Lagos is wonderful. The energy in this city sweeps you up and you ride on a wave of madness. The sheer number of people is exhilarating – I thought London was busy but this is something else.
After waiting for the fridge man for 3 hours again Ojo and I headed off the island to what is becoming a customary boat journey. With the boat already packed, the driver spotted 1 more passenger on the jetty and as she got on she nearly tipped the whole thing over. We regained our composure and set off for the mainland.
Some more lovely public transport – my favourite is the ‘okada’, a motorbike that can weave through the traffic – and off to a local grocery store that blared out Hip Hop. There’s a very large American influence permeating through Lagos, with Hip Hop, the style of Christian Church everywhere, and a few small hotel sized buildings housing massive Chicken Shops. We then went to Ojo’s family house and watched Aston Villa vs Wolves, as you do in Satellite Town.
I asked Ojo about Satellite Town. He said that Nigeria’s first ever Art Exhibition was in Festac, and they built huge places to house the tourists coming in for it. Satellite Town then came as an off shoot of these new buildings after the festival had finished. This was around 1970. Wikipedia tells a different story but doesn’t it always.
It was then showtime and first chance to play some music. Eko Samba rehearse in a school in Satellite Town on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This is a really brilliant samba band and with my eyes shut I could have been in Bahia – but the point is that I wasn’t. I’m in Nigeria. We played traditional samba for an hour and then traditional samba reggae for an hour. This band GROOVES!! They’re so good. Tobi is a fantastic leader.
6 million Africans were taken to Brasil in over 400 years of slavery and the result is an Afro-Brazilian culture incredibly proud of its African Heritage. Songs in Yoruba; the continuing presence of Candomble; certain rhythms native to West Africa; the use of colour and patterns and so on. Africa is everywhere in Salvador. In 2011, this Brasilian music with its roots in Africa made its way to Nigeria with the formation of Eko Samba. Set up by Seyi Joseph, whom I met playing with Eri Okan at Notting Hill this year, this is such an important project. It is West Africa’s first, and we think only, samba band. The journey this music has taken and the people it involves (and I mean all over the world) is such an incredible thing. Eko Samba sound absolutely brilliant and the band are incredibly talented. I love this music so much. What a lucky and seriously humbling experience it is being welcomed, looked after and being able to play with Eko Samba.
We returned to the sanctuary of Ibasa and after some delicious beancake and dundun, Ojo and I watched the football in a bar up the road before returning to Tobi blasting out Ile Aiye at the house. The man’s appetite for Samba Reggae is totally insatiable! It’s wonderful to be around. The fridge is even fixed! I’m covered in bites so I may go and sit in it for a bit.