Over the years, Spain continues to exceed expectations in positivity, performances and presentations as it tenaciously contributes to various development pursuits in Nigeria and Africa. From health, trade, education, Agric, defence to media, art and cultural growths, the European giant remains ‘A True Friend Of Nigeria And Nigerians’ and thanks to the unbroken relationship established decades ago between both friendly nations and peoples.
Towards strengthening national development efforts in the country, Spain in Nigeria embarked on another commendable initiative: a musical concert aimed at discovering and developing inspiring talents in Nigeria music industry and providing them with life changing opportunities and reachouts. The event, a two-day live musical presentation, held at the Balmoral Hall in Victoria Island, Lagos, on the 23rd and 24th (Thursday-Friday) of March 2023, in conjunction with other key partners in Nigeria witnessed more than 200 guests comprising key actors in the cultural scene, stakeholders in the music sector and music lovers.
The event also featured 12 bands selected to perform before an audience of excited music lovers and promoters out of which 2 were ultimately chosen. The two bands selected after their performances in front of the Spanish delegation will be traveling to Spain in July to take part in some of the most important Summer Festivals that are organized throughout Spain and attract both national and international tourists as they advance their musical careers in Spain, Europe and beyond. Certainly this event is bringing out the next Fela Kuti, Burna Boy, Onyeka Onwenu, Tems among others in Nigeria.
The VIS A VIS project is organized by Casa África, Spain’s public diplomacy institution, along with the Ministry of Information and Culture of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA), and the Spanish Embassy in Nigeria. It is a flagship professional meeting between African music industry and Spanish music producers, a project that aims at the internationalization of African music. Its main goal is to open up platforms and communication pathways between African artists and Spanish cultural agents.
In 2023, producers coming from the most important Spanish music festivals and Nigerian artists oriented to the international scene are invited to participate in VIS A VIS, and Casa África has been holding Vis a Vis for twelve years on the neighbouring continent.
The project will help to guarantee a greater presence of African music on Spanish stages by exposing and promoting the winning groups to festivals participations and tours and to help generate the cultural industry in Africa. The event further provides a space for dialogue, creating an environment conducive to negotiations, and promoting meetings between entrepreneurs, institutions, and organizations in the Spanish music industry that have an interest in African music. African artists are given the opportunity to share their ideas, creations, and aspirations with their Spanish interlocutors.
Before coming to Nigeria, Vis a Vis professional meetings have been held in Senegal, South Africa, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, and Tanzania as part of a program that helped increase the presence of African music in Spanish music festivals during the summer, when excellent weather allows for huge crowds to gather at each festival.
The much publicized and successful musical event had a 3-phase planning and execution:
The Phase 1 was the launch and submission of proposals where an online platform was open from Friday 10th of February until Tuesday 14th of March: https://visavis.es/nigeria/ from which Spanish music professionals and producers of the international Festivals in Spain preselect 12 groups to perform live in Lagos by the end of March 2023 out of 125 candidates.
These 12 groups include:
- Oge Kimono and the Massive Dread Band
- The Klan Band
- The Sound Order
- Zeeter Oliver
- Ruth Mahogany and the ARB Music Band
- Ara Queen of Drums
- Baba Ojonugwa J.F.O.
The Phase 2 was the Live concerts in Lagos held on 23rd and 24th March 2023 from which 2 bands emerged after a hotly and enjoyable music contest.
The Phase 3 is the Concerts in Spain, 2023. After the wonderful performances of the 12 selected groups, which showcased the vast musical skills abundant in Nigeria, the Spanish delegation had an interview with each of the contestants in the morning of Saturday 25th of March, in order to decide who would go to Spain on a music tour this summer.
In a ceremony at the Spanish General Consulate in Lagos, a representative of the Spanish festivals and Casa Africa announced the winners, these were:
- Ruth Mahogany and the ARB Music Band, from Abuja
- Ara Queen of Drums, from Lagos.
The Director General of the NTDA, Chief Folorunsho Folarin Coker, and the Ambassador of Spain in Nigeria, Juan Sell, handed them their certificates as winners of the contest. The 12 preselected groups also received a certificate of participation in VIS A VIS and a plaque from the NTDA
The winners will be performing in Spain this summer, they will also get a contract from several Festivals and travel to Spain, all-costs covered, to perform and make their music internationally known.
Kudos to the Spanish Mission in Nigeria headed By H.E. Ambassador Juan Sell, the Event Host in Lagos, Consul General Daniel Losada Millar, the Embassy Cultural AdviserEva Barta Martin, Ms Patricia Gomez and a host of others at the Mission and beyond who tirelessly worked to make the concert a rewarding outcome.
Acclaim Nigeria International Magazine (ANIM) was there and covered the event.