Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Popular Culture Artists Exhibition At Scream Gallery

Daniel's friend Nicky runs this edgy Gallery in Bruton street called Scream where we went to see the Launch Exhibition. Lots of music scores from the King Of Pop Michael Jackson, surreal pictures from Joni Mitchell, Lyrics from Jimi Hendrix, Illustrations from Ronnie Wood and doodles by Frank Sinatra - I wasn't expecting that. So many starts with more than one talent : Like it! Also spotted a few celebs including Jo Wood- She looks better in flesh that on the box I tell you :-)

Located in the heart of the West London art district, Scream is just a moment away from Sotheby's, Cork St and the Royal Academy. A main player in the contemporary art world, Scream rubs shoulders with some of London's most established art establishments as well as several renowned galleries globally.
Run by Tyrone Wood, Scream is focused on universal contemporary art and has developed a reputation as an innovative, progressive gallery working with emerging, as well as established and esteemed artists.

Arsenal Football At The Emirates - We Love You !

2 week-end's ago I was lucky enough to obtain 4 Club Level Tickets from my Friends at Arsenal for all the biz we put their way. So I decided to take 3 Clients as a gesture of good faith . Arsenal were playing Wigan ( whom just recently beat Chelsea) and we beat then 4-0. Great thing about our seats was that we were behind the Goal and saw the best 3 goals at point blank range. Guys - good spending time with you and see you again soon. Come on the Arse !!!!!

Our London Fashion Week Party At Taman Gang

Our Party

Taman Gang ( Which means Lane by the Park in Balinese) is a beautiful place with deletable food and drinks. But Oh Boy did we pack it out. Thank you to all the Fashionistas that graced us with their presence. All 350 of you ... sorry the Restaurant/Club's capacity was only 280 and some of you had to queue for so long outside. The Event was oversubscribed and better than we expected. Next time do come earlier as you now know. Thanks to Designer Vitali V for bring the beautiful people and Femi Fem for the vibes. Stef and her crew made sure we have the glamour and style needed for an awesome night. Jay at Taman Gang - Gracias for the Hospitality. We got there in the end!

At Taman Gang

the line between restaurant club (complete with DJ and bouncer), Taman Gang resembles a basement Balinese temple where candles flicker, incense smoulders against a backdrop of stone-tiled walls & bronze Buddhas. It’s a cool place for a cocktail (try the rose-petal martini) and is also a date hotspot – the atmosphere is the ultimate draw as well as the pan-Asian sharing dishes. Starters such as beef & foie gras gyoza, & crispy aromatic duck rolls, can lack panache, although red-hot prawn dumplings, Korean bulgogi beef, & lightly honeyed black cod with miso & mirin, show more skill. New ownership & a new direction have brought a 3am licence & club nights allowing the in-crowd to move in to this exotic venue. Defiantely worth a look!

Jay Z At The Roundhouse, London

Jay Z's concert at the Roundhouse on 17th September 2009 was a breath of fresh air. We took 2 very good friends as a Thank You for all our dinners and times out on their behest. An intimate gathering to see a very gifted man. He did take his time coming to the stage - 10.45pm ....rumours have it he was busy singing his latest song on BBC's Jonathan Ross Show. What's next for this Titan. Well I hear he and Will Smith have just invested $10M to put a Musical about Fela Ransome Kuti's life on Broadway in New York. Well got to get linked up as we know who is best to play Fela - Wale Ojo.

Here's a great review of the Jay Z Gig:
Without wishing to disrespect one of London's loveliest venues, there's something incongruous about Jay-Z gracing the Roundhouse. He has, as he seldom tires of informing audiences, sold 26m albums in the US and made $35m from touring alone in the last 12 months. Among the venue's forthcoming attractions are Enter Shikari, Yo La Tengo, and a night featuring Let's Talk Tactics, Personal Space Invaders and Toxic Funk Berry, all of who clearly haven't. By his standards, it's effectively a gig in a Scouts' hut with Akela's brother doing the lights. Then again, the rapper has made a habit of incongruous places. Last weekend, he was onstage supporting legendary gangsta rap outfit Coldplay. The week before, he turned up in the audience at a New York gig by Grizzly Bear. In theory, there's nothing strange about Jay-Z at a post-rock gig: his new album evinces diverse tastes, featuring guest appearances from Australian singer-songwriter Luke Steele and Mr Hudson. But try telling that to Grizzly Bear's fans, many of who found their enthusiasm for watching their band do their stuff superseded by the desire to gawp at Jay-Z and his fragrant wife, the latter wearing the stoic expression spouses wear when dragged to experimental gigs by their other half.
You could adduce all this as evidence of an increasingly whimsical approach to his career as Jay-Z nears 40, but you can't deny the excitement generated in such a relatively small space. Almost three hours before he takes the stage (backed by a muscular live band who circumvent the problem of lousy sound that regularly bedevils hip hop gigs), nodding nonchalantly like a man who owns the place, the atmosphere is so overheated he could probably exclusively perform selections from Toxic Funk Berry and still cause the audience to howl. But he doesn't. Instead, backed by a vast film screen showing footage of Nirvana trashing their instruments, he rolls out the hits: a frantic Death Of Autotune, a brass-led Roc Boys, Give It 2 Me. It sounds and looks fantastic. In contrast to a lot of his peers, Jay-Z is a compelling, kinetic performer. The crowd delightedly raise their arms and make his trademark diamond shape with their fingers. Watching, there seems nothing whimsical about his performance. As usual, Jay-Z looks like a man who knows precisely what he's doing.
Vide Clips

