Back in the day, I used to love watching music concerts on TV but something always put me off while watching those shows; the fake mimes and lip syncing from the artistes. I would always ask myself why they didn’t just do live performances in the real sense of it. After all, people paid money to come watch them ‘perform’and not lip sync. I mean, we’ve heard the studio version of your song that’s been padded with so much fine tuning and digital accompaniments that made it sound beautiful. How about giving us some real tunes “straight outta you”. Thoughts like these were usually made up for when I listened to the music maestro, Fela and his Egypt 80’ band. His, is what I referred to as real music for the soul. But still, I believed that something could still be done to remedy this situation.
Then last year, I had a talk with Solomon Elijah; popularly known as Soulman Eli, a Mechanical Engineer and Mathematician, who found his passion in making soul fetching music as an Instrumentalist on the drums.
Solomon Elijah (CEO Drum Network Africa)
I asked him the reason artistes do not employ the services of instrumentalists on stage instead of lip syncing and he explained, that these instrumentalists end up being short payed and exploited. He sighted an instance where, an artiste could be paid about 5 million Naira for a show but when he/she wants to pay an instrumentalist for performing along side, the pay could range between #30,000 to #80,000. For him; the fact was, artistes do not provide good patronage to these musicians. At the end of the day, it looks like only the artiste makes the music while the core music makers are side lined. This was part of the reason he had started the organisation he called, Drum Network Africa. I was intrigued by the amazing details of this journey he had embarked on since 2011.
In the course of our conversation, I went further to ask him about the objectives of his organisation and he had this to say;
”We are committed to promoting drumming and performing arts. The whole idea is born out of the need to empower people in the performing arts and give them a level playing field of expression like other professionals in other fields. We engage in training, recruitment and promotions for people in the performing arts.
One of our major events called Drumxtreme Series, sits about 3000 audience annually. We partner with media houses and arts organisations across University Campuses in the country. Over the years, Drumxtreme series has become a strong brand name amongst musicians in the performing arts industry.”
“Impressive!” I thought. Talking about the Drum Xtreme Series, I later on attended the event at Unilag that year and the turn up was massive. I was more impressed to see that some veterans in the entertainment industry were in attendance. Here are some photos of them.
Dan Foster ( Veteran On Air Personality & Mc of the Drum Extreme Series 2)
Pappy J (Music Producer & member of P-Square’s 14 man music band)
Bimbo Akintola (Nollywood Actress) &Tee Mac Iseli (Percussionist and Ex PMAN President)
This is a first of it’s kind in Nigeria and according to Solomon,
“Drumxtreme series is an urban Drum and live music show that showcases musicians popularly known as instrumentalists as front line artiste. This way, we are telling the society that there are individuals who work equally hard and need their own share of visibility and promotion. We’re bringing them to limelight. The show is not restricted to drumming; it’s all encompassing of all’
So, for all you lovers of real and live music, Drum Xtreme Series 5 tagged; “Drum Xtreme Evolution: Rise of the Drum Machine” is happening again this year and the T shirts and face caps are out for grabs. There’s no fixed date yet for the event but trust me to bring you the details of the date and venue.
For your viewing pleasure, below are some of the varieties of colours for the shirts and face caps.
Check out website at www.drumnetworkafrica.com
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