, MC bold and others.
The Black is Gold concert, organised by a brand of vibrant emerging Northern Nigeria Artists named Zanfada, was conceived this year at the Afrinet Bluebreeze centre in Kaduna. It brings fanfare and music to several towns across northern Nigerian states with the aim of using music as therapy for areas afflicted with violence.
The event, billed to commence at 4pm, eventually started about 8pm with an entrance by the duo K1. They performed ‘The One’, debuting it on the concert stage. The audience was jubilant. K1’s appeal can be attributed to their mastery of street slang and sexually explicit lyrics.
But their energetic display was not without hitch. Power was interrupted twice, drawing protest from the crowd, but the duo improvised, responding to the situation by engaging in a rap battle during the outage.
Shama was next on stage. The audience were on their feet when he strolled in with his signature smile, rhyming in hausa “Gatanan gatanan ku”. The crowd chanted and danced to the chorus like he had held a prior rehearsal. Shama embodied the Northern vibe—he playied on multiple languages, and alluded to mythic figures. His style was slow but engaging. He spoke of the essence of love and celebrated beautiful ladies in the audience. His dance steps blended modern acrobatics, Hausa, Ham, Bajju and Fulani traditional dance steps, placing the traditional in a modern context. He used the Hausa language to blur barriers among the multi-ethnic audience.
The emergence of popular DJ, producer and recording artist Cinch on stage was highly anticipated by the audience. He transitioned from one hit song to another with ease, and his Hausa version of Olamide’s ‘Wo!’ tempted the audience to join him on stage. Security personnel on duty had to intervene.
Cinch was joined by Ibi towards the end of his performance. And together, they sang Ibi’s song ‘Haka Ta ‘ke’, an ode to love and youth.
These upcoming artists performed in Hausa in a manner reminiscent of the famous Funkiest Mallam, Eedris Abdulkareem and Danjuana of the early 2000s; artists who perfected the craft of blending Hausa lyrics with a domesticated English language that is enriched by humour.
If concerts like Black is Gold are meant to discover the next voice of Northern rap, then the biggest acts in coming years will be the talented three: Shama, Ibi and Cinch.
The rebirth of Hausa rap in Northern Nigeria and the sustenance of its tempo by emerging talents will, in coming years, provide more nights of music and dance. At the Black is Gold concert, these emerging acts demonstrated that music can heal and mend broken bonds. For these young acts, survivors of conflict may be soothed by love, sex and melody.
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