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti Sung By Wale Ojo At Proud Galleries

The 7th September was my good friend Abi's Birthday. Being one for understating he wasn't prepared to have a party or any festivities. So being one for celebrations I decided to invite him to another friend and actor Wale Ojo's www.waleojo.com/live tribute to the great legend Nigeria's King Of Music Fela Ransome-Kuti; at the Proud Galleries Camden. I knew Abi was an avid fan so what better way to show support for one friend and celebrate another's Birthday. So an email circulation later and a strong throng of us ( special thanks to the Guys from London Nigerian Rugby Club that made the effort - Tunde , Fela and the Crew) decided to go to the gig. What an awesome pleasure it was. There were the opening acts of singers and dancers then to my pleasant surprise the London Afrobeat Collective band rocked up and they were all white! Boy did they play fantastically. From the brass section, wind and percussions they made Afrobeat Jazz come alive. Seeing as it was a Nigerian gig, our constant battle against puntuality kicked in and Wale rocked up to sing at 10.30pm. WOW was it worth it though....not only did he look the part but God damn - He had the voice as well.....it was so surreal. And his mastery of the Yoruba language was 2nd to none. I can't wait till his US Mini Series about the Fela comes out ( Jan 2010) and then hopefully it will trickle to our blighty shores. Great work Guys .....what are we doing for Black History Month then ?

Fela was born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria,[2] to a middle-class family. His mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a feminist activist in the anti-colonial movement and his father, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, a Protestant minister and school principal, was the first president of the Nigerian Union of Teachers. His brothers, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti both medical doctors, are well known in Nigeria.

Fela was sent to London in 1958 to study medicine but decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music. While there he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a style of music that he would later call afrobeat. The style was a fusion of African jazz and funk with West African highlife. In 1961, Fela married his first wife, Remilekun (Remi) Taylor, with whom he would have three children (Femi, Yeni, and Sola). In 1963, Fela moved back to Nigeria, re-formed Koola Lobitos and trained as a radio producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1969, Fela took the band to the United States. While there, Fela discovered the Black Power movement through Sandra Smith (now Izsadore)—a partisan of the Black Panther Party—which would heavily influence his music and political views and renamed the band Nigeria ’70. Soon, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the US without work permits. The band then performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles that would later be released as The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions.

Fela and his band, renamed Africa '70', returned to Nigeria. He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio, and a home for many connected to the band that he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. Fela set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel, named the Afro-Spot and then the Afrika Shrine, where he performed regularly. Fela also changed his middle name to Anikulapo (meaning "he who carries death in his pouch"),[3] stating that his original middle name of Ransome was a slave name. The recordings continued, and the music became more politically motivated. Fela's music became very popular among the Nigerian public and Africans in general. In fact, he made the decision to sing in Pidgin English so that his music could be enjoyed by individuals all over Africa, where the local languages spoken are very diverse and numerous. As popular as Fela's music had become in Nigeria and elsewhere, it was also very unpopular with the ruling government, and raids on the Kalakuta Republic were frequent. During 1972 Ginger Baker recorded Stratavarious with Fela appearing alongside Bobby Gass.[4]

In 1977 Fela and the Afrika ’70 released the hit album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the main army barrack in Lagos and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier," referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier.

Fela and his band then took residence in Crossroads Hotel as the Shrine had been destroyed along with his commune. In 1978 Fela married 27 women, many of whom were his dancers, composers, and singers to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic. Later, he was to adopt a rotation system of keeping only twelve simultaneous wives.[5] The year was also marked by two notorious concerts, the first in Accra in which riots broke out during the song "Zombie," which led to Fela being banned from entering Ghana. The second was at the Berlin Jazz Festival after which most of Fela's musicians deserted him, due to rumors that Fela was planning to use the entirety of the proceeds to fund his presidential campaign.

Despite the massive setbacks, Fela was determined to come back. He formed his own political party, which he called Movement of the People. In 1979 he put himself forward for President in Nigeria's first elections for more than a decade but his candidature was refused. At this time, Fela created a new band called Egypt 80 and continued to record albums and tour the country. He further infuriated the political establishment by dropping the names of ITT vice-president Moshood Abiola and then General Olusegun Obasanjo at the end of a hot-selling 25-minute political screed titled "I.T.T. (International Thief-Thief)."

