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Nigeria: Jazz lovers want support to grow genre

Michael Ikhifa is a jazz artist who performed on the scene of the 2022 Lagos jazz festival.   -  
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The Lagos International Jazz Festival was held on April 30 as part of events to mark this year’s international jazz day. But how can the genre -which remains mainly American- compete with other music genres in a country where Afrobeats reigns supreme?

Music lovers convened on Saturday at the bay lounge in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital where they were treated to the contemporary sound of jazz. The Lagos International Jazz Festival was held as part of events to mark this year’s international jazz day celebrated on April 30.

Nigerian flutist, Tee Mac Omatshola, believes jazz is a genre that has a future in the country despite the prominence of Afrobeats: "Jazz music is a sophisticated art form for music lovers. It is played by the professionals for music lovers, for those who sit down and listen to the beauty of music."

He is not the only artiste who thinks so, Michael Ikhifa sees a bright future for jazz in Nigeria: "Jazz in Nigeria as a genre is picking up seriously, not everybody likes the performance of jazz especially in Nigeria. But thank God, a lot of people are beginning to understand what it truly means to be a jazz musician."

Promoting jazz's west African roots

Founder of Lagos International Jazz Festival, Ayoola Sadare is one of those promoting this genre of music in the west African nation. 

"Music is universal",Ayoola Sadare explains. "Sometimes you play music; it is not in English [...]It is a language of its own and it brings people of diverse backgrounds and scapes to sing, to communicate." Sadare added.

While most of the audience found the music thrilling, some had a different impression of it. 

"I love jazz and it’s super cool and relaxing, Laurence Brasseur Lonqueu told our correspondent David Taylor. "But, what I have heard so far, well, I wouldn’t call it very jazzy. It sounds more rock, more pop, but then, it is fine. I love it, we're outdoor, having a good time, I hope many people did come! "

The Lagos Jazz Festival attracts jazz musicians from all over the globe and offers local players an opportunity to learn more and improve their craft. 

Though the genre remains American, jazz lovers in Lagos continue to celebrate its west African roots.

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