From Wizkid to Sean Tizzle, Fela’s temple of Afrobeat continues to support Nigeria’s pop music.
Wizkid is Fela’s child. He might not come from the loins of Africa’s most celebrated music icon, but he is a son of the legend. How else can you justify how much access he has to Femi Kuti, and the New Afrika Shrine.
Earlier in the year, I wrote this article about how Fela has been a huge influence in Starboy’s career, how he channels the singer in music creation, lifestyle, branding and just about everything else. Fela plays a huge role in the life of Wizkid as we know it, and it that affiliation that is partly responsible for his growth and diversity as one of Africa’s most loved pop superstars.
His new record ‘Manya’, didn’t come from Afrobeat. It was a reimagination of ‘Ahomka Womu’, the 2003 hit song from Ghana’s VIP, a group which dominated West Africa at some point. He milks that nostalgia, and creates a record that is modern, plugs into the contemporary music sound formation, and pushes the culture forward.
But somehow, Afrobeat, and Fela Kuti found their way into the record. The video directed by Director Q takes Wizkid to the heart of the New Afrika Shrine, the global home of Afrobeat, and the cradle of performances of Femi Kuti. And for the first time, someone expansively used the shrine. Every corner of the Fela’s home was brought to life in the visual.
The New Afrika Shrine was opened in 2000, and is run by Femi Kuti, and it has been the choice location for a number of pop music videos. Take Burna Boy’s ‘Run my race’, Sean Tizzle’s ‘Eruku Sa’Ye Po’, Talib Kweli’s ‘Hostile Gospel’, and Tiwa Savage’s ‘Ma lo’.
“We provide them with everything they need for their video shoots,” says Sunday Essien, the manager of the New Afrika Shrine. “Musicians come here because it is a great cultural location for videos, and so we provide them with everything they need.”
Musicians who desire to use the place for video shoots will have to pay a fee, depending on the facilities that they need, inclusive of sound, lighting, band members, and more.
Wizkid had earlier sampled the shrine in the music video 2014’s ‘Jaiye jaiye’ featuring Femi Kuti. But the shots were limited. It was pretty much run-of-the-mill usage. This time we have a proper guide.
For ‘Manya’ video, Wizkid shows up at the shrine, invites a number of his celebrity friends, including music legend Akon. Like a child in his father’s home, he commands the entire venue, owning the shrine for the video. It’s the most entertaining tour of the shrine that you would ever see.
Over the years, the shrine has featured heavily in music videos and we have a few of them.
‘Hostile Gospel’ is a two Part edition song by American hip hop artist Talib Kweli. The song was released as the second video from his studio album, Eardrum (2007). Part 1 was produced by American hip hop producer Just Blaze.
Illrymz took time out in 2012 to bring something conscious to the table. he partners with Femi Kuti, and together they drop a record addressing the herd mentality that Western education demands from its students.
One of Burna Boy’s most definitive video ever, the singer took to the New Afrika Shrine, to mix culture with banging basslines for a smash hit record and a video.
As part of his re-emergence efforts, singer Sean Tizzle took the video for ‘Eruku saye po’ to the shrine. It was directed by Mex.
Tiwa Savage – ‘Ma lo’ ft Wizkid