In 1984, he was again attacked by the Military government, who jailed him on a dubious charge of currency smuggling. His case was taken up by several human-rights groups, and after 20 months, he was released from prison by General Ibrahim Babangida. On his release he divorced his 12 remaining wives, saying that "marriage brings jealousy and selfishness."[5] Once again, Fela continued to release albums with Egypt 80, made a number of successful tours of the United States and Europe and also continued to be politically active. In 1986, Fela performed in Giants Stadium in New Jersey as part of the Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope concert, sharing the bill with Bono, Carlos Santana, and the Neville Brothers. In 1989, Fela & Egypt 80 released the anti-apartheid "Beasts of No Nation" album that depicts on its cover U.S. President Ronald Reagan, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and South African Prime Minister P.W. Botha with fangs dripping blood.

His album output slowed in the 1990s, and eventually he stopped releasing albums altogether. The battle against military corruption in Nigeria was taking its toll, especially during the rise of dictator Sani Abacha. Rumors were also spreading that he was suffering from an illness for which he was refusing treatment. On 3 August 1997, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, already a prominent AIDS activist and former Minister of Health, stunned the nation by announcing his younger brother's death a day earlier from Kaposi's sarcoma brought on by AIDS. (Their younger brother Beko was in jail at this time at the hand of Abacha for political activity). More than a million people attended Fela's funeral at the site of the old Shrine compound. A new Africa Shrine has opened since Fela's death in a different section of Lagos under the supervision of his son Femi Kuti.

[edit] Music
The musical style performed by Fela Kuti is called Afrobeat, which is essentially a fusion of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. As Iwedi Ojinmah points out in his Article "Baba is Dead - Long Live Baba," Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native "tinker pan" African-style percussion that Kuti acquired while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masakela, under the uncanny Hedzoleh Soundz. Afrobeat is also characterized by having vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy, funky horn sections. The endless groove is also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song. His band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups using this instrument only use one. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip-hop. Some elements often present in Fela's music are the call-and-response within the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela's songs were almost always over 10 minutes in length, some reaching the 20- or even 30-minute marks, while some unreleased tracks would last up to 45 minutes when performed live. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside of Africa. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards, but he also played the trumpet, guitar, and took the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa. Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the Underground Spiritual Game. Fela attempted making a movie but lost all the materials to the fire that was set to his house by the military government in power.

Monday, 7 September 2009

EA Games Fun Day At Thorpe Park

Sometimes it is really safe and true for me to say " I LOVE MY JOB" . Thanks to the skills and planning of Alistair and lovely EA Gem Marijka the EA Fun day was a most special experience for the Kids and Parents alike. I went as an "Observer" with my dear wife Paco ( Because of her browness resembling the cartoon character Paco from City Of Gold) and niece Dylan. Early start arriving at Thorpe Park at 9am. All I needed to do was put up some EA Direction signs and I was done. This gave us enough time to explore the park in its fullness. I have to say being in this business I don't usually have to queue for much but queing for 1hr 15mins for the rollercoster ride "SAW" was a strange and interesting experiences. Boy was it worth it. 2 mins of pure adreneline rush was magnificient. Stef and I went on Quantum & Rush . We enjoyed Zodiac with Dylan. I can't believe how much my wife laughed in the face of fear and death. Good on her- loving your braveness Q. After insisting on trying all the great rides - Collossus, Zodiac, No Way Out, Detonator, Nemesis and Vortex...... My favourite was SAW but it left me with a thirst for more danger.Maybe I'll start Bungee jumping again..........

Carnival 2009

This year's Notting Hill Gate Carnival was a surprising pleasure. Not only because of the smooth style we glided through the festivities...... lickle bbq at my place with some of the left over Lamb from the Polo, Number 18 Bus with the crew to the heart, crossing the dancers as we made our way to Sancho Panza & Good Times with Norman Jay Sounds systems, Akin's No 10 Goldborne Bar , Party at Westbourne and ending up at a Mad Hatter's Party in Latima Road. No it was particularly impressive and fantastic because of the surprise Guest Star visit from shores afar of my dear cousins Richard from NYC & Peter from Girona along with good friend Brenton from Hong Kong. Needless to say we have a full on itineray of fun and partying. WOW - what a day..... all that walking remionded me of a book by Stephen King called the "Long Walk" not only for the ambling and rambling but also due to us losing people as we got deeper and deeper into the maze that is the Notting Hill Carnival.
Koya,Francesca,Abi,Leigh,Abi,Caroline,Phil,Richard, Peto, Solo
Ndu,Nosa,Christian, Saloun, Wale
& all- great to all mes amis..... next year Rio ;-)